It’s a sunny Thursday. While the rest of the city-dwellers are enjoying the Lunar New Year, I’m in Zambales, a province in Central Luzon known for its beaches and mountains. After a six-hour drive from Manila, I, Dave and Joseph found ourselves with a group riding a small outrigger boat to an island off the coast of Masinloc town.

It’s an early start to what is otherwise a routine trip. Except this isn’t a regular trip.

A couple of months ago, a former colleague asked if I could do a prenuptial photo shoot for them before they get married in May. I’ve had a couple of requests to do prenuptial photo shoots before but I turned them down, since I’ve never been confident of my photography skills outside photojournalism.

But she has great persuasion and I figured why not take the challenge? A key to overall growth as a person is to be willing to step outside your comfort zone, right?

The early morning sun casts a romantic glow to the couple and the waters around us provide a calming presence to the increasingly hectic day.

Alighting the boat, we wade through the knee-deep water towards the shore. We are then led to a house in the middle of a village where we are served the fruits of the sea.

When we finish our lunch, we start taking pictures.

The ocean has a way of igniting my creativity.

It’s just liberating to be in a place that’s as refreshing as here. When you’re a province with the ocean on one side, and rolling mountains on the other, you’re bound to be endowed with natural resources. Such is the case with Zambales.

After the sunset, we pack up, board the outrigger again and head back to the mainland. As we cross the bay, I look back and see that the island is now a virtually indecipherable mass of silhouette against the darkening horizon.

It’s easy to equate the night to dread and apprehensiveness, especially with the large waves start to hit our boat. But the overall emotions that permeate is happiness. The night is filled with love – that thing that steadies the ship when the trip gets rocky.

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