Remembering Davao as the summer began

It may be a tough start for us but it surely was the most memorable adventure we had to date. And what made it more exciting was the fact that even if my friends went to Davao for the first time, still we chose to begin our first day with a ‘risk-on-risk’ activity – the ‘white-water rafting’ at the Davao River. From the Davao International Airport, we went straight to the Davao Crocodile Park where the Davao Wildwater Adventure is stationed. After gathering our gears, collecting our lunch on the road, and undergoing orientation of the safety measures, we then just allowed Davao River change the rest of our lives.

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After having the chance of finally seeing the albino python, the tamaraw, and the Philippine Eagle, we filled ourselves with the most ‘exotic’ food we could find that day. We ate crocodile and ostrich burgers. And it didn’t end there! We also tried the ostrich vanilla icecream and the crocodile pandan icecream. And it does taste and feel unique on the palate (you really have to taste it yourself!).

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And we capped our first day in Davao City with a jaw-dropping fire dance by the Tribu K’Mindanawan, also at the Davao Crocodile Park. They perfected each stunt with their choice of element, solution, and material. Both the locals and foreigners alike were just amazed of this wonderful spectacle.

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With a short ferry ride to Samal Island, we basked ourselves with lots of photo shoots and poses. We went to see the Montfort Bat Sanctuary, the Hagimit Falls, and finally, experienced the nerve-racking 40 meter water slide and do ‘cliff-diving’ at Maxima Aqua Fun. With it, make it hundred times the photo shoots and poses as well.

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An evening dinner in Davao wouldn’t be called as such without visiting Jack’s Ridge. And true to what my friends would say, the place haven’t lost its charm. It’s already my second time visiting the place, but the experience is as breathtaking and memorable as my first time. We didn’t miss listening to the classics of the 80s during dinner and concluding it with durian cheesecake and durian coffee for dessert.

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It was rather hard for us to leave Davao as we traversed through breakfast of chicken ‘inasal’ and grilled tuna ‘panga’ at Luz Kinilaw Place, specimens of D’Bone Collector Museum, historical and cultural artifacts of Museo Dabawenyo, Shrine of the Infant Jesus, Aldevinco’s souvenir shops, and sweets of Lola Abon and Apo ni Lola (and I love the latter), and the discipline and pride displayed by the People’s Park. Truly, Davao City is an icon in itself – a place you wouldn’t mind going back to over and over again.

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That Quarter Life Crisis

I have been meaning to write about what’s been happening to me in the past weeks.  I have been gathering the courage to face, let alone, resolve my issues as I’m getting into a more serious stage of my adult life. I’ve started to ask questions – questions after questions. I think I’m already experiencing it. And it really is quite a while already.  Western literature would usually term it as a quarter life crisis. It is usually characterized by asking to one’s self where life is heading and if one can do something about it. I realized that I had started experiencing it when I was staring at my savings account; seeing myself in the mirror, eyes a bit hallow, tired from a 12-hour work from the office; aware that I was 25 then; realized that I’m still living with my parents; closing to concluding an important chapter of my life; weighing if I just wasted my money on travels, gadgets and running; and wondering what my relationship would be in the coming years.  Questions that if I’m still making the right decisions. Questions that if I’m really happy.

To be honest, no matter how many times I told myself that I’ve overcome it, I’m very much positive that I haven’t.  And in those days that I had the chance to be myself confirmed that I’m really having a hard time in this stage of my life.

I’ve disclosed this concern to the most trusted people in my life. Others were even half older than me.  One said that she has already experienced it and knows exactly how I feel. Though they were still gathering a more constructive thought on my situation.  Point after point I said that I’ve realized I deserve better in what I think, feel, earn, acknowledge, judge right now.

I made a promise to myself that I should stop worrying on things – that I should let things go and refraining on surrounding myself with negative people.  I’m a planner, a development worker, a woman, and being one really made it difficult for me.

