Lester Valle is a travel photographer, documentary videographer and entrepreneur who fell in love with the outdoors, in the course of his stint as a geology student of a highly-regarded state university. Field works– and his usual bonding moments with fellow students at the Geology department– took him to several peaks, caves, beaches and craters. Among all these beauty, as the Philippines is simply a treasure trove of natural wonders, Lester vowed to become an Outdoorsman himself. He has never looked back since then.
Carla Ocampo studied filmmaking in the same state university. She did freelance work as a videographer, video editor and scriptwriter for a local travel channel. Her writing job took her to several different spots in the Philippines, north to south, of course to see first-hand all the details she has to rave (or rant) about. And, she’s not one to say no to all-expense-paid trips.
“Silent waters run deep,” is as cliche as it can go, and Wing Larase fits the bill without being a walking cliche himself. You only need to press the right buttons on this geologist-slash-photographer-slash-matinee idol to activate his Pokemon-ish side. Those long legs make him a fast hiker, mind you. Oh, and he does mean things with his DSLR. Bad finger, bad.
Geologist Yo Muan is an angel. He has a floating silver halo and wears a pair of white trousers with ruffles. With arms outstretched, he sings “Pag-ibig… ang s’yang pumukaw…” to one and all. When nobody’s looking, he transforms into the man called “Da Legend,” scaling mountains, blazing along bike trails, catching frisbees, drinking beer, and talking to dandelions on the side.
He’s no shy guy. Soft-spoken yet highly credible, educator and photographer Elton Chua is “The Manager”. He has this certain way of conversing with common folk, such that they’d be exchanging smiles and contact numbers in no time. But hey, that’s not flirting, just establishing connections. Elton is a walking directory of contacts. Local guides, accommodation, tourism officers, caterers… name it, he probably has it. And by the way, he loves puns and corny jokes. Expect a lot of sitcom moments.
A scientific-minded Scorpio who has mastered the art of Darling-ness… could be the strangest way to describe photographer Rap Rios, and the best way, too. Quite a wide reader, he’s the go-to guy when the beer talk goes dry and, uh, unintelligently boring. An avid fan of the outdoors, with an eclectic musical taste… he is — in his own words— “like, the skinniest guy around.”
The community of outdoor enthusiasts in the Philippines might need no intros to Levi Nayahangan, but here we go. Lakai, the man behind revered outdoor apparel brand Lagalag and a member of the country’s Everest Team, embodies the word “explorer,” daring to go where few— or none!— would dare tread. A photo-documentarist and a proud Ifugao, KT describes him with one word: habulin. Digs?
Leonard Reyes is Hokbu, the sharp and sensitive lensman-cyclist behind the blog Padyak/Pitik (or, pedal/click). He’s a folk guitarist, singer and songwriter, and his day job includes producing visual documentaries— in stills or videos— for non-government agencies. Simply put, Hokbu lives and breathes the motto “Serve the people,” in art, and life. Yebah to that.