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FROM CEBU TO EL NIDO // THE PHILIPPINES TALE

Lifestyle photography for Mad Monkey Hostel Group, promo video creation with SUP-Tours Philippines

When everything goes wrong

Life as a content creator is not easy. I learned that the hard way when I crashed my drone in a tree above a cliff in Boracay, a small party island in the western Philippines, while filming the local Mad Monkey Hostel’s main event of the week. An unsuccessful attempt to retrieve it quite literally left both my body and mindset in scars. When I discovered the same evening that on top of that my wallet including ID and credit card had been stolen, I was ready to simply book my flight home via online transaction and never touch my camera again. 

A friend I apparently had made during my time in the hostel eventually talked me out of giving up now and was even kind enough to withdraw some cash for me in exchange for a Paypal payment to get me back up and started. And so I carried on.  

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the Mad monkey life

My work for Mad Monkey Hostel Group still ended up being a huge success and shooting photos for their hostels on three different islands, the tours and events they organised, I did not miss the drone a bit. Granted, thats true for all except one moment, and that was right when I did not get one of those sweet aerial El Nido Island captures from the island hopping tour. 

As with other travel gigs, creating and editing content in real time was a hustle, but well worth it and working with all the amazing staff from the hostels was a huge uplift. And I did not mind calling the bean bag lounge in Nacpan beach my workplace, toes in the sand and sipping a coconut through a cardboard straw while editing the pictures of yesterdays boat safari. 

Standup Paddling on loboc river

However, once I got to SUP Tours Philippines on Bohol, an Island near frequently flown-into Cebu, where I would be staying for a whole week while filming the various tours and activities they had to offer, I did feel bad for showing up without a drone for aerial perspectives in the video. Lucky enough the manager had me covered on that in as he owned an old Mavic Pro 1 himself and was willing to let me use that one in exchange for showing him some new manoeuvres and tricks for flying it. Being there for several days I also really got to deep-dive into the world of stand-up-paddling and I fully admit it did take me a while to figure out how to get decent footage of it too; e.g. a SUP nighttime tour on a river with no natural light except fireflies belonged to the rather tricky ones to film. 

Once I was back home and finally done with all the post-production the end result still turned out to be so outstanding that the manager of the resort promptly offered to collaborate again any time I would make my way back to the Philippines. Maybe, I thought to myself while uploading the final render, it was good that I went through those ludicrous mishaps in the beginning of my journey, so that I would never ever again define myself or my value through the gear I carried, but only through the skills I had and the mindset I brought with me. 

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