Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

December 14, 2016

Daet – Camarines Norte

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 11:50 am

Bagasbas Beach, Camarines Norte.

I am about 370 kilometers from Manila, my final destination in the Philippines. Daet is a smallish city in the Camarines Norte, a region of Bicol – South-East Luzon. It has been raining heaps. It pours rain for about 10-15 minutes and then just stops.

Babasbas Beach
Bagasbas Beach.

Yesterday I walked into town and got a tricycle to the beach at Bagasbas, about 3 kilometers from the city. It was windy onshore with horrible messy surf. So I just went for a walk along the beach to the estuary.

Bagasbas Beach estuary
The Estuary.

There were lots of fishermen on the beach and estuary fishing with small nets.

net fishing
Net Fishing.

A huge flock of Greater Sand Plover were plonked on the sandbank at the estuary. They were a bit far away and I could not get closer. A few of them took off and flew over to the beach.

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)

The fishermen had a bit of competition with this Collared Kingfisher.

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul

Bagasbas Beach bird list

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Collared Kingfisher
Brahminy Kite
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
Brown Shrike
Zebra Dove

December 10, 2016

Naga, South-east Luzon

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 2:52 am

Camarines Sur, Bicol.

I am now in the city of Naga, about half way up South-east Luzon. It is a pretty big city. With lots of people and vehicles. Very busy with lots of pollution from all the exhaust fumes.

street view
View from hotel.

This is the view from my expensive hotel. At least the bathroom does not smell like piss, as per usual. And I have a hot water shower. whoopee!!


There are thousands and thousands of tricycles over the Philippines. They are usually Honda motor-bikes with a sidecar manufactured for carrying passengers. The bikes can hardly carry me with my luggage they are so gutless. I do not know how they carry up to five people and sometimes hundreds of kilos of cargo.

armoured van
Armoured Van

You see these things everywhere in front of banks. I have not heard of any bank robberies yet. I have no idea if they happen or not. There are heaps of security guards everywhere, often with shotguns at the ready. It is a bit scary at first but you get used to it after a while.


Jeepneys are used for short-haul trips to towns closer by. To do longer trips, there are buses and air-conditioned Hi-Ace vans.

Social Realism
Heroic Statue.

I have no idea what this is all about but it has definite overtones of Social Realism.

river at naga

This river runs through the city and it is pretty filthy.

Draining into the river

And I guess this is probably one of the reasons, with stuff like this going into the water.

December 8, 2016

South-east Luzon

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:14 am

Samar to Bicol.

Last post was from Catbalogan in Western Samar, Philippines. From there I caught a van to Calbayog, then another one to Catarman. Not much at Catarman, and I could not work out how to get to the beach. From there I caught a bus to Allen, which is at the northern end of Samar.

Home on the river
A home on the river.

This is the other side of the river, some more huts and fishing boats. I really liked Allen. It was only a small town and my hotel was in the countryside a bit, so it was nice and quiet. I wish I had spent more time there.

river village
The other side of the river

The next morning I went to the port and caught the ferry to Bicol. There is no schedule and they just go when they are full of vehicles. This one was coming the other way.

philippines ferry
Ferry to Allen

Just near the port of Matnog on South-east Luzon, I saw this perfect set-up for surfing. This right hand point looked fantastic. Too bad it was only one foot waves. The other side of the island had a left-hander point.

perfect surf setup
Perfect surf set-up.

Here is a roro, Roll on, Roll off ferry at Matnog. Good viewpoint showing how they are utilised.


Now at Sorsogon, just a hundred kilometers up the island of Luzon.


December 3, 2016


Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 12:00 pm

Western Samar. The Philippines.

Another town. They are starting to blend into one another. This is one way to make a garage door – just smash the wall in.

how to make a door
Door-making Skills.

This truck worker wanted me to take his photo, so he stuck a typical film star pose. I think he looks pretty cool.

Cool Truckie
Cool Truckie.

I missed this banca going out against the sunset but it doubled back a bit in time for this great photo.

Sails in the sunset
Banca against the sunset.

These dock-workers were unloading a boat full of cement. Not a job I would like to do.

unloading cement
Unloading cement bags.

Up the river a bit, some bancas had loads of pigs in pens on the boats and people would come and buy them and take them away in tricycles. This pig cost 520 Pesos, about AU$15. The pigs are usually baked on a spit.

This little piggy went to market
Oink Oink.

And a panorama looking over the harbour from the coast guard lighthouse hill.

catbalogan harbour panorama
Harbour panorama.

Another panorama looking inland over the town and the hills behind it.

town panorama
Inland panorama.

An ad for some miracle medicine. A 66 year old Zumba lola and a 99 year old weight lifting lolo use this stuff, so it must work!

Miracle drugs
Lola and Lolo Miracle Supplement!

December 1, 2016

Surf City Eastern Samar

Filed under: Surfing — Tags: , — admin @ 1:04 pm

Borongan. The Philippines.

I have been looking forward to seeing some surf in the Philippines, but when I got here it was onshore and very sloppy. But at least there was something. Yesterday late afternoon, I went for a walk to see if anyone would be going surfing.

Bay Bay Beach
Surfing at Bay Bay Beach

It was raining and horrible but a couple of guys went out and had a go. They were keen as mustard.

Surfing Bay Bay Beach
Sharing the wave.

The next afternoon I went for another walk down the beach. At least the sun was out and the wind had died down a fair bit. There were some kids riding the waves on some home-made boogie boards made out of koolite and wood. This kid even had a fin on it.

