Our beach cosplay adventure started early this year on a far-flung island called Capones, almost 4 kilometers off the coast of Brgy. Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. The first edition of what would be retroactively (and aptly) called the Extreme Moments Out-of-Town Cosplay Project Series, was planned as a straightforward location shoot for intrepid photographers and cosplayers with earnest desires to take their skills to the next level, and the group got much more than what they signed up for as they battled the elements and gravity and ended up with an adventure of a lifetime.
Organized by Jeff Ricalde of Jeric Photography along with Donnie of Chiisu Studio, Luis Jeff Encontro of Jenco Photography and Eric DC of Eyestrain Photoworks, this project which was months in the making invited photographers and cosplayers who were presented the opportunity of a unique experience that would include trekking and camping aside from the usual photoshoot everyone has been used to. There only a few interested souls at first, but eventually more people got into the idea and signed up for the trip until a bit over 30 folks comprised of cosplayers, photographers and supporters completed the roster, enough to fill a bus.
After a harrowing and grueling Day 1 at the Capones Lighthouse (coverage of which can be found here), the team woke up from their well-deserve slumber to the rising of the sun and the crashing of the waves on the shore. Some were already up and about taking shots, talking walks, and taking in the sights and smells the daybreak at Capones Beach had to offer. Of course it wasn’t the same for everyone, as some still took time to shake the cobwebs off their heads and grit off their eyes, while others took time to sleep a bit more. The team was treated to a hearty breakfast of corned beef and hot rice: a meal they would need for the long day of activity ahead. Despite reports and allegations of corned beef hoarding by some people, matters were straightened out and everyone prepared for the location shoot by the beach.
Organizer Jeff Ricalde gave additional instructions and reminders to the group and entertained questions they had. Since he discovered his passion for photography, cosplay photography in particular, Jeff Ricalde has always wanted to take the experience to the next level and called it ‘The JeRic Way.” Far from the usual, monotonous events and conventions the community has grown accustomed to, Jeff has strove to innovate and create shoots and events that have given its participants a unique, lasting, memorable experience, and that Extreme Moments Out-of-Town Cosplay Project Series would be a good example of that.
From their little tent camp, the group prepared for the long day of shooting ahead. Photographers prepared their equipment for a challenging and tricky day battling the elements. Cosplayers earnestly began putting on their costumes and make up despite the late morning heat, with their supporters equally as determined in helping them out. As each finished, they headed out to different locations nearby to have the shots they’ve been excited to do since the trip began.
Capones Island, surrounded by the clear, blue-green sea, the sparkling white sand, the crispness of the azure sky, and the imposing sight of the steep cliffs and rocky hills was a feast for the senses and was an amazing location to shoot in.
It wasn’t all as idyllic as everyone hoped it would be. While the weather was good, it was a little too good. The sunlight was harsh and burned skin and equipment and costumes alike. And while shooting by the beach and the ocean was nothing short of exciting, lenses and cameras got wet with salt water as photographers gambled while taking their prized shots.
Lunch was a welcome break from the flurry of activity as well as a respite from the unbearable afternoon sun. Fried tilapia and salted egg were devoured by a famished team as they had the chance to chat a bit and share a funny story or two.
After a mandatory rest period enforced by the sweltering heat and scorching sun, the team set out again for some more shoots. Everyone was busy but there was always time to hide under the shade to take a breather, have an ice drop, or just fool around.
Later on as cosplayers and photographers were satisfied of their shots, it was time to take off the sweaty costumes and put down the weary DSLRs and hit the beach. Extreme Moments wasn’t all about work after all, and where else can you experience frolicking in the ocean after a long but satisfying photoshoot with 30 other people who you’ve spent an exciting adventure with?
After packing their stuff and cleaning up, final group photos were taken for posterity. The team boarded the bancas and set out for the mainland. Looking back toward the island, each was relieved that the ordeals and dangers that nature had to offer were over, but at the same time started missing the fun and excitement it brought them over the past two days.
After unloading and going back to town, everyone was preoccupied with finding a place to shower and to rid themselves of the sand and salt all over their bodies and underwear. While waiting and taking turns, the team enjoyed in partaking in local street food. Everyone enjoyed sharing scary stories from the lighthouse or some mishap from adventuring as they had hot dogs and grilled chicken intestines and blood and washing them all down with halo-halo.
When all was set, everyone boarded the bus and braced themselves for the long trip home. Some continued chatting about their experience while others couldn’t help but fall asleep from two days’ worth of fun. Indeed it was an amazing experience one would never get from any of the usual cosplay or otaku events, with new-found friends and memories that will last for years to come. Our thanks to Jeff and all the organizers of this Extreme Moments as we also begin to wrap up on our feature on Extreme Moments Out-of-Town Cosplay Project Series Part 2: Mt. Samat, so please stay tuned.
We would also like to share this fantastic video by EJ Ayalde of Ayaldev Creatives. I personally can’t stop watching it over and over as I was writing this article.
Do watch the light and funny moments from the shoot with his behind-the-scenes video.
Pleasure featuring the amazing cast of cosplayers for Extreme Moments: Vanessa, Marren, Lerie, Tare, Rochelle, Nicole, Misaki, Jemz, Yuu, Mark, Meg, John Rey, Aldrich, Neko Shie and Paul Michael.
Pleasure being with some of the best photographers around: Jeff, Eric, Luis, Donnie, Christopher, Ruichi, Japs, Oniichan, Peppy, Ej, Sol, Ron, Aldrin, Gevan, Clintz, Dale, Romel, Mark and Biin. Thanks also to Tita Arlyn and the family of Nicole and Rochelle.
Thank you for dropping by, and please visit us again for Day 2, as well as other cosplay features here at arkadymac.com.
Xtian Mack took up AB English Studies, Major in Creative Writing at UP Diliman. Currently works for a medical transcription company. He is the Creative Director of The Cosplay Cafe: arkadymac.com, doing photography, writing, and reporting for the website. His line of photography specializes in cosplay event coverage, having covered 300 events in a span of 3 years. Loves cute and furry things.
View all posts by Xtian Mack