Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Vanessa means "butterfly" in Greek. No wonder I feel I have an affinity with these creatures. They start out as green crawling caterpillars who know nothing but eat leaves and sleep. They spend their caterpillar days like bums. Crawling, eating, drinking, crawling again. Life is meaningless.

Soon enough, they come to a point in their lives when they get tired of the meaninglessness of it all. They decide to bury themselves in the pupa of self-pity and take a deep sleep. When you see a pupa hanging on a leaf or twig, you'd think it was some dead skin of a tree, or dust that just gathered beneath a leaf. But no... inside the pupa, one great transformation is happening.

It is only when the once-green caterpillar emerges from its pupa hiding place that we can see the transformation.

The new creature has a slimmer body -- the caterpillar fat has shed away. And it has wings of vibrant colors!

As it emerges from the pupa, the wings are still weak... soon the butterfly starts to flap its wings, gaining strength, until they have learned to fly.

It has become a creature of beauty. Perhaps even more beautiful than the flowers.

I guess, there are times that we just have to die to our old self before transformation even begins.

And when it does, we emerge like butterflies -- beautiful creatures that can soar to new heights.

No wonder I have an affinity with this creature. At times I feel like a caterpillar... and only when I learn to let the old things die, giving place for the new to come... then and only then will I be able to fly.

By the way, thanks to Deo for lending me his Canon EOS 300D with the 50mm lens. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mountaintop Memorabilia

Last summer I attended AIM classes in Baguio. It was a rainy summer up in the mountains. The rain brings out the fresh scent of pine trees and freshly cut grass. Mornings greet me with the a scenery of dew-laden flowers and the morning mist up the rolling mountain slopes. In the afternoon, the rains come. After the downpour you can see the fog descend upon the slopes, giving the city an enchanted -- even mystical -- look.

No digital SLR can capture the whole beauty of it. But I did what I can, despite the limits of an old prosumer Olympus. So from the artists' abode in Tam Awan Village, to the delicate flowers of John Hay, and the gourmet coffee -- the best one I have tasted so far -- in Soul Cafe... I preserved the images of my rainy summer on the mountaintops.

A scene from inside a nipa hut in Tam Awan Village...

A bench made by the Tam Awan artists...

Some of the flowers outside Igorot Lodge...

I like lilies...

More flowers..

Palm leaves in John Hay

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My first digital SLR

I finally got myself to take up basic photography. My friend Christian sold me his old digital SLR for only P5,000 -- provided that I cover his workshop fee in our basic photography course, which only costs P3,000 for five weekly sessions. It was a good enough deal. So I got my first digital SLR -- an Olympus E10 -- and enrolled both of us at Photoworld Manila's Basic Photography Workshop.

Soon enough, I found myself inside historic Fort Santiago where classes are held. The first part of the workshop included a techy lecture about aperture, shutter speed, and other settings that we all needed to know to take good pictures. It was held in what seems like a former dungeon and its concave walls -- except now, the dungeon has become like a small photo gallery with a dazzle of framed photographs of vibrant colors lined across the white-washed walls. Being the claustrophobic that I am, I still felt that I was in a dungeon with fellow prisoners -- all wanting to go out with our weapons (our cameras) to conquer the world.

When our captors finally allowed us out of the dungeon, we all went out, armed with our gears, and became captors ourselves -- except that what we captured are images and patterns of anything we can find inside Fort Santiago. We started shooting photos of the most mundane of things like leaves, grass, water... or even asking the guardia sibil and kutcheros to pose for us.

And so adjusting my own camera's aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, I now have my first taste of photographs using digital SLR. And here are the results of what I learned...

Fast shutter speed to capture and freeze moving objects, like tiny drops of water in a fountain...

slow shutter speed to see lines and patterns the moving objects make -- in this case, the water cascading like a weaves of cotton...

low aperture for shallow field to focus on foreground (the red flower) and blur background (the palm trees behind)...

high aperture for more depth of field to make background clear...

panning the camera to capture a fast-moving object... (thanks to my model by the way, a guardia sibil with a bicycle inside the fort)

my second try at panning... this time, I tried capturing a running horse.

