The Timeless Beauty of the Philippine Provinces - in Black & White

B&W Photography in the provinces of the Philippines - Sony RX100iii  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
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Ah, the small towns and villages of the Philippines–a place where you can slow down, decompress...and breathe some fresh, clean air. Where the worries of hectic, modern life seem to fade from view, and sharing a home-cooked meal with friends and family becomes your #1 priority.



After the positive response from my recent series "Manila in Black and White", I decided to use the B&W format to capture the beauty of life in the Philippine countryside.


In my mind, it's perfect. A timeless format for these timeless landscapes.


I captured the following images with my little Sony RX100III.


A Story in Pictures - Life In The Provinces.


As I walked toward the sea, I noticed these 3 men...and wondered how many generations their families have been fishing here.


Village fishermengazing out to sea in Santo Domingo, Albay - Bicol  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Local fishermen chatting by the sea, Sto. Domingo - Albay - ISO125, f6.3, 1/1000

This is one of my favorite shots. A few fishing boats have been pulled off the beach, and I found this one resting on the pavement under some dramatic storm clouds.


Small white fisherman boat in Albay, Bicol - Philippines Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Fishing banka (boat) docked on pavement by the sea - Sony RX100III - B&W - ISO125, f3.5, 1/250


Sto. Domingo is known for it's black sand beaches, and here I found a local fisherman casting his line directly from the shore. A black sand beach lends itself perfectly to striking black and white photography, I realized.


Solo fisherman casting his line from a black sand beach in Santo Domingo, Albay - Bicol  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Lone man pole fishing on a black-sand beach - Santo Domingo, Albay - ISO125, f7.1, 1/400


These regions of Bicol are often hit by typhoons coming in from the open waters of the Pacific. In fact, I was near here, in Legazpi, when typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. I volunteered for repacking relief goods afterward.


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Nathan Allen Bio via @idreamedofthis

Farms, Rice Fields & The Countryside


I found this little guy while walking through a rice field. He is already black and white, so I suppose he feels perfectly at home without color:)


B&W baby goat in the provinces - Santo Domingo, Albay - Bicol  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Curious spotted goat posing for a picture - ISO125, f3.2, 1/2000


There are so many beautiful tropical plants and fruits in the Philippines. Here I captured some bright young papaya contrasted against the dark rice seedlings growing behind it.


Young papaya tree growing in rice field - Santo Domingo, Albay - Bicol  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Papaya tree growing in a rice paddy - Sony RX100III - B&W - ISO125, f2.8, 1/2,000
Little papaya plants on the side of some rice fields in Santo Domingo, Albay - Philippines  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Young papaya trees along a rice field - ISO 125, f4, 1,2000

Around the Barangay

In the Philippines, a neighborhood is called a "barangay". The community is quite tight-knit, and for the most part, everybody looks out for each other.


This picture of an old Spanish church was actually taken from a moving car. I guess I was pretty lucky. With a fast lens and the right shutter speed settings, you can also capture some truly candid photos this way!


St. Dominic Of Guzman Parish church in Sto Domingo, Albay - Philippines - Sony RX100III Black and White © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Santo Domingo Spanish church through the coconut trees - ISO 125, f2, 1/400


Here is a nice slice of everyday provincial life. I assume this is a lola (grandmother) walking with her grandson in the rain. Small pathways like this often lead through barangays in the provinces.


Woman and small boy with umbrella in neighborhood alley - Santo Domingo, Albay - Philippines  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Woman & small boy with umbrella - Sony RX100III - B&W - ISO 200, f1.8, 1/320


As a photographer, I am always fascinated by the colorful clothes hanging out to dry in the Philippine sun. I guess I love the splash of color against the lush green background of coconut trees. Of course, the shot below is black and white, but the shirts were all white anyway, so it was perfect...


White shirts and clothes drying in the provinces - Bicol - Philippines  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Laundry drying in the tropical sun - B&W - ISO 100, f4, 1/1250


(Again, all of these photos were taken with a Sony RX100III pocket camera. That link above is for Amazon, but you can find it in the Philippines and Singapore HERE. I am not partnered with Sony, but using those links will help me create more content like this)


Home In Time For Dinner


There is nothing like real home cooked food in the Philippines. For me, the deeper in the provinces I go, the better the food tastes. Family is expected to eat meals together whenever possible...I always enjoy seeing how these traditions are preserved.


Typical kitchen scene with rice cooker and sink in the provinces  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Filipino kitchen with natural light - B&W - ISO 640, f2.8, 1/40


The image above shows a typical indoor kitchen, but I think meals are generally cooked in a connecting outdoor or "open air" kitchen (pictured below).


"Dirty kitchen" and yaya cooking  - Sony RX100III  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
This is where the best "lutong bahay", or home cooking comes from - B&W - ISO 400, f5.6, 1/40


In this series, I tried to provide a unique and artistic glimpse into provincial Filipino life - I hope I achieved this, and I certainly hope you enjoyed. Please feel free to share, and join me for more adventures on FB!




- Nathan Allen



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Click the camera image below to read more about the Sony RX100III featured in this article...


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