I passed by some coconut trees as I rushed towards the beach, lay down my bags and SJ6Legend under the shades before soaking my feet in the sand. The sun’s rays were blinding as they flicker on the waves coming from the ocean. The waters were in different shades of blue in a gradation I have never seen before. I could not believe what I saw. I closed my eyes to listen to the waves crashing to the rocks and the wind singing melodies of paradise. Slowly, I opened my eyes again which brought me back to a state of awe because of the beauty that surrounds me. It is hard to believe but at that moment I was in Lampinigan Island, the hidden gem of Isabela City in the province of Basilan.
Earlier that morning, the staff of Vice Mayor Cherrylyn Akbar and Councilor Jennesa Tobungbanua introduced me to some of the locals who would join us for the island tour. George, a native of Basilan had been to Lampinigan Island twice already and he said that he would go back over and over again. A thirty minute boat ride took us to Lampinigan and our boatman navigated slowly through translucent waters, trying to avoid the rocks covered in sea weeds. We docked at the back side of the island which seemed like an ordinary rocky beach with different trees painting the background green. A short walk that took us to the other side of the island where we saw the waves roll over fine white sands.
I can see the excitement on the faces of everyone in our group as each of them slowly took out their cameras and started running towards the beach. I stopped, took a deep breath to smell the sweet yet salty scent of the ocean, tried to soak in the paradise around me and decided that it would be the perfect place to test my SJ6Legend action camera. I climbed to the top of the rock formations as the SJ6Legend dangled securely on my wrist with the monopod tie. I pressed the shutter button of my SJ6Legend and took hundreds of photos just from one vantage point, it was also the perfect spot to score a selfie. Slowly stepping on the rock formations, I went down to the beach and I felt the waves forcefully bombarded me one by one. I felt like a kid who was left to enjoy an entire amusement park for himself. I jump into each wave and felt the waters splashed into my face. It was a rare carefree moment where I felt disconnected to the world and did not have to worry about anything including my camera getting wet. The SJ6Legend stayed dry inside its waterproof casing which allowed me to take videos and photos while playing in the water.
I felt sad during our lunch when George told me that it is impossible to dive in the nearby reef because of the big waves that might put us in danger. He offered to take us to another side of the island where we can find the marvelous rock formations. Our group walked through steep rocks and slippery slopes. From above, we can see the corals and colorful fishes dancing in the waters as the waves sway them around. I couldn’t stop myself from getting near them. Attached to my monopod, I dipped my SJ6Legend on the water and aimed at the corals that I can see from above. I gently swiveled my SJ6Legend around with the hopes of taking great photographs underwater. Going back to the place where we set up our camp, George took us to a cliff with an awesome view. “Sir, please take a photo”, George requested as he climbed through the bushes and dangled his feet on the cliff. He sat on the rocks of the cliff, with the waves crashing through the boulders beneath him and an awesome landscape behind him. We then returned to join the rest of the group who were spent our remaining time playing with the waves.
Lampinigan is indeed another paradise locked in a misunderstood region. For me, the fearful image of Basilan has a purpose as it protects the island from irresponsible tourists that would flock once photos would go viral on social media. I was lucky enough that we were accommodated by locals who arranged everything for us to get to Lampinigan Island. It has great tourism potential that could easily attract tourists. Judging from my experience with the 11 islands, I would rather keep the details of going there for myself until such time that the island is ready to receive tourists, the local government has a tangible tourism management plan and the local tourists from the region would learn to take care of our natural wonders. It would be sad if this untouched paradise would only be destroyed by people who are more concerned with their selfies than the environment. Pardon me for being blunt but I guess other responsible backpackers will agree with me. If you have plans of going there, make sure that you coordinate with locals who can facilitate your travel. You do not need a lot of courage to visit Lampinigan Island, you just need to be a responsible traveler.
The SJ6Legend is SJCAM’s top of the line offering here in the Philippines (the SJ7Star has not yet graced the Philippine market yet). Hands down, the user interface (UI) of the SJ6Legend is easy even for amateurs. Going through its controls is swift with the 1.5 inch touchscreen display. The camera settings are also great with its different modes such as still images, video, video lapse, burst, underwater settings, and photo lapse that are similar to high end premium cameras that would cost twice the price of the SJ6Legend. My favorite setting is the video+photo setting where the SJ6Legend would take still photos every 5 seconds while recording videos. The LCD display on the front side of the camera makes it easier to take selfie photos and videos because you can monitor the number of shots taken or how long you have been shooting a video.
Another feature that I love the most is the tri-pod mount directly on the camera sans the waterproof case. This makes shooting images with a tripod easier (on locations that there is no risk of getting wet). The drop down touch screen display also provides easy access to pairing options. The SJ6Legend may be paired to your cellphone, remote control, and drone in just a few taps on the touchscreen. There are a lot of options when capturing photos, the settings can easily be adjusted for any lighting condition. Long exposure for tail light shots are also possible with the SJ6Legend. Overall, the performance of the SJ6Legend is amazing for its price point. Selling at 7,200 for the camera alone, and an addition of a few hundred bucks for the accessories, the SJ6Legend is definitely the best value for your buck. You may contact Norman Gagarin and Gil Ruelos of @sjcam_ph for your orders.
I would like to thank Vice Mayor Cherry Akbar, Councilor Maria Jennesa Tubongbanua and their very accommodating staff for their efforts in making this trip possible. Dawn Arancon, Zamboanga’s Yoga Master, thank you very much for the logistical support. (Carly Garcia, Joejoyjr Cruz Magat, Mark Estrada, Leazelle Mae Anova, Arnilyn Carino, Perez Levinia, Emma Lopez Bernardo)