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The last couple of years I've been planning this trip to this island, considered the heart of the Philippines, to witness the elaborate Moriones (mask) Festival held every year during Holy Week, and yet every time I tried, I failed for a lot of reasons but mainly, the transportation issues. Holy Week is really the best time to visit albeit challenging because of the exodus of tourists wanting to experience this colorful masks event, and returning locals wanting to feel once again fresh air, away from the bustling metropolitan cities of Manila.

I was lucky to have joined a photoholic group, peeps who are shutter bugs, and we braved the long 4-hour road trip and another 4-hour RORO (roll-on roll-off) sea trip. Imagine sitting next to strangers on a long road trip you just met merely hours ago.

The midnight road trip was uneventful as we're all in & out of consciousness except for quick pit stops along the way, contrary to the RORO trip which is quite a revelation. An eye-opening experience as we all try to find a square-inch real estate just to manage to stand for the next 4 hours. The ship was so full that you dare to leave your precious spot and it'll be gone. All thru the RORO trip I walked and walked up & down the ship floors trying to find my comfort zone. I finally ended up outside with front view of sheer darkness until we reached the port.

Our 4-day stay in Marinduque to witness their elaborate Moriones festival was quite an experience to say the least. Not to mention I got to meet some cool guys and gals with the same passion for photography and fun adventures as mine.

It is not hard to find a place to stay the night in Marinduque. People are very friendly and approachable so don't be shy about asking around. They will be more than happy to help you.

The experience I had in Marinduque is unique, exceptional, fun, and really an eye-opener.

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After 23 years, I was again able to witness the amazing kneeling carabao of Pulilan.

I tell you folks, it’s a quite a spectacle for me to once again see, this time thru my lens, the crowd excitement and the carabao’s obligatory kneel before farmer’s patron saint San Isidro Labrador. I can’t believe the number of hardworking carabaos I saw. It could be a record-breaking number of carabao participants for this century-old tradition.

I braved and snaked-thru the relentless crowd to get through right in front of the church where the kneeling happens. I managed to score admission tickets to the special viewing deck and stand toe-to-toe with local cinema legend Laurice Guillen.

Like in the past, rain started pouring near the end of the parade, a good sign according to local legend, and much-needed reprieve from a really intense afternoon heat for those loyal beasts and intense crowd.

I was hoping I could have good angle from the viewing deck but because of the over-crowding, I could only manage some decent shots.

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