As a planner, I love envisioning what would I be like in the coming days, weeks, months, years.  I dream both the possible and maybe the impossible.  I am not yet close to a visionary, but in dreaming, it helps me see the light against some shades of gray at the present.  It takes away my fears, my worries, and my woes.  The truth is, no matter I focus on “the now”, sometimes, the horizon was just limited and I had to shape that dream into faith that things would be better.  Years back, I was a couch potato; I didn’t mind with my looks; I make my parents’ litigating tendencies as an excuse not to participate on other activities outside the home; I didn’t even know how to properly take a picture or manipulate an SLR.  But I dreamed of those athletes in the Runners’ Magazine; I talk to myself in the mirror that I can change how I look and feel about myself; I experienced sleeping outside our gate and wait until my mother open them because I chose to enjoy the night with my friends rather than go straight home at 6:00PM; I took classes in photography and managed to cover 3 weddings because they like how I did – the reason I began doing travel and events photography.

It’s hard though when people you trust and love the most tell you otherwise no matter how beautiful they packaged it into kind words. It’s like claiming something that is not meant to be.

And it hurts. It really hurts.

As a development worker, I’m into thinking into multiple layers at the same time.  I can relate different components and construct it into a single perspective.  I also have high tolerance to very stressful situations.  Since I’m dealing with other people’s problems (and that’s poverty, hunger, discrimination, deprivation, abuse, resettlement, and the like), I need to be more resilient in responding to them.  I need to make a way to translate the response into my reports, analysis, and recommendations.  Though at the same time, to be needs and context-based on such responses, I was groomed to be emphatic on the past, present, and future situations undergoing such hardship.  Yes, in return, I tend to being more affected that people should be sometimes.  As this position is prescribed to different problems however, it sometimes misses the point of making it bearable to development workers ourselves.  Sometimes, I too, become a victim of other people’s problems.

And don’t just turn a blind eye to what is wrong.  I can’t just watch TV series or movies without being concerned to what is being reported at the news channel.  As such, it no longer interests me to ‘enjoy’ what is fictional but to face the pragmatical, structural, and systematical.

As a woman, I myself know the problem how being a woman contributes to my crisis.  My situation puts me into a double-bladed standard that I should be prudent, calculative, practical, and familial in my choices and actions, and yet I should not exactly affirm what I wanted else to do in my life.  Expectations to women sometimes include fulfilling the parents’ wishes and aspirations and getting a man better than you.  Really, is this a competition?  And yes, I am being judged because I can’t invest first because I am a woman.  Let alone, if I am to be married anyway, it is not me to determine what my life would be or my house would be like or where.

To add to that, being a woman also deters you to hope for a long lasting love.  It also undermines even the possibility to dream what love would be like.  It’s like, let’s love while it lasts.  So is it “best before: dd-mm-yyyy”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m working my ass off to make it last, but if I’m not on the same page with that person, I really better put that on my life crisis checklist to resolve. I’m taking yoga, belly-dancing, boxing, cooking, and personality development classes to boost my personality.  Just to subtract my seemingly boring self.

Relationships don’t last long but dreams do.  But if dreams were the ones trampled, now that’s a huge trouble.

Yep, it does hurt, again.

As I was waiting for the results of my comprehensive exams and went on remembering what I wrote, I realized that I was really passionate on my chosen field.  I never felt more fortunate of choosing to study Masters in Community Development.  I did not just want to pass the exams.  I was hoping that my perspective, my drive, my attention, would somehow help other people.  I saw myself finally nailing that project proposal or managing a humanitarian team to rehabilitate a community.  I dreamed of working in a coastal area and talking about what the upcoming community agenda be.  I saw myself playing with the kids who just came from school and seeing them smiling while carrying their slip-ons as they run across the shore on the way home.  I was cooking lunch with the mothers of the community and just didn’t mind the fumes, traffic, and calculations back in the city.  I saw myself – way apart from who and where I am today.

Should I get the job offers I’ve been seeing for days now?  It’s high-paying, definitely farther from home, yet I can be maximized. However it is contract and project-based and not termed as a regular job.

My work has been like this for almost 6 years already. Can I move on now?

I was even thinking of taking a job so far from home that I am forced to live away from my parents and just mind on continuously finding myself.  Maybe work as a foreign contingent or take a diploma scholarship in Japan, Australia, or Singapore.

23 Photo Picks of 2013

Photos that I’ve taken that left a memorable moment of my 2013.  Some marked ‘first-times’, adventure, love, and even social relevance.

