El Nido is a tropical paradise I’ve always wanted to visit in Palawan, Philippines. Known for its unspoiled islands and limestone cliffs, it was always a top priority on my must-see list.
Getting to El Nido
From Manila, you need to hop on a plane bound to Puerto Princesa. I flew with AirAsia, a low-cost airline that offers discounts all year round. Upon arrival, you have to ride a van or bus (whichever you prefer) for a six-hour road trip to El Nido. If you’re crazy rich, you can fly with AirSwift which offers direct flights from Manila.
Seeing El Nido from above
Because of the erratic weather from a tropical depression, the coast guard believed it was best to halt all island-hopping tours. With that, we took the chance to hike the popular Taraw Cliff. We chose a safer alternative called Canopy Walk which included a harness to ensure safety.
We were huffing and puffing as we climbed through a steep rock formation — even more so when we started climbing a steel ladder and treetop walkway. When we reached the top, it was breathtaking. In spite of the thick clouds, El Nido was still beautiful.
Seizing the day
Being on a tropical island means you can’t figure out what the weather will be like on a particular day. For us, it went from rain to clear skies within a couple of hours. Once clear enough, we rode a boat that held our buffet lunch, courtesy of our organizer.
While the sun was on our side, we headed to Las Cabanas beach resort in Maramegmeg Beach, a popular sunset spot.
Off to find paradise…
Finally, the storm had passed and the sun was out. We went to the port and rode our boat, ready for another adventure!
Our first stop was Paradise Beach on Cadlao Island. By its name, you already know what’s waiting: pristine white sand and crystal-clear water with varying hues of blue. It’s truly a paradise.
Seven Commando Beach
Coconuts, cottages, and towering palm trees — Seven Commando Beach is ideal for those who want to spend summer on a tropical island. Since we found shade, we decided to take our buffet lunch here.
Shimitzu Island and Secret Lagoon
In water activities, we snorkeled around Shimitzu Island. After that, we entered Secret Lagoon through a small gap between limestone cliffs. Being the clumsy type, I had to keep my phone inside my waterproof bag and give up on taking photos, lest I let my phone end up at sea.
The day was about to end and we capped off our tour at Big Lagoon, where tourists are encouraged to ride a kayak for PhP 300 (US$ 5) just so they can visit the attraction. The kayak is good for two people, but I had no one to share it with. 👀
Home to beautiful sunsets
We arrived back at the town proper during sunset. Since El Nido is situated on the northwestern tip of Palawan facing Bacuit Bay, it’s always a good place to watch fiery sunsets.
An adventure worth every penny
I’ve always taken pride in planning my own itinerary. Given that I only had a short time to explore El Nido, I booked an accredited travel organizer to handle everything — from van transfers to finding accommodations and preparing permits and island tours.
All I had to do was make the most of my trip and capture memories with the LG V40 ThinQ. I definitely had fun playing with its ultra-wide-angle camera and taking photos of the most beautiful islands in the world.
And yet, no photos could do justice to El Nido’s beauty.
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.
vivo V27: Studio lights in your pocket
Meet the new Aura Light Portrait System
It’s spring 2023 and vivo is back with the V series. The vivo V27 comes with a new feature called Aura Light Portrait System, which takes its main camera to another level. Like its predecessor it’s got a color-changing back, making it a fashionable choice for different users.
Stylish color-changing design
We have the V27 in Emerald Green, which starts off with a lighter tint that looks like jade. When exposed to UV light, it changes into a darker shade of green. This is achieved thanks to the Emerald Glass processing technique. The phone also comes in Magic Blue, Flowing Gold, and Noble Black.
Chay is wearing light colors so the Emerald Green model matches her outfit better. It makes a nice, subtle pop of color, and goes with her pastel-y mint green purse and boots.
It’s also worth pointing out the 3D curved screen and this curved back on the V27 make it feel extremely thin and light.
Studio lights in your pocket
As mentioned earlier, the vivo V27 features the Aura Light Portrait System for great portraits even in low light. It’s a combination of the IMX677V sensor, which Sony designed with vivo specifically for this phone, algorithm optimizations, and the Aura Light. Its outer ring is matte and sandblasted, softening the light coming out of it.
