Christmas with turtles and coral

Those who know me even a little, know how frustrating and irritating I find Christmas to be. Not only Christmas, but the whole period that leads up to it. I’ve blogged before that my work as a Santa Claus photographer (seeing the ugly side of Christmas) back in my university days might have had something to do with it, as did undoubtedly the fact that I spent my childhood days in communist USSR, where Christmas was purely a religious thing and religion was frowned upon.

In my adult life I’ve been trying to escape during the Christmas period, to somewhere where there isn’t Christmas, but it’s been getting increasingly hard to do this. All the propaganda about the “Festive season”, “Christmas Sales” and all the other rubbish that Christmas period is or has become has penetrated deep into some of the most remote corners of even the non-Christian world.

One would think that going to the Philippines is a stupid decision for someone who wants to escape Christmas and indeed I’ve already had my share of Christmas pain here. It’s probably the only thing that has irritated me since I’ve come to this wonderful country. People playing ridiculous Christmas carols (at full blast), performed by some rather strange artists who sound like drunk karaoke enthusiasts and little kiddies with their incredibly high-pitched voices singing “Merry Christmas to you!” in the same tone as “Happy birthday to you!” and then asking for money - these have been the more painful moments.

But it really hasn’t been too bad, not bad at all in fact, and now I am pretty far from the madness, writing the blog post from a low-key, small beachside resort in the South East of the island of Negros. I love it here - the sea is right at our doorstep, it’s quiet and there’s nice coral to snorkel around within 100 meters of the bungalow.

The coral is even more impressive on Apo Island, about a thirty-minute boat ride away and there are turtles too, lots of them. Though I haven’t in the past photographed nature much, I’ve always loved it, particularly everything to do with the sea. Now that I have my underwater housing, I don’t miss the chance to make some images of the beauty below.

That’s all from me folks, oh and all of you to whom Christmas is a special time of the year “Merry Christmas.” :)