Photo pick #1: Good morning, sun, road, and dear! (March 2013) – on my way to work, I decided to take a photo of one of the blossoms that I managed to preserve from my first Valentine’s day bouquet from my dear.

3rd monthsary greeting

Photo pick #2: Summer is for everyone! (March 2013) – lying by the beach of Bantayan Island, Cebu wishing time would just stop even for a little while. Everything so clear, blue, warm, and summer!

Basking under the sky

Photo pick #3:  Highschool is a lifetime (April 2013) – even as the host, me and my highschool friends ‘crashed’ a party with cakes, chips, pasta, and lots of drinks and singing!

Together

Photo pick #4: Ready, set, hit! (April 2013) – covered my grandson’s birthday at the time. There is so much joy when you watch kids play.  No doubts, no setbacks, just YOLO (you only live once) moments. Here they are about to play “Basagang Palayok”. Funny how I realized that the kid in front still smiled even with a blindfold on.

Basagang Palayok

Photo pick  #5: Tourist (May 2015) – While walking around the shores of Boracay Island, I noticed the lady tourist with a local helping her to take her photos. She got the apparel, the looks, and the background. Solo traveling for her seemed ideal.

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Photo pick #6:  Fire dance (May 2015) Now a typical evening tourist attraction in Boracay island. Just imagine how fast these youngsters turn the fireball chains. It’s risky but that’s what made it a hit.

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Photo pick #7:  The local (May 2015) – Behind the night lights, buffets, souvenir shops, white sand, and fire dances in Boracay, there are the locals who have the meager means to make a living. The man has amputated legs, while the child appears to have inherited the same impoverished state as his parents.They both ask alms especially in the evenings, garnering sympathy and apathy among tourists and locals at the same time.

The actual attraction

Photo pick #8: Goods (March 2013) – My Tabo-an Market experience in Cebu City.  It was not as crowded as it used to be that time. Almost all types of driend seafood products can be found here.  Smelling something fishy means something sumptuous.  And yes, the danggit is my favorite! But take note, if you are looking for affordable souvenirs, this is the best (and really bargain-best) place to be. I was able to find quality and affordable chicharon Carcar and dried mangoes IN BULK.

Market

Photo pick #9: Bride and Bloom (June 2013) – A momentous wedding event of a friend I managed to cover. Of course, shooting moments with the bride is my favorite.

Bride and Bloom

Photo pick #10: Jogyesa Temple (February 2013) – This is my first time to enter a Buddhist temple and what more, it was during my tour in Seoul, South Korea with my family.

Spiritual

Photo pick #11: Seoul eats (February 2013) My family and I fought the winter cold with tteokbokki and soondae and good old fish stock.

The real food

Photo pick #12:  Korean food hangover (March 2013) Just weeks after our Korean trip, my brother and I headed to Don-Day Korean Restaurant in Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village in Quezon City (the other one is in Timog) for a samgyupsal (grilled pork) fix.

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Photo pick #13: Dinners and conversations (March 2013)  It really feels great when you manage to catch-up with your friends you haven’t seen for quite a while.  My friend here treated me for a Japanese food dinner.

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Photo pick #14: Best buds (December 2013) I like to share how my best buds (featured here is Bambi, an Aspin) make me come home everyday, smiling. Unlike you, for them, you are their world.

Loyal friends

Photo pick #15: First finisher’s medal (February 2013) This will forever remind me that to do the impossible is also starting small. And from then on, running changed my life forever.  I began running for 10K’s and vied for a 15K where thankfully, I managed to get my first medal.  Whenever I look at this, I just can remember the struggles I had with my legs and feet and how God guided and protected me in every step of the way. Just thankful!

1st finisher's medal

Photo pick #16: 27 years (December 2013). Our family celebrated my parent’s 27th wedding anniversary.

27 years

Photo pick #17: Best tourist attraction (July 2013) That moment when your tour guide just told you jump and you just followed. That moment, however felt crazy, just felt great.  Me, my friends, and my dear, made goofy expressions as we stole Mt. Mayon’s moment in the background.

Jump

Photo pic #18: Kaedee smiling (December 2013) This sweet child just made everyone smile when she joined our office Christmas party.

Kaedee smiling

Photo pick #19: In the moment, in style (December 2013).  This is just me and my office friends tag along the Winter Sonata Christmas theme. It’s just a beautiful sight when we see each other pouring those efforts in and making the most out of it.

