Monthly Archives: May 2012

Digital Photographer Philippines 6

It’s a magazine I haven’t read, go to their website here. Although I have once taken advantage of their forum to get answers to my stupid questions, I never attended any event or join contest they host. I always feel that they are are only for pros and their amateur level is still pro-ish. Gah. Where do I put myself, below amateur, baby amateur, under zero amateur… I’ve been an amateur photographer for more than a year, am I therefore a professional amateur photographer—mastered being an amateur. Clap. Clap. Clap. Bow.

Here we go. I got to Boni High Street at 4PM. I knew I missed a lot already, but what I missed I don’t know. There were quite a number of speakers in line as per their DPP’s website but none of them excites me. (Read: Da Who) Not until I got a seat from a gentleman in a tent where Val Rodriguez was doing his talk. This man, as he introduced himself, is a photojournalist from Philippine Star. Later after his talk, he was again recognized by the host as the chief photographer of the newspaper. That was not shocker, for he has told us not a lecture but a sharing of the best and worst things he has gone through as far as photojournalism is concerned.

He was with Ninoy on the same plane that landed in Manila the day he was shot dead. He took pride in taking most of the published photographs of that historical event, maybe not only on newspapers but on books too. Just when I was enjoying re-watching that part of the history in mind while he browsed quickly on the photos, he asked if anyone has a 500-peso bill. You got it. The famous pangalungbaba photo of Ninoy, he did it and it’s on Philippine money. That I cannot fathom if happened to me.

He showed more photos from the Marcos, Aquino and Estrada regime. One thing I pictured in my mind was Marcos being so sick. He took a photo of the inside of the bus that’s always in convoy wherever Marcos’ go. It was a bus complete with medical equipment, it’s a hospital bus! It was followed by a series of photos of Malacañang. His room was a hospital too, even the bathroom showed a trace of an illness. The photos of the sick Marcos did not give me an inkling on how sick he was than these all-furniture-and-medical-equipment photos.

More and more photos and stories were told until we got to Maguindanao Massacre. He showed us some familiar photos of the lifeless journalists scattered all over the vacant lot. I don’t know how hard could it be for him to take photos of two of his friends brutally killed like that and submit the photos to the news for printing. He spoke so little about it and suggested that we let the photos do the talking instead. I also don’t want to say much, except for JUSTICE PLEASE.

He showed a few more photos mostly from the current regime. Some festivals, rallies, natural calamities and hostage takings…

Val ended the discussion with a heavy heart. He wants two more days to tell his stories and so he encourages us to send him our photos we think deserves a few columns in the newspaper to compensate the limited time.

I like Val. It was an honor to hear the history from a firsthand experience.


There was a Mini Cooper parked at some odd space.

I realized later it was for a photoshoot. Hihi. It just didn’t look like it is unlike this yellow car set-up sponsored by Sony and FHM. On the programme they call it Carwash Shoot something-something.

I used my Nikon to take photos of Canon

…and of the closed road


I got back at the tent early to secure a seat. The next speaker will do a live photoshoot with all of us around, suffocating him and the model. Exciting.

This is Raymund Isaac with a U. He’s just concerned with being found in twitter and the likes. And it helped. Guess what, I just checked and he’s on tumblr! His stint on this year’s DPP anniv party was on doing an outdoor photoshoot. He said he doesn’t bring strobes all the time (and he’s a pro photographer probably making hundreds of thousands a month) and that we should make use of the available light. As for me, natural light is the best lighting we can get for a photoshoot. High-five to that!

He started with measuring the light then shared us his Canon camera settings. He also mentioned that he’s turning his white balance to tungsten on that cloudy afternoon, he wants to give the photos a bluish tint for a Japanese/Korean feel. I set mine to flash though, because I always wanted a warmer color. Okay, enough of that, I don’t want to bore you my dear reader.

The model by the way is the stunner Jinri Park—DJ, FHM girl and Korean. Hey Jinri, I remember Raymund said that we should get your approval before publishing your photos because you don’t like ugly photos. I don’t want to take your time approving or denying them, I’ll just post no unflattering photo of you instead. But it’s still your call if you want this removed, tweet me.

