Bryan Ocampo is a jumping ball of positive energy and all-round good vibes. Dude’s from the Philippines where he oversees the family businesses and he seeks out nature, adventure and philanthropic pursuits in his spare time. We tracked him down to say what’s up to this pleasant gentleman.
My friends call me Bry and I’m 27 years old at the moment. I’m a hotel and restaurant management graduate and currently supervising our family owned resort and other businesses.
On weekends, I become an entirely different person – I become a volunteer. We help out different organizations from coastal clean-up drives, tree-plantings, housing projects to repacking of school books and supplies. We also organize our own events such as visiting the home for the elderly and shelters of kids that are afflicted with cancer.
I’m also an avid hiker and have climbed mountains all over the Philippines for about seven years now. And with that, I also get to travel a lot, searching for the tallest waterfalls, majestic caves, white sand beaches, and snorkeling sites the Philippines is known for.
Lately, I got hooked into bird photography. In just 22 months, I already got about 80 lifers on my life list =). Life list, by the way, is a list of every species of bird an individual birder has ever seen or heard in the world. A lifer, on the other hand, is the first-ever sighting of a bird by an observer, added to one’s life list.
I am also an exotic pet enthusiast. I started keeping and breeding different species when I was a college freshman. I have bred different species of hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs and sugar gliders. I am currently breeding leopard geckos and keeping a bearded dragon, a tortoise, a few scorpions and tarantulas.
“… We’ll be riding an ATV
around its trails and lava bed”
2. So you do a lot of volunteer work? Tell us more.
Our group, 3K (*KapitKamayKaibigan) is composed of people from all walks of life who share one common goal: to help others. We have professionals, students, homemakers, etc. who all met through the Internet. The members have been actively joining different outreach activities such as Habitat for Humanity house building, Real Life Foundation Feeding Program, and the Haribon Foundation Tree Planting.
*That translates to literally “Hold Hands, Friends” in English, or in context, “I support you my friend”.
Last year, our group hosted an outreach program in ChildHaus, which is a temporary home to children and adults who have cancer and have no place to stay in Manila while undergoing medical treatment.
3. And how did you become quite the nature-lover and get into Bird Watching?
I think I got it from my Grandfather. I remember him adorning his coloring books with colorful pens. His favorite subjects were nature and wildlife. My Dad, on the other hand, loves farm animals.
Living near a critical habitat and ecotourism area where diverse species of migratory birds would fly by during migration, we frequently had different “birdsitors”! It was after college when I got my first DSLR camera, and the rest is history.
4. Tell us about some of the more interesting shots you’ve taken.
- Here is my shot of the full moon last Christmas. It’s the first full moon on Christmas since 1977 and there won’t be another until 2034.
- Hidden somewhere, along with the Philippine ducks, is a Falcated duck. A few weeks ago, a fellow birder posted online that this duck was spotted swimming in the ponds of Candaba, visiting for the first time in the Philippines. Thankfully a friend of mine invited me to go to Candaba, and that’s how I got a picture of this rare ducky.
- One of the many things you’ll fall in love with when touring the Philippines is the sunset. This pic was taken last 2013 at Calaguas in Camarines Norte.
5. You’ve hiked and you’ve climbed mountains all over the Philippines. Any memorable stories worth sharing with us?
I organize our group’s major climb every summer. We would always choose the Cordillera Mountain range because of its cold temperatures and spectacular views. In 2014, we hiked Mount Ugo. It was only moments into our early morning start that we were already by huge pine trees and other colorful flora. After 4 hours of trekking and a whole lot of resting, we arrived at a small village where we ate lunch.
We reached the foot of Mount Ugo a few long hours later. We saw rain clouds forming and rain eventually started to pour. It was pretty cool because we got to watch red crabs crawling in the muddy pools while waiting for the rain to stop. We even caught sight of a glorious rainbow when the rain stopped.
We continued trekking till we came across an emergency bunker, approximately an hour before the campsite. We slept over and began our journey once again at 4 am, under the guide of millions of stars. It was incredible. The Milky Way was so bright; we didn’t even really need a headlamp! The early morning trekking felt very quick. On the other side of the mountain, we could see a sea of clouds forming. The sky is now a mosaic of contrasting colors – blue, yellow, orange and red.
The sun then rose to a truly a majestic view! Ferns, dwarf-bamboos and different kinds of orchids abound the summit. After visiting a plane-crash site and plenty of photo-ops, we started descending through the pine-tree forest of Itogon, Benguet. Dwarfed by these magnificent century-old pine trees we saw rice fields and rice terraces below indicating that we were closing in to the end of the trail. We crossed a hanging-bridge that wrapped up our two-day adventure on this awesome mountain.
“… under the guide of millions of stars.
It was incredible.”
6. You’re currently supervising your family owned resort and other businesses. If you could, what other career you might want to pursue? It could be anything at all!
I’ll probably be a Biologist of some sort or a Vet. Or a tour guide in some well-known city or province.
7. What’s next on your to-do/to-have list?
My friends and I are going to visit the Apo Reef in Mindoro this coming March. It is the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in our country. Hope I get to swim with the sea turtles and see some whales and dolphins! I also organized a visit to the elderlies of San Lorenzo Ruiz Home of the Elderly. We will get to bond, feed, give gifts and entertain the grandpas and grandmas of the shelter. And in June, my girlfriend and I are going on an adventure at the famous Mayon Volcano. The cone is considered the world’s most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetry. We’ll be riding an ATV around its trails and lava bed.
I have yet to climb the highest mountain in the Philippines, thinking of scratching that off my bucket-list soon. I’m also thinking of scuba diving one more time. Bungee-jumping, Paragliding & Skydiving are also on my list.
Lifegoals? I’m hoping to get married soon! ^_^
See more of Bryan on instagram wahzap
or check him out on Facebook