Kidapawan City, Philippines

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Kidapawan City—spring on the highlands, the land of the fruits, is what this city is known for. It is also famous for it’s majestic Mt. Apo. Kidapawan City sits at the bottom of Mt. Apo and we have the shortest trail for those mountain climbing enthusiasts. Each year, Kidapawan hosts a Fruit Festival. At one point there was one kilometre long of table filled with fruits! Due to weather conditions though, this region hasn’t been that fruitful in recent years. It’s also the closest point to the Majestic Mt. Apo—a popular destination amongst mountaineers.

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Kidapawan City, is about 4hrs drive by bus from Davao City. There’s only one bus company that service this trip. It’s the Weena bus that’s been around for a long time, they been doing it for decades. Taking the bus is the most safest amongst the other public transportation. The alternatives of course are; jeepneys, taxi—will cost you an arm and a leg, and there are private vans known as the L300 used as commercial transportation.

When you reach the city, you will be greeted with an arch sign that says Welcome to Kidapawan City—this is common in Philippines. Unlike big cities with big shopping malls, theme parks, there isn’t much things to do in this city. There are few things that can do here—the norms of restaurants, a mini- zoo, some resorts and of course Mt. Apo—the reasons many people go to Kidapawan and of course families. There are waterfalls for the adventurous—but finding them is another story all together.

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Grand Ficus Resort and Restaurant

Grand Ficus Plaza, also known as Grand Ficus Resort and Restaurant, is in the city proper of Kidapawan City, Philippines. It is literally walking distance from the bus terminal. This is the only resort of this kind within the city itself. There’s a new resort further up along the road to Mt. Apo—but it’ a bit out of the way from the Kidapawan City. We spent few days at the Grand Ficus resort on September 2011—though we were in and out of the resort because we had few things to do in Kidapawan City, Philippines. We did enjoy our stay at the resort.

With so much things to do, in so little time—we were only there for a few days to visit families and take photos of natural landscape—which are hard to get to when you are commuting, not to mention the best times to take photos, that was always and still is always threatened by light to heavy rain—Kidapawan has tendency to rain on late afternoons and evenings or early showers in the morning—later afternoons and early mornings are great times for photography shoots, this was downer for photo shoot opportunities for us. The down pour of rain was always spoiling our photo walks and other photo opportunities. We did manage to get a handful of photos though.

Many of our night photography shots inside the Grand Ficus resort were taken between rains—meaning rain would come, we would take shelter somewhere in the resort, or go back in our cottage and then coming back out again—those were the conditions we had to work with.

The camera settings I had were mostly on AV mode—values ranging from aperture 4 to about 11. This means my shutter speed, which is the length of time that the camera is actually taking photos were left for the camera to handle. Sometimes though, I would use manual mode to maximise my desired outcome. Using manual mode in your camera, allows you to fully control almost if not all aspect of your camera settings. Sometimes you have to go this path so you can get what you are looking for.

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Jojie Certeza

Jojie Certeza is a Sydney based photographer. His passion for photography started in 2007 after being introduced by a friend who is also passionate about photography. He also founded; www.asimplecreation.com— a food photography service. He can be hired for food photography assignments

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