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Big Lagoon

Merr Watson


Behind the Shot

Although humans have lived on the area islands for thousands of years, the Philippine island of Miniloc was “discovered'' accidentally by Japanese divers in the 1970s. By 1982, Miniloc was established as a popular, albeit remote, ecotourism destination. Today the iconic lagoons found on Miniloc Island become quite crowded with boats and tourists. There’s even a popup sari-sari store selling beer and soft drinks to the visitors who swim, snorkel and hike in the cove.

To avoid those crowds and congestion, Merr targeted sunrise for her visit to the famous Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island, just off the coast of El Nido in Bacuit Bay.

Merr remembers her predawn adventure vividly: “When we made it into the Big Lagoon, the rising sun was just hitting the treetops on the limestone cliffs. We had the entire lagoon to ourselves, and the light and conditions were perfect. We watched the light changing as the sun rose. I wanted to capture the experience, and what I was feeling in that moment. Kayaking in Big Lagoon at first light is a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Being able to kayak in between these majestic lagoons during sunrise all to ourselves was no doubt one of the most unforgettable mornings of my life.”