Winter Sonata Christmas party

Photo pick #20: The arrival of the Nifty Fifty (November 2013). And my dream of capturing those moments full of color, expression, and story came to life when I was able to buy my dainty 50mm prime lens.  Just loved playing with it.

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Photo pick #21: Romance captured (December 2013). Think of my lens still open, and my eyes roaming around the crowd. There, captured!

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Photo pick #22: Siblings (November 2013). Left alone with our parents on official travel, my brother and I celebrated his birthday over his favorite pizza, fried chicken, and cookies and cream icecream. And thank you, tripod!

Siblings

Photo picks #23: Maayo (July 2013) My favorite shot as it was my first travel with Dear and my first time to see the beauty of the famous Mt. Mayon. Truly, maayo!

The couple

Just like a debut of memories, the 23 photo picks marked new beginnings and realizations in life.  With that, I am more eager to experience 2014 as it continues to unravel another set of memories.

“being on the same page” and other reflections

Today was a good experience for some realizations.  And saying that life is but ordinary would be an understatement. Because underneath all your daily tasks, even your conversations with different people even those you usually talk to, can shed a different light on your consciousness.  Because whether we like it or not, these very tasks and conversations we had may also give a different reading to them and if one wouldn’t at least give time to reflect on it, would entail misunderstandings or worse, frustrations.

So for today, I hope to share those realizations I was referring to. It’s already 12:16 AM in my watch. I actually had a very tiring but fruitful day, and yet I suddenly had the energy to put my thoughts into this blog.

  1. There can be things that are beyond your control. You may have to let go, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.  I had this task that has been pending for a month already. I promised that I will do it once I’m finished on other urgent tasks. But those urgent tasks just kept on coming, if not piling up.  While those that are not urgent before but nevertheless were important, have become urgent because the time ceased as I attended to the earlier ones. Came today that 2 hours before my work officially ends (which happened because I had to finish an important task that I wanted to submit today as well), I realized that this task that was extended several times because of what happened was due today.  This task, which I already ranted about during the first few minutes of those 2 hours, really seemed very hard as I was tasked to do a creative output of a report that was usually being done through technical writing. Poor me, I’m not versed creatively when it comes to reports; I really had to re-learn this way of writing and do a layout of the report.  By the way, this report also needs to be presented creatively.  Its 30 minutes and I’m still re-learning it.  I resorted into telling myself and my boss that I cannot meet the extended deadline. Saddened by that fact, I stared on my ‘draft output’ glaring on my monitor.  Glaring as it is, however, I still pushed myself to write a few lines on it. I thought, “just imagine that you are writing a blog post”.  Lo and behold, I didn’t notice that I already began and completed the starting page and paragraphs. So besides telling the fact of not meeting the deadline today, I added a postscript as well – “but I will give it to you tomorrow”. Yes, I let go of the situation that was really impossible for me at the time (or so I thought it IS impossible) but placing determination to give yourself an extra push will help you accomplish almost anything.  Remember, little steps will still take us somewhere.are we facing a wall for a dead end or maybe we just need to turn a few degrees to continue?
  2. A crowd completes a scene; tells a story. I just finished watching a film that shares the story of working as an ‘extra’ in films and TV shows. It was told that it is them who are usually overlooked at in productions or even when shows and films are released.  They are usually those characters who were taken with no faces and even no lines to deliver.  And if there is, no one would remember them of neither their role nor their name.  But think of it, is it possible that there will be scenes for coffee shops, the market, a commuter bus, or a neighborhood without them? Hence, there may be not much to be told if main and support casts will only be given credit for.  So no matter how your situation may have placed you among the crowd even for a while or for a very long time, you too, could shape what other people think or feel. Hence, you are more than you think you are.crowd
  3.  Lastly, as I close to my today’s journey, my spontaneity in my conversation topics with a very dear friend caught me off-guard when I was asked that “we are on the same page, aren’t we?”  To be honest, when an idea or experience struck me, I would recall other more ideas and experiences related to it and lump it in a single conversation.  And this idea recently I found really interesting because it’s like a coming of age movie flick wherein different people just became so interested and seemingly obsessed in a single idea and eventually, there are so many characters who are involved.  I would sometimes talk about it in a comedic matter just to liven the recollection up a bit. When this happens, I just let the ideas flow.  Most of the time, I enjoy doing it because I get to share my thoughts as well as let loose of myself a little.  Nevertheless, I only do this towards the people I know and trust very well, which I’m glad I have. But spontaneity and talking on certain things (no matter how seemingly entertaining or crude they are to you) also has caveats even if you are speaking to people you trust and comfortable with.  Much more, if you kept on bringing it up, you can either forget to reassure that they get the point why you are talking about it or overlook the fact that they were already involved on the idea or experience that you brought up.  And if we forget or overlook these things, a single question, may just mute your synapses that very moment.  Like this friend of mine, when I was talking about it, I think that person’s impression was that I really, really like the idea and therefore must proceed towards it at the soonest possible time which I think made it very uncomfortable for my friend.  So when the question was asked, it really sounded very commanding to me that it made me pull myself away from my friend. My talk then became minimal during the rest of our conversation – mad because it was the second time that I was told by the same person but was still struggling to see the reason behind it and reflect on it. It came to a point that it irritated me even, because I felt that I was treated like a child who needs to behave. Later on, I made a reminder to myself to be more careful in sharing my thoughts, even towards the people I know, because one may notice that one can actually hurt the person one is talking to or worse, one’s self.IMG_0230