Home-made sufing gear
Home-made surfing utensil

The fishermen were coming in on their bancas through the reef.

Bringing the catch home.
Coming home with the catch

It took a few men to carry the boats up onto the beach.

Carrying the boat in
Boat Hauling

These guys were loading into the fish boxes a hundred kilo tuna. It was massive.

100 Kilo Yellowfin Tuna
Hundred Kilogram Yellowfin Tuna

The fishing harbour was inside the rivermouth. It looked like an excellent anchorage.

Fishing harbour
Fishing Harbour.

November 29, 2016


Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:57 am

North-East Leyte.

Tacloban is about 100 kilometers from Sogod. The bus went over the mountains and back to the coast near Macarthur. It is a reasonably big town. This morning I went for a walk along the foreshore. I think this is a Grey Tattler, not totally sure.

Grey Tattler
Grey Tattler (Tringa brevipes )

I noticed that these Collared Kingfisher have a big of brown above and below the white collar.

Collared KIngfisher
Collared KIngfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)

I saw quite a few Brown Shrike. This one was hunting along the shore.

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

This Brown Shrike caught a lizard for breakfast.

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike

juvenile Brown Shrike
Juvenile Brown Shrike

I just managed to see this green and brown lizard.

Green and brown lizard

Tacloban Panorama
Tacloban panorama

Tacloban bird list

Spotted Dove
Common Sandpiper no, Grey Tattler
Zebra Dove
Olive-backed Sunbird
White-breasted Woodswallow
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
Collared KIngfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)
Yellow-rumped Bulbul
Asian Glossy Starling

November 22, 2016

Jagna, Bohol

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:05 pm

Paseo Del Mar Dive Center

I caught the bus to Jagna about 10am. It was just there waiting to go at the terminal. We went along the coast road. It was a great trip with a view of the ocean most of the way.

Eastern Reef Egret, dark morph
Eastern Reef Egret

It was a very nice place right on the water-front. Nice people and pretty cheap. I needed a break from the city.

White-breasted Woodswallow
White-breasted Woodswallow

In the afternoon I went for a walk along the road and took a few photos. This fisherman was coming hoem from fishing punching into the wind. I used to do that for a couple of years and it got a bit old for me after a while.

Punching into the wind
Coming Home

The sun set as I was returning.

sunset over Jagna

This photo from the Tarsier Sanctuary at Sikatuna a few days ago came out better than expected. Still very noisy.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier

Jagna bird list

White-breasted Woodswallow
Eastern Reef Egret , dark morph
Yellow-backed Sunbird
Asian Glossy Starling

November 21, 2016

Philippine Tarsier

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , — admin @ 11:46 am

Tarsier Sanctuary.

This morning I woke up at 6:30am, got my free breakfast, and took a motorised tricycle to the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines. I had to wait for an hour for the jeepney to go. While waiting, I was talking to a philippino couple who were going to Sikatuna, a village in the hills to cook a meal for the poor kids at the school. I bought them a couple of kilos of rice for the kids.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta)

Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world. The Philippine Tarsier is endemic to the country. It can only be found in the Philippines and nowhere else. These special places include Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Mindanao and a few other islands.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier is considered a near threatened species. The Tarsier is nocturnal. It is awake during the nights to feed. It feeds on insects, lizards and other small animals. It is a very private animal and does not want to be disturbed.

Loboc River Cruise
Dorky river cruise

After the tarsiers sanctuary I caught the jeepney to Loboc to go on a river cruise. Too bad I had to include a dinner with the boat ride. And it included a band that played to us as we cruised along the river. Very salubrious. I do not know why I am telling you this. It was so tacky. Plus there were no birds or animals whatsoever. doh!

November 18, 2016

Olango Bird Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:17 am

Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines.

Second day in the Philippines and I am still knackered from my night plane ride. I got up at 6am this morning and headed for the junction to get to Olango Island. I managed to get a ride on a jeepney to another junction, caught another jeepney to the Hilton hotel, where the boats leave from.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew

After waiting just a little while, I got on the boat and sailed across the strait to Olangao. There I secured a motorbike with sidecar attachment to get to the sanctuary.


At the sanctuary I registered, paid my 100 pesos and took off along the track to the hide stuck out in the middle of the bay. There were a few waders there, not a great deal.


After the hide, I just walked out along the sand flats the other side and saw a few Ruddy Turnstones and Greater Sand Plovers foraging along the sand.

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii )

And a great find, a Terek Sandpiper. I do not think I have seen one of these before.

Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

fiddler crab
Fiddler Crab

Olango Island bird list

Eastern Curlew
Gull-billed Tern
Common Greenshank
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii )
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
olive-backed sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis),
Collared Kingfisher

November 17, 2016

Cebu Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:14 pm

Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines.

After a hectic all-night romp from Kota Kinabalu to Manila, then to Cebu, I tried to have a sleep but it really did not work. In the afternoon I went to the beach to have a look.

Asian glossy starling juveniles
Asian glossy starling (Aplonis panayensis)

A couple of young ones on top of a dead coconut tree.

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach

The fishermen were scouring for shellfish.

shellsfish gatherers
Shellfish gatherers

gull-billed tern
gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica),

Cebu bird list

Asian glossy starling (Aplonis panayensis)
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Pied Triller
gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica),

Cebu Birding resources

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