I shoot weddings and other events for a living, I am still mustering my resolve to make my own team but for now I do freelance with different groups. I mainly shoot within Baguio and other neighboring towns but sometimes we end up going where no other group has gone before (insert trek theme here hehe) or few others were willing to go to. But we did, along with the Reel Stills team(Team Fitz). Our group for this event are comprised of Fitzmurphy(Our Lead), Mitch(2nd shooter), Chachi(SDE editor), and me.
Our destination is the town of Kayapa in the Province of Nueva Vizcaya. I only know a few things about this place. I know its a small town that mainly caters to being an agricultural supplier of highland vegetables for the province of Nueva Vizcaya. I also know its a cold place a kin to the province of Benguet. I also know that there is a lot of nature in it but was not really able to explore it yet. A fond memory of the place is that when I was younger my Dad and I got stranded there due to a storm that washed out the roads going to my hometown. (The roads were not yet cemented. The trips were a bit faster with that route compared to the ones going through Pangasinan then Nueva Ecija.).
The trip going to what we perceived is going to be our destination was uneventful, we just joked around that we might get stranded and no one is going to come to our aid since it was night and the houses were a good far walk away and there was no cellphone reception. I normally pass this route going to my home town and the winding roads were but normal.
We arrived at the town center around 10:30 PM and we were instructed to take another road that leads to Sitio Tuyongan(If I’m not mistaken the other name for the barangay is Kayapa proper east.) It was a bit bumpy but not the worst road I have experienced. At one point we were worried since there were no houses in sight. Cell reception was a bit low to none and we almost presumed that we were lost (almost since we got confirmation of the markers the couple laid out for us.). We stopped at a bridge that wasn’t cured yet, though cemented only motor cycles and people are allowed to pass. We have to leave our means of transport behind and transfer to another.
We caught up with the other guest waiting. (I think they were waiting for us to arrive.) We rode on an elf truck. As with most transport here in the Philippines it was jam packed. (I’m not complaining. I actually enjoy this type of rides and I can use a little adventure every now and then.) It was pitch dark and you can clearly see the stars shining through the darkness of the night. Chachi was able to sit down and safe guard most of our gear. Mitch on the other hand was holding on to the ropes to keep her balance. Fitz was dangling on the side trying to keep himself from get tossed out of the truck. Me, I was holding on to the rails of the elf. (Yes people it was one heck of an adventure.) After what I think was an eternity we finally reached our destination. (It was fun though, really I enjoyed it ^_^)
The initial impression of the place, it has a homey feel and welcoming atmosphere akin to Sagada. The air was cool and a light breeze greeted us. We followed the other guest towards the house of the couple. Once there we were greeted by our couple Mcken and Crislyn. They were actually kind enough to show us to where we are going to stay for the night despite them being busy with their guest. At the place we were staying at it was quaint and you can really see how the people lived in that area. Simple yet very homey. I think the name of the owner of that house was Daniel, he provided us with sheets and pillows. They had a hard wood bed with sheets on it, no foam but we can manage. (No I’m not complaining, very generous of them for letting us stay at their home. Very thankful for the hospitality they showed us.)
After settling in I took a bath on their bathroom located outside of the house. (I was sweaty and stinky from the last event and had no time to take a shower.) I grew up in the province so taking a bath at an almost open air scenario was no big deal. (Although it was chilly since the breeze was blowing and the water a bit cold, I’m used to it. The temperature in Baguio and La Trinindad is quite similar. Just take a deep breath, bite your teeth and let the water flow.). Fitz also took a bath, he mentioned to take one now since it may be too cold in the morning. (He was right.) By around 1:00 AM we dozed of ,we need to wake up around 4:30 AM to prepare ourselves for the event and set our stuff. Since I was tired I was able to go to dreamland fast. At first I didn’t put on the blankets they gave us but a little later I had to put it on. It was really cold I tell, Fitz had to close the window for that.
(Sorry no pictures for the first part, I actually came from a wedding before this and the batteries from my camera were drained.)
So on to our coverage of the event we woke up really early around 4:30 AM but for the most part we only got out of bed around 4:45 AM. It was really cold and still a bit dark. We waited for a little bit of light, had coffee and took pictures of the people preparing for the festivities. When a wedding occurs in highland wedding everyone from the community is involved. They are willing to share a hand in things, cooking, preparing the ingredients, fetching water, cleaning the place, setting up the location, and others. They do this not out obligation but more like a way to show the couple that they are supported by everyone in their endeavor.
As for the documentation of the event each of us has a designated work. Fitz took care of the bride, I took care of the groom, Mitch assisted both of us and Chachi handled the Same day edit video. It was kind of hectic since we have to watch the time and also produce some good output. We pulled it off.
You can view our output through the video below.
I also had other pictures I took that I kinda like. A preview of some of my pictures from the wedding.
Some observations to note about the wedding culture in the highlands here in the Philippines, there are no programs, only an emcee(who may be a relative or friend of the couple)to dictate whats next. The guests can give their well wishes, perform a traditional dance or sing their wishes for the couple, all they have to do is just approach the designated emcee. Supon is also practiced(if you haven’t read my blog about it you can read here.) Everyone is invited to partake in the festivities. A popular phrase here, “When there is smoke and you can hear Gangsa’s (Gongs) playing theres definitely a wedding and everyone is invited.”
After the wedding we packed up our stuff and prepared to go home. We had a chance to go around for a bit and took pictures of the place. The pictures below are some of the things that we saw.
We kinda waited a bit and ended up looking for good spots to take some photos. They did, I just took it for them.
Once our transportation to the drop off point arrived we agreed to ride top load style. It is not the safest but it has the most picturesque view.
As we head home we enjoyed the view from our elevated spot of the ride. There were bumps and curves along the way but the view was well worth it. Sitio Tuyongan has a lot to offer, a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, fresh air, being disconnected from social media for a bit, warm people, and chance a for exploration and discovery. Overall the wedding was a success and my thirst for adventure satisfied. If we may end up coming back I hope that we can explore the place thoroughly.