Exploring the Underwater World of Cabilao, Bohol
Cabilao Island is a beautiful paradise in Bohol, Philippines known for its colorful reefs, beautiful seascape, and thriving marine biodiversity. This year, the Department of Tourism - Dive Philippines organized an event together with Objectif Atlantide (a French association of marine explorers) to rediscover Cabilao Island. Studio H2O was tasked to cover the event, and we spent gorgeous sunny days shooting topside and underwater.
GEAR USED BY CREW
Sea & Sea Housing
DJI Mavic 2
I’m honored to have worked with Boogs, Wowie, and Jan again for this project. These guys from Studio H2O are amazing underwater filmmakers who inspire me everyday to work hard and do good. I still fondly remember how we first worked with each other: I wasn’t shooting for them. I was modeling for them! Ha, funny how that transitioned to creating films with these people.
When they hired me as a cinematographer & video editor for this project last summer, I was beyond the moon! I’ve been doing a lot of topside shoots back then and I badly wanted to get back to the sea. What a perfect opportunity! It’s one of those days that I could truly say: “It’s work that doesn’t feel like work” because I was doing something that resonated with me.
I remember arriving in Cabilao on a boat while the sky splits in majestic hues of pink and orange. It was a long travel; we rode a plane, van, and boat to get there. I have to admit, a part of me still feels scared whenever we load luggages on a small boat because I have this annoying voice in my head that asks which bag I’d save first if the boat sinks. Everytime, man. Everytime.
When we arrived on the island, I had to pause and take full breaths because it was just so beautiful! The sand was fine, the trees were dancing, the ocean was singing with the wind, and the hammocks were inviting me to lie down. If not for my luggages and the briefing by the team, I swear I wouldn’t have moved.
The next days were real sunny and the visibility underwater was incedible too. The ocean knew we needed to have good shots and it showed off! You know, Cabilao has colorful and lush reefs I could get lost in. I wish I had more dives if I wasn’t working. Have you been here before? If not, you should!
We’re almost on our last day when this horrible incident happened: a (very expensive) Sony a7sii broke down on me. It was such a crappy feeling I was’t sure whether to cry, panic, or scream in frustration. I was shooting the divers while they’re doing a shore entry on a very humid 12 noon. I entered the seashore and some saltwater splashed on the camera, thanks to my careless legs. I immediately went back to wipe it but it already shut down! I was horrified! How could a split-second splash shut down this supposedly “water resistant” camera? But of course, I still feel stupid because I came too close to the water. I couldn’t believe it and a part of me actually thought that maybe the camera battery only overheated? That it only needed to cool down a bit then everything will be fine? Sadly, it did NOT. When we came back to Manila and I brought it to the service center, I was told that the motherboard was broken and needs replacement. It was a lesson I had to pay for. So really, always be cautious and recognize the limitations of your camera gear.
But setting aside that incident, was able to go through the editing process with joy because the footage that the team got was awesome. Watch it to know what I mean! If it made you feel like you wanted to dive the seas of Cabilao, I’d love to hear it from you.
That’s it, folks! Have a happy day and sea you very soon.