Of course, I just need to take photos of people there... Here is a baby on his first educational tour of historic Intramuros...

A girl hanging out with her friends by the fountain...

And of course, photographers like Christian who's always on the lookout for subjects, and missing them because he's busy looking somewhere else, hehe.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Canon in D(avao)

I bought a brand new Canon Powershot A610 because my dad took the Sony Cybershot P93 I was using (I admit, it is his, not mine) to the US, so I said to myself that it was time to buy my own cam. Thanks to my MBA classmate Ken, I got my Canon Powershot A610 for only P17,000 while the camera costs almost P22,000 in the market. And so during the week-long IVPM graduates conference in Davao, I started tinkering with the camera and learning its features. Here are the results:

The sunrise in davao. I watched it rising above the plain during my early morning devotion.

The view outside our room window. I took this after my early morning devotion outside. The building in the picture is where we held our workshop on Hebrew narratives.

Talented kids on the block: Reev (the grown-up kid) with the blooming singer Joanna and the promising sculptor Uryan.

I tried to capture a swiftly moving image of Blu by panning the camera. I was surprised by the result: Blu's image was clear while the background is a bit blurry, suggesting movement. Count this an achievement, it was the first time I was ever able to compose such shot.

Kuya Tirso, trying to climb the steep slope just to get closer to the peacock. Maybe he wants to pluck one of its feathers.

If not for Migs' cap, this would have been a perfect Harana setting in the olden days of Filipino culture.

Pounding Rice. I saw a similar image in oil painting during the Singles talk on courtship. With models Ruth and Kuya Sam, I gave my own rendition of the image on digital photograph.

One of the scenic routes in Eden Garden Park Davao. It was a beautiful place, full of flowers, fruit-bearing trees, spices and animals. A very ideal place for nature-tripping. But I bet that it is nothing compared with the real Eden in the book of Genesis. ;)

Paying homage to the great bird. Our last stop on the Davao tour before Reev and I left our companions to board an earlier flight to Manila. And guess what happened the moment we entered the plane? Reev said he saw Christopher Reeve! Well, his look-alike, that is... Now it's a bird, it's a plane and it's superman all in one day! =P

Monday, August 01, 2005


There was a time when I came across this question: "If you had the time and the money to do whatever you wanted, how would you be living your life right now?" The first thing that came to mind was: "I'd be a travel writer and photojournalist... I'd travel to places, delight in the beauty of nature, enjoy the richness of the culture; then preserve the images my eyes can see in pictures, and the impressions my mind can make in words."

That's one of the reason why I keep my own writer's blogck and my photo blogck -- I guess it's an outlet of two things I've always loved doing: writing and photography. So you can't really blame a girl for raving about this article published in the August 2005 issue of Enterprise Magazine, can you?

Just check out the name of the writer and photographer, if you want to know what i mean. ;)

Now don't those photos look familiar? Click on the images if you want a closer look at the article... or if you want to see it for real, go buy a copy at your nearest magazine stand. ;) . Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

God's most beautiful creation

I have always loved shooting landscapes and seascapes. But all throughout my travels, I realize that my favorite photos are those that include people -- particularly kids. I remember what LT Jeyachandran said during our IVCF Conference in Bohol "When you take pictures, make sure you include people in them, for nothing beats the beauty of the human spirit."

So during the ground-breaking ceremonies for the Lopez-MNTC-GK Village at Marilao Bulacan, I took pictures of the most beautiful of God's creation. As I walked through the narrow streets of the humble neighborhood, I saw young children play Pinoy streetgames such as piko, patintero or jolen. There is a noticeable joy in their eyes. Soon I arrived at the area where new houses were being built, not by bulldozers or construction equipment - but by human hands. These will be the future homes of families who have become beneficiaries of the houses donated by the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) through its partnership with Gawad Kalinga.