Much had happened during the day, but yes, the experience was still worth it.

Reflection on “Alms”

As I was doing an evening photowalk in one of the most famous tropical destinations in the Philippines, I can’t just disregard the fact that poverty and vulnerability is present in the area.

There I saw a man, less his limbs and probably his dreams; worse, a child less his childhood.  Having and sharing this picture may emanate mixed reactions.  But one thing would be definite among these, there is something wrong and it is disturbing.

Shots taken last May 2013 – a summer in Boracay.

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Full gallery at projectsbyjennifer.wordpress.com.

What keychains hold

It interests me recently to take pictures of objects or events that has long been disregarded either simply by its size, by its purpose, or at least the saturation of these objects that certain persons or events itself can only manage to handle.

I have been to too many places even long before I decided to do photoblogging. Most of the time, I don’t have a camera with me besides that I already considered traveling as an ordinary activity that time.  Not to mention, I grew up in a household that traveling is both the bread-and-butter and a way to unwind whether during weekends or during most-awaited semestral, summer, and holiday breaks at school.  And as my memory only serves me a few notches down my age, traveling is part of me.  I can only recall that my usual apparel since 6 are shorts, sneakers, and rubber sandals; I learned to pack my own things at the age of 10; been carrying my own backpack or sling-bag by then; reminded to travel light since 12; sailed, flew, and land-crossed provinces in the beginning of my teenage years; lived miles from home for at least a year; stayed in communities and experienced cultures a bit different from mine as my school assignment; still did the same when I decided to do graduate studies; and still traveling to various places as part of my chosen career – development work.  This is besides the fact that I then managed to save-up for my travels with friends and colleagues whether the costs are under budget or leisure-packed.

Yet after all these years, I am grateful that I came to realize that traveling should not be taken for granted.  The experience must be cherished and remembered.  And nothing makes it more unforgettable than the little rarities such as the keychains that I managed to buy and others received as a token through friendships made during those times.
Why keychains? Historically known as a way for many to link a number of keys and other valuable items that they can carry around which are usually those who have been entrusted with high responsibilities in stewarding properties or even prisoners, keychains have then long been used as souvenir and advertising items.  Also called as key fobs, it functions to lessen our worries to lose those that are important to us.

But in this feature, keychains hold those that are more precious that what our eyes could see or our hands could feel.  Keychains cradle the very memory, even the inspiration brought by the place it represents.

So when you get hold of the keychain from any other place, always notice the material; the color and design ornate of the piece; and how it brings the character you will be missing, the moment you leave or when your travel or vacation ends.  In the Philippines, the most common material used is young wood (either of bamboo or those which are locally grown or available like coconuts and pine trees); and may be designed as a historical landmark, a food delicacy, or letterings of the name of the place, or an object or even an animal that may only be found there as well.  Meanwhile, those that I got from abroad usually took form of a religious or musical artifact which is very important in their cultural practices.

