{ memoirs of saigon } a travel-photologue

I’ve been to different places around the globe for shoot or pleasure, and usually for both. Lucky me for having this extraordinary job. But this would be my very first time to blog about a certain place and of course, I will include some side takes and even some teasers. This is actually one way for me to further tease my client, my client’s friends and the loyal followers of my blog to comeback for more.

I was fortunate to be chosen as the official photographer of this wonderful couple, Erwin+Zeny. They love life and its surprises. They prioritize happiness over fancy things. They value one’s creativity and trust someone’s extraordinary eye. No wonder during our brainstorming about their e-session, they embraced my idea of doing it in Saigon. A place which is really a stranger to many, a place often associated with war and poverty. They asked me why Saigon? Honestly, It’s because of curiosity, nothing else. I am not even sure what and where to shoot. What I only had in mind is that Vietnam was once a French Colony, so I assumed that there’s a lot of interesting location to shoot with its French-influenced architecture and design.

Fast-forward, the day we set for their e-session came. Our schedule started with a delayed flight from Davao to Manila, due to Typhoon Falcon hitting Metro. We even cancelled our flight from Manila to Saigon because we might not even reach the scheduled time. But we’re fortunate enough to got in, just a few minutes when we arrived in Manila.

Finally, we arrived in Saigon {now officially known as Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam’s Capital City} safe and sound. We checked in at LeLe hotel in Pham Ngu Lao at District 1, where tourist flock for cheap but nice rooms, and various travel and tour packages varying from tours within Vietnam to tours going up to Cambodia, Thailand and China.

We started our day with a breakfast buffet. And to truly feel the Vietnamese air, a garlic French bread, eggs and some spring rolls {not in the photo} would do.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me take you to Saigon and its neighboring cities and towns.

District 1 is the best location to stay in Saigon.

Ben Tahn Market is where you can find good bargains for souvenirs, dried food and fruits, lacquer wares and of course, the counterfeited items.

{Above} A Vietnamese Mangosteen vendor selling it for 10,000 VND for a kilo. That’s cheap!
{Below} Notre Dame Cathedral – A gigantic manifestation of French influence.

Just parallel to the Notre Dame Church, is another Saigon landmark – - – The Postal Office, which until now is operational – - – the old school way.

Noticed this signature suitcase? Find out more about this on Win+Zen’s exclusive blogpost.

Vietnam is famous for delicious food. Try Pho24 {51% owned by our very own Jollibee Food Corp.}, a quick-serve resto sprawling all-over Vietnam. When you are in Pham Ngu Lao, don’t miss New Pearl Cafe & Resto, cheap but fabulously prepared food varying from Western to authentic asian flavors.

Good Morning Can Tho! The city that lies in the Mekong Delta, where the famous floating market can be found. It took us 4 hours to get there from Saigon, but the long bus ride was all worth it. Be sure to be there before 6AM to see how Vietnamese do the trading on top of the water.

The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese: đồng bằng sông Cửu Long “Nine Dragon river delta”) is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southeastern Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi).The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.

The Mekong Delta has recently been dubbed as a ‘biological treasure trove’. Over 10,000 new species have been discovered in previously unexplored areas of Mekong Delta, including a species of rat thought to be extinct.

floating market is a market where merchandise is sold from boats. Originating in times and places where water transport played an important role in daily life, most floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions, and are chiefly found in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Six hours on a private car, clueless but excited to see what Mui Ne can offer.

Mui Ne (Mũi Né) is a coastal resort town in the Binh Tuan Province of Southest Vietnam. The town is close to the city of Phan Thiet. Tourism has transformed Mui Ne into a resort destination since 1995, when many visited to view the total solar eclipse of October 24, 1995. Mui Ne has many resorts on the beach, as well as restaurants, bars and cafes.

{Below} The Yellow Sand Dunes

The best part of every tour for us is when you get to know the people’s way of living to further understand their culture and behavior. I must say the Fishing Village was one of the unglamorous scenes I’ve seen, but Its one of the best.

Thap Poshanu Cham Tower or simply Poshanu Tower was our last stop before going back to Saigon. When you’re there, It seems like you are also in Cambodia.

I started this post with an airport scene and let me close it with another airport scene.

Truly my Vietnam experience was the most tiring so far but one of the best. Vietnam has a lot of things to be explored. I will surely go back for more maybe it for shoot or pleasure or maybe for both.

Watch out for Win+Zen E-Session photos soon.

Thank you so much to Win+Zen for this wonderful experience. I am so blessed to have clients like you who truly respect my craft. I am super excited to cover your big day soon. I love you both. =)

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