The Aura Light, combined with the large sensor, and algorithm optimizations work together to take great portraits even in low light.
Lunch and coffee
The day before was a very long day so we figured we should get food and coffee. We found this dimly lit restaurant in Soho called Cafe Select. I think it’s a German restaurant because we had some schnitzel and there’s German decor everywhere.
We also specifically asked for the corner booth to test out the V27’s low light capabilities. Despite the lack of light sources, it’s impressive that the V27 managed to produce an accurate cutout of me even when I kept moving with the Bokeh Portrait video mode on.
There’s no natural light in this restaurant so it’s also the perfect place to take portraits and test out the Aura Light Portrait System. It’s like a portable ring light that you can use to take clearer portraits. Take a look at some examples.
On video mode, you can also use LUTs. We had fun using the Nostalgia filter to film a short video in the restaurant, which perfectly matches the vintage vibe of its interiors.
High definition selfies
The vivo V27 would not be a V-series smartphone if it didn’t have an amazing selfie camera. On the V27, we got a 50MP HD selfie camera with autofocus.
It’s worth noting that the phone feels so light in the hand. It’s so easy to take one-handed selfies. I also love how subtle the color change is on the Emerald Green model.
The V27 offers three levels of selfie filters that help hide blemishes and enhance your features — None, Natural, and Classic.
The 50MP front camera means clear selfie details. Most other smartphones have inferior selfie cameras compared to its rear counterparts, but not the V27. As you can see in the example below, zooming in on my eyes show that you can clearly see the strands of my eyebrows.
Walking the High Line & shopping
To test its video stabilization and macro camera, we continued to walk the High Line. Both features produced very impressive results.
Another feature we tried is MicroMovie. It’s perfect for creators like me. It comes with a whole bunch of templates that you can use for TikTok or Instagram Reels. I filmed a daily vlog with it and had so much fun.
While we were shopping, I noticed too that the V27 changed colors after being indoors for a bit. It turned into a beautiful white marble-like finish that fades into mint green at the bottom.
After the sun has set, it’s time to take more low-light portraits and OOTD. Our friends Alex and Leslie even joined us for a quick photo shoot. New York City comes to life at night, and with a 1/1.56-inch sensor and Super Night Mode, the vivo V27 can easily capture the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
More than just a camera smartphone
The vivo V27 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 and comes with either an 8GB or 12GB of RAM.
With Extended RAM the phone borrows memory from your internal storage and gives you an additional 8GB RAM. This way you get either 16GB or 20GB available RAM.
Vivo says this will help when you’re playing memory intensive games or if you like keeping plenty of apps open in the background.
The phone is packed with a 4600mAh battery and supports up to 66W FlashCharge. It comes bundled with an 80W charger.
In our GadgetMatch Charge Test we got to 50% in 19 minutes. A full charge took 57 minutes.
I’ve always been a fan of vivo’s V Series. We’ve done plenty of videos on it in the past and this one is another excellent phone.
It offers users a top notch smartphone experience for less. I enjoyed using all its camera features and I think creators on a budget will too.
I also love this cool color changing Emerald Green model. This phone is definitely the prettiest vivo phone I’ve reviewed lately.
Watch our 24 Hours video with the vivo V27: https://youtu.be/nJ18OMK43yE
Google Pixel 7 Pro Unboxing and First 24 Hours
Plus a photowalk using its great set of cameras
The new Google Pixel 7 Pro has just been released to the public!
Aside from our previous first look video, Michael Josh also did a quick unboxing and hands-on.
Plus, he took it to the streets to test out its battery prowess as well as the power of its three cameras — including the new Super-Res Zoom feature.
Can’t wait to see what the Pixel 7 Pro has to offer?
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14
Bluer than Blue!
September 11 marks a historical day not just for New Yorkers, but for (almost) everyone in this world.
With a memory that lives forever in our heads, Michael Josh has tried commemorating it.
He went to the pier along Brooklyn Bridge to recreate a shot he wanted to do for so long.
Can’t wait to see how the shot turned out? Or just curious how the iPhone 14’s gonna last throughout the day?
Head over now to our iPhone 14 First 24 Hours video to feed your curiosities.
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