Friday, July 06, 2007

Short Ride, Long Drive

Once upon a time, John was in Banaue to take pictures – not for any client, but just for himself. He drove eight hours in his yellow Ford Fiera (see photo with our Adphoto staff in the late 70’s – we all looked very young!) and was busy photographing Ifugaos on the rice terraces when he saw a helicopter land on the parking lot of Banaue Hotel (the only place where it could land). Two sounds are music to John’s ears - the click, click, click of his camera and the sound of a helicopter propeller whirling. Hearing them both at the same time was like heaven to him, and he was ecstatic.

He ran to chat with the pilot, who volunteered the information that he had room for one more passenger. Like an eager child, John asked him, “Can I come? Can I come? Please, please, Can I come?” The pilot was ferrying some foreign guests and would be flying back to Manila through Baguio that same day. “Sure, hop on,” said the pilot to the photographer, and away they flew. They flew low so John could take photos of the Banaue rice terraces and the Ifugao villages, the geometric rice paddies and thick pine tree forests of Mountain Province and the vegetable and flower terraces of Benguet. They made a stop over in Poro Point, La Union to refuel, and continued on to fly over scenic Hundred Islands in Pangasinan and over the rice fields of Pampanga and Bulacan and back to Villamor Air Base, in Metro Manila. John clicked away with his camera, loading roll after roll of film.

The flight took just slightly over two hours, but John still needed to go back to Banaue. His clothes and vehicle were still there. As soon as he hit Metro Manila, John immediately grabbed a cab and asked to be taken to the Pantranco Station in Quezon City, so he could have a bumpy ride on a non-aircon bus (that’s all there was then) all the way back to Banaue.

His yellow Ford Fiera was still parked where he left it. He gathered his clothes and threw his bag into the Fiera. He grinned ear-to-ear, and whistled happily while driving alone all the way from Banaue through Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Metro Manila and finally to his home in Makati – over eight hours to travel 350 kilometers. 700 kilometers of road travel and I don't know how many air miles in less than 24 hours!

His take from this joyride? Priceless photographs to show a bird’s eye view of the Ifugao rice terraces and Hundred Islands.

(Note: Our archivist is still looking for those vintage aerial shots).

A lesson to be learned: Scan those film images now before they fade away.

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