Monday, October 22, 2012

Amansinaya Mountain Resort

Its been a while since my last out of town trip. I'ved been dying to let my feet wander outside manila. Sick and tired of the usual commute. Stressed with the hustle and bustle of the metro. I really need a break. I need a place to go to and breathe clean air. When Joyce, one of our marketing consultants, asked me to go for a photoshoot out of town, i did not think twice! "Count me in!" Me, Tracy and EJ are on a quest to one the best places in Batangas. To relax, to destress and cover this place that time stops. Welcome to Amansinaya Mountain Resort in Laurel, Batangas. 

Weather is perfect! Sun is all out. No signs of rain. I knew it even before i left the house that this photoshoot will be awesome. I met up with Tracy at Ayala techno hub at around 6am then we went to our office in Global City to meet Joyce, Enrique and EJ. Then off we go to Batangas!

We arrived on scheduled. There were no traffic. Everything was smooth. When we arrived, we are welcomed with a few drinks and some coffee. The place was breath-taking. I love the view from the infinity pool. Its just perfect. The dining area beside the pool is magnificent. You have an option to eat at the shelter just beside the pool if you want that feel of extra cold air coming from the mountains. 

The site is just spectacular. You're alone with nature and its goodness. Very relaxing. Very serene. Time definitely stops here. Its a great place to unwind., relax.. sip on some fresh juice with lots and lots of ice.. or if you want it hot, their kapeng barako is just fabulous. One of the best tasting coffee ever. You dont have to put cream in it., just drink it with a teaspoon of sugar and you're good to go! 

Good thing I brought along my CPL filter with me. Its been a while since i used that thing. You see that bluish skies, textured clouds and that green foliage, all of those came out thanks to my ever reliable Optomet Polarizing filter. Id like to thank my brother for giving me that thing. I love it so much! 

I also brought along a couple of strobes, my two Nikon SB600 and my softbox umbrella. I asked tracy to sit beside the pool and took some photos of her. This photo is shot using my SB600 - left side of the model, bare at 1/2 power. This was taken at around 10:30 in the morning. I also used my CPL filter for this one, making the colrs stand out. 

One of our first tasks is to shoot the rooms at their small hotel just beside the pool area. EJ already rigged out his gears and starting filming. Actually he already started filming upon arriving at Amansinaya. He bought this really nice waterproof camera from GE for only 3,000 pesos! What a bargain actually coz it delivers high quality videos! Its waterproof, shock proof and fool proof! He also brought his Canon 350D along with some lights and an umbrella to diffuse it. I went on shooting first inside the rooms then he started filming after me. 

The rooms are wide and spacious. The bed is soft and there is a couch near the wall. This room can fit around 5 people. They can ask for an extra bunk bed and just sleep at the floor area. As far as I can remember, it cost around 3,000 plus for an overnight stay. 

Each room comes with a pool! There is also a space on the side  where you can grill barbecues. Perfect for that family get together! Ugh.. imagine.. grillin barbecues.. with beer then you go swimming after! Its just perfect! Your own private spot with friends and family! 

Right across the villa is the aqua park which houses a really big pool... You will see there a couple of bridges which leads to the shower area and tables. There is a huge space beside the pool for big gatherings. Theres also a videoke machine which i myself gave a try to tunes of "I Dont Wanna Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith! :) When they turned on the fountain and water started to shoot, everything seems to be magic.. Its beautiful.  

Right there another angle of the bridge that leads to one of the sheds and the shower rooms. Pool is very inviting. Water is really warm.. After the shoot., me, tracy and EJ just jumped and enjoyed ourselves! I really envy EJ for that GE camera that he has! 

Its been scorching hot and its already at high noon. Our gear will soon fry if we keep on rolling. So we had to take the shade  and rest for a while. Then we went back to the main lobby to have lunch. They served Kare-Kare and Fried fish! Then Jello with condensed milk for dessert! Delicious! We had to get our selves full coz our next adventure will require a lot of energy. We will embark and trek to Ambon-Ambon falls to swim and for some photo op! 

