hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Monday, February 2, 2009

mila | adventure . davao

mindanao is the southernmost region of the philippines.  the philippines is dominantly catholic and mindanao is home to many of the muslim and moro nationals of this country.  the costume and culture is colorful and rich.  some of my favorite fruits are grown there -- suha (philippine grapefruit) and mangosteen.   it's also the one place in this country where even lonely planet advises extreme caution due to terrorism and civil unrest.  unfortunately we have quite a bit of unhappy citizens in that region, enough to affect tourism and enough in fact to make residents of that area move north.  but it still sounded interesting so ... we were off!   off to davao.  davao is a city in mindanao.  it is one of the largest cities in the world.

sylvia, whose family i did photos for recently, had mentioned that davao was really pretty.  my uncle (tito rez with the recent bday photobooth) had just gone to davao a month ago and said it was really nice as well.  so i added it to our itenerary.  tita candy, my dad's sister, is usually our barometer for safety.  from her we get the low down of which areas are "safe" to visit and which areas we shouldn't even consider passing thru.  usually any mention of cities in the mindanao island and her eyebrows shoot up.  when i mentioned visiting davao and she didn't even flinch so i figured it was safe.  despite all reassurances  petra and curtis were still a tad bit apprehensive.  i had never been there myself so i couldn't help alleviate any worries.  the funny thing is that for all our tension over this trip it was the most nonchalant, most blah, most boring leg on our trip so far.  figures.

manila is actually a lot cooler (temperature-wise) this time of year but davao is closer to the equator.  the first thing we noticed when we got out of the airport was the heat, so the first order of business was a search for beer.

the next item on the agenda was a place to cool off.  this is paradise island kool little hang out spot with covered areas by the beach and restaurant service on the sand.  the water is cool and shallow.  i might have gotten a tad too much sun though... sniff.  this setup would probably do well in the OC.

did you know that the crocodile is the one species that descended from the dinosaur era?  these guys go back 200 million years!  the largest crocodile recorded was about 33 feet long.  that's more than 6 curtis' laying down!  we went to visit some of these creepy guys at the crocodile farm in davao.
that's the philippine eagle above and below is some bizarre bird with big feet, no wings and a giant blue head.
curtis likes to tease me that my people live in trees.  now he has proof.  below is a sample of how houses used to be in this neck of the woods.  below that is a picture of me in mindanao garb.  it was fun that they left the costumes out for the kids to play with lol.
no matter where you are in the world... some signs are universal.

curtis is such a trip.... or such a kid.  he's an amazing volcano of energy and fun even when he's sober.  i was bummin that this trip wasn't more fun and exciting.  i guess after the sagada heaven i might have expected too much.  curtis tried to keep us upbeat and happy.


  1. Love, love, love the one with you and Curtis (in the background) in the water. Awesome girl!

  2. hahah Curtis is crazy! So, your Lakbayan Map below - the grade is close to a B now? You're traveling all over the place! That's sooo awesome! Can't wait to read your next adventure and see the photos!!

  3. Your vacay pictures are so amazing, especially the coffins hanging from the cliff is so freaky! My little brother lived in the phillipines for a year and learned how to speak Tagalog. I only know Kumusta po Kayo.. (or something like that) from all his letters he would write us.

  4. it looks like you all are having an amzing time.

  5. Your husband is HILARIOUS!!!!!! I love all these so much, but my favorite is the close-up of you with Curtis in the water in the background. You look beautiful, and I just love the feel of it. Happy late Birthday Michelle!!!!! I almost forgot you were a Valentine baby.