In doing these shots, the key is to play around the natural light that is available at certain points in time.  Photographers, specially fond of this field, often share that the best time to take pictures are either during sunrise or sunset. It is called the “golden hour”.  The rays of the sun cutting coarsely yet truthfully throughout different subjects can be just stunning.   But I say that there is no light difficult nor be labelled as “good” or “bad” when it comes to learning photography.  It is because the trick by the photographer can fall on placing your very artistic composition (whether incidental or controlled through your angles, shutterspeed, DOF (depth of field) , and white balance, combined with other items that can be partnered with your primary subject) on the space and opportunity that is made available for your lenses.

These shots were done very swiftly to catch up with the afternoon natural light that was rapidly disappearing since I only decided doing this at 5:30. I only had 15 minutes to shoot the whole set. At that hour on a January and in the Philippines, that time is already closing to an evening setup.  As the subjects hold much importance to me, I wanted to make sure to translate that value to the very photos that I hope to produce. I was aiming for medium contrast – warm colors on the subject. I thought that the more natural light, rough edges, shadows, and texture that will appear, the better.  I also chose to place a few more items like a tea candle and a stationery pad to add more feelings. It really felt like doing portrait photography – so much expression and emotions reaching through the lenses.

The photos below were combined throughout the course of my travels:

Grazing the Cordilleras

Grazing the Cordilleras. [From left] Going to Banaue, Ifugao; Baguio, Benguet; and Sagada, Bontoc were part of my community learning activities while I was in college and still while doing my graduate studies in development work.  These keychains always remind me of the high regard of the people of the Cordillera in preserving their cultural practices in agriculture, education, music and arts, and even in conflict resolution and community management.

[Banaue: f/5; 1/10; ISO-200; E0; 109 mm]

[Baguio: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 116 mm]

[Sagada: f/5.6; 1/20; ISO-200; E0; 194 mm] – This item was shot in the morning of the next day hence gives a different lighting and contrast in the overall composition.

Bicol-at-best-back-to-back

Bicol-at-best-back-to-back. Naga City and Caramoan Island, Camarines Sur is must-see places when it comes to beaches, food-tasting, extreme adventure, and spiritual pilgrimage.  I remember the devotees of Señora Peñafrancia as I walked through the aisle of Her great Church in Naga as well as the delicious yet considerably cheap toasted siopao.  Meanwhile Caramoan Island will forever boast its fresh seawater fishes with your choice of cooking; refined white sand trailing across if not almost around every islet; the breath-taking views from its hills and beaches; and having it as the venue of the famous US reality-TV show, Survivor.  Just 3 hours away from it, I can only remember the muscle pains due to the most-sought boards and excitement brought by my Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC) wakeboarding adventure and laing pizza taste-test.

[Naga City: f/5; 1/10; ISO-200; E0; 100 mm]

[Caramoan: f/5.6; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 171 mm]

Always first on the Philippine travel checklist

Always first on the Philippine travel checklist. The Philippines is really famous for its beaches, the abundant wildlife, complemented by the generosity of the locals. No traveler misses an opportunity going to Boracay in Panay Island, Negros Occidental, and Tagbilaran, Bohol at least once (and in my case thrice). In this shot, the keychain from Bohol takes form of a renowned wildlife attraction – the Philippine Tarsier (dubbed as the “World’s Smallest Monkey”). And since this is a very famous tourist attraction, there are plenty package tours and options to choose from whether you travel as a group, family, or enjoys backpacking solo.

[Boracay: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 116 mm]

[Bohol: f/5.6; 1/10; ISO-200; E0; 187 mm]

Way Up North

Way up North. Vigan City, referred to as a National Heritage site, tells the story especially during the Hispanic Philippines.  It boasts of the kalesa traversing along Kalye Crisologo; the cholesterol-induced yet mouthwatering fried pork called bagnet; the Ilocos empanada; Ilocos longganisa; chichacorn; also the growing popularity of pinakbet pizza and bagnet pizza of Café Leona; Gov. Chavit Singson’s Baluarte Zoo; as well as Vigan’s burnay and the rest of its pottery industry. But that was just half of the adventure. Further north, at roughly 3 hours by bus and jeepney, is Pagudpud.  I will always miss the clear waters and the cool breeze; my thirst for trekking to the Kabigan Falls (plus my leg cramps); and of course the Bangui Windmills and the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.

