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Travel and Tourism

How drone photography helps promote the Philippines

The Philippine Star
How drone photography helps promote the Philippines
Boom Garcia and Sean Nolan.

MANILA, Philippines — Let’s face it, the Philippines is one of the most geographically diverse and ecologically beautiful countries in the world. Renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches, lush topical forests, and crystal clear waters, the Southeast Asian archipelago has always been a hot spot for tourism and the modern-day adventurer.

We’ve been fortunate in our travels, having a chance to visit and document our wonderful experiences, and sharing those experiences with our fellow travelers worldwide. It’s through video that Our Awesome Planet was able to really expand its reach globally and it’s safe to say that OAP was the first to start the current trend of travel videos here in the Philippines.

Drones, however, have opened up an entirely new and exciting enterprise for travelers, videographers, and visual storytellers. Incorporating aerial footage into our videos has greatly expanded the way we communicate our stories with our viewers, and it’s given us a whole new perspective to work from. Sometimes we’ll be flying in the most amazing place you can think of and then be totally gob-smocked by just how much more amazing it looks from the air.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to elevate the way you tell your stories we recommend giving drones a shot. Drones are becoming more common and affordable, and as more people begin to use them, we’re actually very excited to see how visual storytelling will evolve.

Here’s our list of the top five places to drone in the Philippines.

1. Siargao

Siargao tops our list because it is quite simply the most gorgeous place in the entire Philippines. If we could break down this list any further Siargao itself would take up the top three spots for sure. The region is known for its surfing and rocky shorelines that break up into crystal-clear lagoons, and lush mangrove forests.

Siargao is Boom’s personal favorite, and he recommends flying the drone over Sohotan, the dark jade lagoon there is dotted with tiny islets and is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in person. We were blown away by the footage we collected in Siargao and you’ll only be able to really appreciate the grandeur of it all from a bird’s-eye view.

2. Batanes

Sean’s personal favorite island. The northern-most province is one of the most isolated in the entire Philippine archipelago. The three major islands that make up the Batanes group are some of the rawest and untouched places in the entire country. Batanes’ unique geology sets it apart from the rest of the islands, and being there almost feels like you’ve traveled back in time.

Itbayat island is the largest in Batanes and the most stunning. Flying along the coastline while the locals secured their boats for the night by manually dragging and pushing them up some seriously steep cliffs was one of the more memorable experiences we’ve had.

3. Palawan

Probably the most iconic place for drone flying on this list. Palawan is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the Philippines. This is a great place to fly, and you’ll definitely come away with some amazing photos. However, a word of warning: Palawan is made up mostly of limestone, which look fantastic in photos, but the limestone can actually interfere with the radio signals for some drones. Fly with caution and not too close to rocky formations.

4. Cebu

An adventurer’s paradise that has plenty of destinations perfect for flying. We’ve gotten some of our most iconic footage from the southern part of Cebu. And if you ever get a chance to visit, we recommend flying at Kawasan Falls. The blue waters of the falls are absolutely brilliant!

5. Metro Manila

Metro Manila is one of the world’s “megacities,” ranking 8th largest in the world. The urban sprawl that sometimes feels never-ending is perfect for aerials. The stark contrast between urban decay and modern development is an interesting dynamic that’s great for visual storytelling. But be aware that flying may be restricted in certain parts of the city so best to check online. - Boom Garcia, Sean Nolan

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(Boom Garcia is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, hardcore gamer and frustrated chef from Manila; he is the creative director of Our Awesome Planet. Sean Nolan is an anthropologist by trade who has been working in Southeast Asia as a freelance photojournalist; he is the director of photography at OAP.  Boom and Sean co-founded Digital MNKY, a consulting agency and production studio.)

BOOM GARCIA

DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY

SEAN NOLAN

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