Inspired by LT's words, as well as Deo's Gawad Kalinga photos and Luis' pictures of less fortunate children, I wandered around the neighborhood and took my own pictures of kids. Here is a cheerful bunch who lent me their smiles.

The neighborhood's children gave a special number during the groundbreaking ceremony. For me, this was the highlight of the day's event, for it made me realize that it wasn't just homes that GK was building, it was also for their future.

I caught a group of boys sharing a simple but enjoyable moment in one of the houses built by GK. In six month's time, these gray hollow blocks will turn into typical Gawad Kalinga houses painted with rainbow colors. So will the lives of those who dwell in them turn from gray-drab to rainbow-colorful.

Besides, rainbows do appear as God's reminders of hope and promises fulfilled. One has appeared in the faces of these children.
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Monday, May 23, 2005

Beautiful Bohol

God has been allowing me to discover a lot of new things lately. The past week was filled with new lessons, new sceneries, new friendships. The IVCF Conference in Bohol was well worth it. My only regret is that I was not able to take much pictures during the conference itself -- I was enjoying the sessions and activities so much that I completely forgot to document them. Nevertheless, I am reserving a full writeup of my experiences for my writer's blogck.

During our free hours though, I was able to take snapshots of the sceneries of the place. Here is one, during my early morning quiet time by the seashore. The sun rose above the mountains while fishermen pulled their boats to shore, finished with their early morning catch. I thank God for allowing me to witness moments like these.

The Loboc river was one of the attractions of Bohol. We cruised across its pristine waters. Coconut trees line the riverbank, and sporadically scattered are nipa huts. You will see people doing their morning routine - mothers doing their laundry, fathers bathing their pigs and kids diving into the water from the trees. Sometimes I envy the simplicity of their lives.

Here are some kids who were riding with me on the floating restaurant. Their smiles were as refreshing as the pristine waters of the Loboc River.

Finding Hersheyland. As a kid I have always wanted to see the chocolate hills. Maybe it was my love for chocolates that made me curious about these hills. Now that I found them, I can now conclude that they are not really made of chocolate. =)

I had a very enjoyable swim in Panglao. The tide was low, and there were already seagrasses and corals where water was only waist deep. Thanks to Elmer, who let me borrow his snorkel set, and Yvette, my very enjoyable snorkeling companion, I was able to explore a portion of the underwater world of Panglao. Too bad I did not have an underwater camera (it'll be my next investment) so I just took a photo of what my camera can: the sunset above the waters.

Nightfall came, and we had a very enjoyable dinner of barbecued chicken and seaweeds on the beach. After dinner, I was talking to Jun near the gate when I noticed that the gleam of the lamp's light on his glasses made it seem luminous, and set the rest of his figure on silhouette. This is just an experimental shot - a result of my artistic frustrations - but per the model's request, I am posting it on my blog. =) Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Catching Clark on Camera

Just arrived from an office outing at Clarkfield Pampanga. There was no event there that day, so I just roamed around, with digicam in hand, and took memorabilias of the place. Here are some of my favorite photos...

Violet. The perfect blend of the radiance of red and the coolness of blue. There is something about this color that pleases my eyes, more so if they are in the form of a flower tree in full bloom. I found one in Mimosa. Instead of picking the flowers (which would possibly get me into trouble with the security guards) I just took their picture and preserved it on my photoblogck.

Here are my two brothers, Rick and Ray, walking around the Mimosa compound in the afternoon sun.

Walking around the peaceful and secure neighborhood, I saw a rather poetic scene behind the white gate that enclosed the compound: a winding pathway lined with trees and scattered leaves.

My brother Rick and our churchmate Apple, reminiscing their childhood days on a playground -- a few minutes before a security guard came over and told us that a 10PM curfew was being implemented in the area. I looked at my watch and realized we were two hours beyond curfew time.

A night shot of our cook out at the backyard. We grilled fish and liempo (which explains the smoke in the picture) and paired it with green mango salad. The dinner was simply sumptuous. Posted by Hello