[Vigan: f/5.6; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 250 mm]

[Pagudpud: f/506; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 187 mm]

Mixing business with pleasureMixing business and pleasure. I get to go to these also-sought places due to my work as a trainor, facilitator, and researcher.  I call this as the top perk of being a development worker. Davao will be remembered as being one of the country’s fruit basket, with the durian, marang, and pomelo as the top take-home gifts.  Coron in Palawan offers the Kayangan Lake, the Maquinit saltwater hotspring, and the view beside the gigantic cross from Mt. Tapyas. Puerto Princesa, Palawan boasts of its Subterranean River (or Underground River) which is recently referred as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Lastly, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental will forever be treasured with the locals’ “malambing” (canorous or sweet in Filipino) nature; the famous chicken inasal (meat spiked in bamboo sticks then roasted over hot charcoal); the piaya (a flat unleavened bread filled with Muscovado sugar) as the perfect dessert to your inasal meal or as your afternoon snack; and the Masskara Festival held during October.

 [Davao: f/5; 1/10; ISO-200; E0; 109 mm]

[Coron: f/5; 1/10; ISO-800; E0; 100 mm]

[Puerto Princesa: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 116 mm]

[Bacolod City: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 116 mm]

Annyeong

Annyeong (“hello” in Hangul). Just a newbie in foreign travels, I can say that I really enjoyed my stay in Seoul, South Korea in 2011.  The food, fashion, history, and even the very experience of walking along its alleyways is just unforgettable. It was so unforgettable that I will be going back to Seoul this year.

[Seoul: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 116 mm]

Next on my list

Next on my list. I got these keychains from friends and colleagues. Took it as a sign instead that I will be travelling in Legazpi in Albay and Zamboanga City in Mindanao (also famous Hispanic landmarks); and in the countries of Thailand and Cambodia.

[Legaspi: f/5.6; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 171 mm]

[Thailand and Cambodia: f/5; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 187 mm]

[Zamboanga City: f/5.6; 1/10; ISO-400; E0; 171 mm]

This shoot, though a brief one, taught me the value of appreciating even the littlest of things.  It was a very amusing experience to even remember the stories behind these keychains, especially the reason why I got them and still keeping them. Playing with your lenses while tackling natural light was a great opportunity to learn how to  maximize the beauty of the subject and the situation.  Photos may not come as perfect as we hope while peeking through the viewfinder but it will always be an abundant prospect for mastery.

Lighting up Office Spaces

The challenge of learning portrait and events photography is to have that skill to never missing a shot and emphasizing the feeling that it carries across the light, texture, and shadows.  A simple composition should be able to outline a life history and predict the upcoming emotions that may come beyond one frame.

In this feature, shots were a result of my brief baby-sitting with my godchild and her sister while they visited our office during our celebration of Children’s day.  I can’t help notice the playfulness and glee their actions display.  They can even be found rolling on the floor; picking-up pieces of punched-out papers; and twisting paper clips.  Being carefree synonymously taken of living with no apprehension and regret.

(no post-processing. still practicing manual focusing on subjects)

They wanted to get-hold of that piece of pineapple that their Mom was slicing as part of their lunch. (f/5.6 1/25 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

I was just thinking of what to cook for dinner while roaming around the office.  Good thing my camera was just beside me when I heard them shouting “Aaaah” in anticipation to the single slice of pineapple from their Mom.

Here is the best way to enjoy the office space. Just rolling on the floor the whole afternoon. (f/5.6 1/30 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

free tickets to their own wonderland in an A4 5-ream set box. (f/5.6 1/25 ISO-400 0E 65mm)

(f/5 1/25 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

(f/5 1/25 ISO-400 0E 74mm)

(f/5.6 1/25 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

(f/5 1/25 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

I’m imagining that he is imagining that it is a cotton candy. Such a sweet subjective interpretation. But I still suppose, his is more unique and catches a more carefree perspective. (f/4.5 1/30 ISO-400 0E 55mm)

This is my favorite shot during this memorable encounter. Nothing can be more sweeter than siblings valuing each other. Credits to their Mom for this. (f/4.5 1/30 ISO-400 0E 55mm)