The shoot was done from behind the Mini Cooper…

while I was behind the industrial fan.

I just have to say that the ultimate shocker of the day was this CDR King flash gun! I shall never be shocked when one day I discover a CDR King car engine, USB powered.

Thank you for bearing with napes and for reading.

You are a loving heart and I am a stinking asshole.

When I was 9, we always pass by a bank walking home to San Nicolas from my lola’s carinderia in Kapasigan. She once said that she’d like me to work in a bank, her reason was convincing to me, “because it’s air-conditioned”. Since then, I always try to sneak what’s inside the bank whenever we pass by. I never asked what kind of work will I get there, what lingered in my mind for years is that she only wants me to work in some comfortable, air-conditioned place. That may be her drive to give me the best education she can with her meagre income. Up to this time, I still can’t believe how she got to afford a private school my entire grade school years from just selling gulaman. She uses a small table, the size of a living room center table, along the sidewalk outside my lola’s carinderia. There she makes her gulaman and stacks clear drinking glasses that used to be Nescafe bottles. She had tried selling lumpia too. She called me her “assistant” because I always wanted to take part in making one, so she had let me help her place the uncooked lumpia rolls in a tray or container for storage. She’d receive a few thousand pesos from Papa every month, which from what I’ve heard and understood from eavesdropping, is enough to pay the rent, electric and water bills.

We didn’t live a life bounty of even the necessities. It was a struggle. The kind of life we had taught her to save almost everything she can save. I pull random amount of toilet paper sheets, she would tell me to pull just two and fold it nice and neat. Until this day, she goes to my room early in the morning to turn off the lights or unplug the TV. I always mind her collecting disposable containers in the kitchen; she’d argue we might need them in the future. She never bought new clothes and still gets excited with hand-me-downs. By being frugal, she was able to make ends meet. She’s a master thrifter.

One night there was asthma attack. The nebulizer you bought me from borrowed money can’t help me. You gently massaged my chest and my back, stroked my hair. I asked you to bring me to the hospital; you look so scared and confused. You said we have no money. You didn’t bring me to the hospital, I can’t blame you. But I was in your arms the whole night. It made a difference, see I survived.

She’s not a perfect mother though; I am not a perfect daughter either. She had slapped my face out of anger from the compelling disrespectful words that came out of my mouth enough for any mother to disown a child. I deserve a hundred more of that from you, we both know that. I’ve hated you to the point of wishing you did not bring me to the earth. But you did with eagerness, with no thinking twice, selflessly, not thinking what a complicated life may be ahead of you given Papa’s status and lifestyle. I didn’t realize that so I disobeyed and broke your heart countless times. Once in high school I came home 3 hours late from school’s dismissal time. I saw you solemnly praying the rosary by the altar instead of taking your dinner. I wasn’t moved and I didn’t learn from that. I hated you because I always thought you did not work hard for us to overcome poverty and for always regarding Papa as the head of the family, the only person we all should obey whether right or wrong. I loathed that. Pursuing secondary school in a public school felt like losing face.

You don’t cook because you can’t. For years it is just now that you’re learning, taking notes when watching cooking shows and eventually serving us your experiments. I am so upfront in telling you your flaws, but you’d say nothing and just make the adjustments for it to go well with my taste. You are a loving heart and I am a stinking asshole.  

May 2, 2012. I have frightened you with my fainting in front of you. You’ve shaken me strong enough but it’s your trembling voice that brought me back my consciousness. You held my face tight close to your chest calling me not by my name but by the word ‘baby’. You called me your baby, Mama! I almost never heard that. Then a soft pressing in my head, it’s your lips, you can’t deny. I now know that I can be half dead anytime and only your touch and voice can bring me to life. There’s no other person capable of loving a bad girl like that. Only you can do that, Mama, only you. You are amazing.

Please do not grow tired taking care of me. By the way, I’d have to die first. When you’re seventy and still healthy, I’ll kill myself and just be sorry. The strength you have is capable with moving on with life without me better than me carrying on without you. I am so sure of that because you couple it with solid faith in God.

I suck at being a daughter but the rest of my years will be spent to make it up to you. Happy Mother’s day, Mama. Your baby loves you.

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