We met up with a group of girls namely Arra, Kristine, Mar, Alyssa and Zahs. They have been friends for forever and they are on their vacay at Amansinaya. They bought ensogo vouchers from our last launch. They are really fun to be with. They shared laughs and smiled a lot. Happy bunch of people. Luckily, they obliged to be our models for the trek! 

The path going to the falls is not that hard. Cold water swept our feet. We even crossed a hanging bridge  on our way which is a little scary coz its all wobbly and shaky. Good thing i brought along my slippers!

If i worn my shoes, they'd probably still wet while writing this blog! Lush greens greeted our way...Its something out of the ordinary that i truly missed.. The great outdoors.. love it.  

Some of the rocks are really slippery. There are times that my foot sinks into the rubble! It was an extra challenge since my camera doesnt have a strap! So I have to maneuver on to the rocks with one hand holding the camera.. What am I thinking going on a trek without a camera strap? <-- Crazy! A few more steps and the destination is already at sight. 

There it is! Welcome to Ambon-Ambon falls! Such a thing of beauty! I really like to thank Kuya Arnel, for helping me carry my tripod. I dedicate this photo to him coz this wouldnt be possible without my tripod. So thank you so much Kuya Arnel for helping me out. 

The falls is awesome. I dont really remember when was the last time ived been to a real waterfalls. Well, probably that was in Banahaw with my CYC friends a few years back. But this one is probably one of the biggest ived been to. I really need to travel more coz so far this is the grandest ived ever been too and there are a LOT of falls here in our country. Much prestigious, much bigger than this! But then again, this one is beautiful :)

After taking some photos, i took off my shirt and started to jump into the water! Man it feels good. Water is really cold! As in! Water massaged my back when it fell down on me. Its quite an experience! Thats me at left side, then EJ, then Kuya Arnel. 

There goes tracy along with the girls at the back enjoying the view of the falls. Shes actually shivering! Water is really cold! Good thing she brought an extra shirt to keep her warm. Used my pop up flash here. I left my speedlight at the van coz it takes a lot of weight... Sometimes the pop-up flash comes in handy.. After some intense waterfall actions... EJ had some interesting video clips in his GE waterproof camera. We also headed back to Amansinaya to shoot the activity area. Oh yes theres more!

This is the activity area where you can go Wall Climbing, Zipline, and do some team building games. We have to cover this one before dark. Light is our friend. If it goes away, we will definitely have a problem.. Theres a wide angle shot of the wall. Theres EJ on the right side of the wall filming the climber as he goes up. 

The wall is about 40 feet high! EJ is filming the climber as he rappels down the wall. This photo is taken with my 18-105 nikkor lens. Surprisingly its good! The details remains sharp. Love it! I had another daredevil move of bringing the camera on top of that thing and even zip-lined on my way down while carrying the camera to shoot a video clip, without a camera strap! Yes im that crazy!

Thats EJ zippin down the wall! Love this shot actually. There he goes again carrying his GE camera. We are all wondering, what if we have GoPros in our hands?  Argh... me and EJ are GoPro dreaming the entire trip. 

After the deathtifying stunts at the wall, we moved on to the next challenge! The Mudslide. Like tracy, i also thought wer all gonna get dirty and muddy! Its basically a super long slide!  I took photos of Tracy and EJ as they tried the really exhilarating slide. It was really fun! I went on 5 times actually. Its so addicting! What an adrenaline rush! I also took some video clips from EJ's camera and we had some great videos of the big splashes and never ending smiles.. 

What a day! Thats all that I can say. Everything went smooth. It was fun. We even lost the keys to our ride home but good thing we found it immediately! It was an exhausting day but everything went well and it literally ended with a blast! There were fireworks over at Enchanted Kingdom while were having dinner at Jollibee :) Now thats surprise and delight! Such an amazing day.

 Id like to thank Joyce for taking us at Amansinaya. Thanks also to Kuya Arnel for driving us. To my fellow production members, EJ and Tracy, you guys rock. Also to Enrique for the laughs and jokes! And to all the staff of Amansinaya, they were very hospitable. We really enjoyed our stay. 

Check out this video that EJ made :) Good Job EJ!

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