Philippines Photo Phantasy

The Philippines is a photographic paradise just waiting to be experienced through the lens. Our tour is accompanied by award-winning photographer Alex Robinson.

Philippines Photo Phantasy
Tour Details
15 days days
This Trip Operates:
As a fixed tour date with a minimum of 4 people
Max Group Size:
What's Included:
  • 14 nights accommodation on twin-share basis in comfortable hotels
  • tour leader
  • photographic instruction from Alex Robinson
  • private vehicle and driver throughout
  • all activities and entrance fees as listed
  • many meals.

Asia's last hidden jewel, the Philippines is slowly making its way onto travelers compasses, and offers an intoxicating blend of lush, tropical jungles, pristine white beaches, tumultuous volcanoes, unique indigenous tribes and customs, remarkable Spanish colonial heritage, and smiling faces at every turn. Colors break out of the spectrum, and island chains generate dramatic cloud formations which make for some of the world's best sunsets.

Our photographic odyssey will be accompanied by award-winning photographer Alex Robinson (  Alex is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and Photographers and was recently voted a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His work has featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Wanderlust, Marie Claire, and in travel books like Eyewitness, Rough Guide, Footprint and Cadogan guidebooks to name but a few! During the course of the trip Alex will instruct on a series of themes to help you get the most from your camera in this diverse destination. He'll also be on hand to help you with one to one tuition throughout and no matter what your start-up level you will return home with some fabulous images. Plus you will have the know-how to take great travel shots the next time you go away. An experienced Bamboo Trails tour leader will ensure that we get to the best spots at the right time, and facilitate in communicating with the locals.

Days 1-2 – Manila

We'll meet this evening to get to know one another over dinner, and have an introduction to the tour. The following day we'll start early to shoot the harbor before heading to Intramuros, the old Spanish Quarter, where we'll explore the magnificent architecture of a bygone era and have the chance to shoot some fast-moving flamenco dancers!

Photographic Focus:

Basics of Photography – composition, aperture, exposure and ISO settings,

Every picture tells a story (street photography – how to capture the perfect moment)

Buildings – how to take dramatic exteriors and interiors

The Golden Hour (how to take fabulous cityscapes at night using a tripod)

Day 3 – Mount Pinatubo

Today we'll make an early start and head north out of the city, transferring to jeeps and then on foot to capture the otherworldy landscapes created by Mount Pinatubo's cataclysmic 1991 eruption.

Photographic Focus:

Landscapes and Depth (creating depth using leading lines and vanishing points)

Aerial photography (an extra option on request)

Days 4-6 – Banaue

A long day's drive brings us to World Heritage listed Banaue, home to the world's most spectacular rice terraces carved out over centuries by the Ifugao people. We'll get our first glimpse of the terraces this afternoon, and will then spend the next 2 days hiking between remote villages lost in a sea of rice, and will have the chance to meet local Ifugao farmers who depend on this incredible landscape constructed by their forefathers.

Photographic Focus:

Landscapes and Light 1 (taking wonderful landscapes, with specific focus on the soft morning light and evening light and sunset and on composition using the golden section and the rule of three)

People and Portraits 1 (how to take great spontaneous portraits in context and close-up, focusing on taking striking pictures of  indigenous people in a variety of settings).

Days 7-9 – Sagada

Today we'll make our way across to isolated Sagada, home to the Kankanaey people, breaking our journey with a visit to the wonderfully curated museum in Bontoc. The museum details the lives of the local headhunting tribes through countless tribal artifacts and photographs. The following morning we'll rise early to view the sunrise over the rice terraces. During the rest of our time here we'll hike to Sagada's famed hanging coffins and burial caves, waterfalls and weaving workshops, and have the chance to visit the gallery of renowned local photographer Eduardo Masferre. Down time will be spent reviewing photos in the cozy coffee houses of this laid-back mountain village.

Photographic Focus:

Landscapes and Light 2 (how to get fabulous landscapes under any conditions, with specific focus on depth of field and on context and contrast in composition, and the creative use of exposure)

Every picture tells a story - how to show without having to tell.

Days 10-11 – Vigan

An epic journey with one of the Philippines most spectacular and hair-raising drives takes us through a vast gorge to emerge on the coast from where it's just a short drive north to the charming historic town of Vigan. Here horse-drawn calesas ferry locals and visitors alike along the cobbled streets that make up the old town. During our time here we'll have plenty of time to capture the intricate details that constitute the fabulous Mestizo architecture, and will also visit a loca pottery and sample some tasty Illocano cuisine

Photographic Focus:

On the road - refining the landscape techniques learnt on previous days and making picture taking speedy and second nature.

Art and architecture - how to make buildings look interesting.

Days 12-13 – Pagudpud

From Vigan it's just a short drive north to the gorgeous sweeping beaches of Pagudpud. Here we'll have the chance to learn some new techniques to capture this paradisiacal landscape as well as some down time to review photos and relax!

Photographic Focus:

People and Portraits 2 (how to conceive and create your own shot using a model)

Nature in Context (Photographing Wildlife)

Day 14 – Manila

Today we'll fly back to Manila and then take a dinner boat cruise around Manila harbor to celebrate the end of our photographic odyssey through the Philippines.

Day 15 – Tour Ends

The tour ends after breakfast.