Photography by James R. Nelon!



He is a talented author and still photographer who has written five books in his Pursuing A Dream series of photographic travelogues on remote tribes in Southeast Asia. He enjoys exploring the synergies of video and still photography in telling the many stories of far-off peoples throughout the world. Watch his latest 90-second Sizzle Reel featuring videos and stills.

Pursuing A Dream: The Philippines Book Excerpt

ISBN: 962-8783-47-5



Drat! More flies. Millions of them. Everywhere. I can accomplish only two tasks while I’m eating lunch. Eat with one hand and shoo flies with the other. I tried to read with one hand holding open a book while eating with the other hand. That attempt failed miserably. One hand must be constantly on the move to keep the flies off the arms, off the head, out of the eyes and nose. I could inhale only when I was certain I wouldn’t be ingesting one or more of these pesky insects. It’s particularly difficult to keep the flies out of the food. Hot soup is a desirable menu item to consume because the flies abandon it until it’s cooled, by which time I have consumed it. “Off” bug repellent works sometimes, but I haven’t reckoned how to work it into the food to avert the flies from it, too. In addition, ants add an additional challenge and another layer of complexity to the lunch experience. Once the ants discover a morsel, the lunch event becomes impossible to complete. Today, I had to abandon the table and move on to another place after the ants found a scrap. I’ve been admonished to “Just eat fast”. An hour or so after I had finished my meal, I returned to the restaurant table which had not yet been cleared from my lunch. The tables overlooked fish farms on the outside terrace, and the remaining dishes contained black and red ants, the resulting combination of flies and ants battling for the remains. Moreover, at the ensuing dusk, the mosquito became as insufferable as the fly during daytime; the annoying buzzzz, zitttt of the ubiquitous pest continued throughout the evening. I previously believed that the natives who grew up here became immune to mosquitoes, but after finishing dinner last night, I read a book on the verandah. All of the other guests sitting near me frequently swatted mosquitoes, some more than I, since I had applied insect repellent for the occasion. A mosquito net over the bed at night performed an excellent mission of ensuring a sound night’s sleep. Not one of the pesky, annoying creatures got into the screened area.