Monday, March 23, 2015

Benguet | Sunset At Kabayan Hills

Benguet | Sunset At Kabayan Hills
A Third In A Row, Return To Mt Timbac

I conclude that the most scenic of Sunsets are in the Highlands, people may disagree since the experience of watching the setting sun vary, and for the most part we remember them for the feeling it gives us. I'm romantic like that; I love to watch the shadows play as the sun is gradually going down in the horizon, the warm and cool colors are splayed together in one frame, the spherical shape of the sun turning dark yellow to reddish and could be framed by the passing clouds, but by being in the highlands like the Cordillera's, the pine laden hills can complete the ensemble.

I have preference with Natural Lens Flare because shows the Sun like the star that it should be.

It's the blue hour, the time of the sunlight hours where we can sit down and look into the Sun without hurting our eyes. If I am with someone sitting beside me, I can imagine the feeling of trying to take the view into memory, feel the warmth while the temperature is gradually dropping. I will never compare one Sunset to another because its always different even when we are looking at the same sun.

This is the 3rd year of my visiting the Fire Mummies of The Philippines in Benguet province. It was a long road trip, from my work shift from Makati City, to the winding assault of Kennon Road, and finally to a lunch break in La Trinidad after an hour of traversing the heavy traffic in Baguio City. Baguio City is clogged with the heaviest road traffic in the last leg of Panagbenga Festival. We still have more than 2 hours before we arrive in Atok Benguet to buy more supplies for an overnight stay in Mt Timbac, the 9th highest peak in the country and home of the Kabayan Mummies. 

We arrived mid afternoon, the earliest compared to the previous years I've visited here, so we decided to take a tour of the mummy graves open for visitors. This is a side trip that we normally do on the 2nd day, but I decided to look out for a place to be where I can watch the Sunset. I realized that there is no other better place than the jump off place to the Mummies, the silhouettes of the hills with Pine Trees and Power lines would make an amazing foreground with the Sun dipping in between slopes. I was right, and we all enjoyed a silent moment, feeling the cold temperature drop as the sun sets in the horizon, inhaling the freshest air and everyone's company. Moments like this makes me feel that I am in the right place at the right time, my answer to the reason why I need to be on the road and to be outdoors.

This is in part of the 5th Year, Sykes Outdoor's Tsinelas ni Juan Outreach in Mt Timbac, Sayangan, Benguet.

On this trip I decided to leave my Telephoto lens to lighten my back pack, only to regret it afterwards. It was thanks to my friend Rhone Fabon, who to the last minute allowed me to use his Telephoto lens for just a few frames so I can take a closer shot of the Sunset. I was grateful in that this lens is actually mounted in his Nikon DSLR, so I only have but few seconds to take my shots and return it to him. The result was some of the most astonishing Sunset photos I ever shot. Having the right lens on a given light setting and the of course the right setting for the camera makes a lot of difference.

On The Map

On a closer look. Mt Singakalsa is an a.k.a of Mt Timbac, a closer look on the map will show the Timbac Mummy Caves along the hills facing the town of Kabayan. The snaking green mark is the Halsema Highway along Atok, Benguet while the straight green lines is the Upper Agno River Basin.

Mt Timbac as shown on the map and its distance from Kabayan, Benguet and the more popular neighbor Mt Pulag. I place a circle in the Timbac Mummy caves.

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Francis Balgos is a Call Center Agent, Weekend Travel Warrior, Amateur Spelunker, Sometime Surfer, Newbie Mountain Climber, Photography Enthusiast, Certified Beach Bum, A first born son, Faithful lover, True Explorer...

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