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Showing posts from 2011

Earth and Sky

Earth and Sky PENTAX K-5 + SMCP DA 55-300/4-5.8 ED
"For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!); 'I am the LORD, and there is no other.'" (Isaiah 45:18 ESV)

Hope #2

HOPE #2 MS Paint Line Art by Erika Hallel Manayon
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Hope #1

HOPE #1 MS Paint Line Art by Erika Hallel Manayon
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." (Isaiah 9:2)

ZestAir Sucks

I have taken Cebu Pacific and Philippine Air Line (PAL) routinely so when the Legazpi trip came around, they were my first choice when it comes to flying around.  Given the time frame, however, I knew that I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for available seats.  Cebu Pacific was full, I managed to grab a seat in PAL going to Legaspi (one way!) and the only available seat for my return trip was ZestAir.

To begin with, the weather was bad ("Kakaiba") and word has it, flights were cancelled all over the place.  So delays were already expected with sober realism.  My return trip began innoucously enough, I was in the airport well ahead of the two-hour check-in time giving me enough time to have a decent lunch in a nearby cafeteria.  From then on, I waited for our 1:00 P.M. flight.  The departure time finally arrived and the Airbus was nowhere in sight and it was only after a bewildering moment that it was annou…


While I was on assignment in the Bicol Region, I asked a taxi driver "how's the weather?" and he replied "kakaiba" (literally: "different" but with an ominous undertone—more like "weird").  He went on to describe strong winds and lots of rain of the previous day.  This came from a man who lives in the region of the Philippines which is first to get hit by typhoons!


Pentax K-5 + SMCP DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 AL WR
"In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise."--Richard Halverson

An enterprise can be exploitative, a culture bigoted, an institution can be oppressive and a philosophy elitist or otherwise irrelevant.  I want the fellowship back.
"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow yo…

Discontentment: The Photo Exhibit

with Khalil Manayon

Mother: "Anak, dapat tanggapin mo si Hesus sa puso mo." ("Son, you must accept Jesus into your heart.")
Son: "Bakit?" ("Why?")
Mother: "Kung wala si Hesus, pupunta ka sa impierno." ("Without Jesus, you would go to hell.")
Son: "Eh, ano ngayon?" ("So?")
Mother: "Mainit doon." ("It's hot there.")
Son: "Okay lang, masasanay rin ako." ("It's okay, I'll get used to it.") (from Spirituality of Discontentment)

The Filipino psyche is prone to getting used to things.  Like we are used to bad traffic, government corruption and whatever else is wrong with our country.  To be discontented is to refuse to get used to the way things are; photography has allowed us to capture a glimpse of something better.

The exhibit runs from September 16-30, 2011 in Homestay Cafe, Hayaville, Project 6, Quezon City (a map is in the Facebook page).  Various events i…

An August Afternoon

PENTAX K-5 + SMCP DA 55-300/4-5.8 ED
No.  I still don't get it.

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:11-13 ESV).


Through my childhood and early teen years, a family routine on a weekend usually included going to this little resort in Los Baños, Laguna (Philippines) called Lakeview.  Sunday afternoons, after church, my dad would pack us into his big American car and we would go swimming in the hot springs of Los Baños.  And the place to be in the 1960s was Lakeview: it was new and it was trendsetting.

It sat beside an older icon in Los Baños: Agua Santa (which pioneered the hot spring resort business: see link for an even earlier history).  From my preteen mind in the late 1960s...that was ancient and uncool.  Lakeview is the new and better resort.  Newer hot springs would come around and later my dad would venture to those places and as time and other adolescent preoccupation takes its toll, Lakeview gradually drops out of the radar.

A week ago, both in the spirit of adventure and being sentimental, I took my son and daughter to explore and revisit Lakeview again.  It was still there!  It was stil…

Agua Santa

(ALL PHOTOS: PENTAX K-7 + SMCP DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 AL WR)

Agua Santa is an old resort in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines before contemporary and trendy spas became chic.  Los Baños is located south of Metro Manila, the economic and political center of the Philippines.   It was discovered by a Spanish Franciscan Missionary Pedro Bautista in early 1590 and he found that the place had hot springs and understood that the water was medicinal.  Los Baños sits in the foothills of Mt. Makiling, a scenic and dormant volcano in Laguna.

Bath houses and the main pool now empty.

In 1603, the Franciscans built a Nipa Hut that served as a hospital dedicated to the Immaculate Concepcion with the name Nuestra Señora de Agua Santa.  Eventually, Pedro Bautista was sent to Japan as Ambassador of the King of Spain in 1597 and was martyred along with his companions for their faith in Nagasaki, Japan.  They were canonized as saints on June 8, 1862.

The main pool now decrepit and deteriorating in the elements.

Spirituality of Discontentment

Edited by Tim Price of Ekklesia Press, it is now available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

It had to be taken

So I was having pizza when the man in the table across me was flipping through his magazine (Time?). I knew I had to take this photo so I started inching toward pulling out my DSLR when I realized I may not have enough time.

So I pulled out my mobile phone and got this.

Serenity in a Hurry

There is something about sunrises that seems to vanish in a hurry.  A point of stillness that is a moving target a wholly different specie of sorts than that of a sunset.  In a sunset, the moment is followed by the darkness of the night where the blazing sun etches a mental footnote as one ends the day.  A sunrise gently nudges its way through the darkness to momentarily unveil this moment of peace before being drowned out by the brightness and subsequent rush of the daily grind leaving one to wonder if that was just a dream or an illusion.

What Ever Happened to Job’s Wife?

You know the story, a man named Job suffered traumatic losses where fortune, family and health were wiped out almost simultaneously as a result of some divine event—but I’m not about to discuss as who is responsible for the "what's" that happened and the “why’s” behind the morality of this story.

Job virtually was left alone save for four friends who initially consoled with him and later struggled with the moral issues that I do not intend to deal with as earlier mentioned. Instead, I want to raise the question of Job’s wife. In the midst of the calamity, loss and death, she somehow survives and stays around to annoy her husband.

“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’” (Job 2:9-10a).

The only profile we have of her is Job’s reference to speaking as a “foolish” woman. His wife, at tha…



The Last Time I Tried


The security personnel said that I needed a permit to shoot inside new terminal of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA 3).  Despite my best attempt to look like a naive tourist, it did not escape their attention that I had a "pro" looking gear (never mind if it is the entry level Pentax K-x).   To be fair, I did document NAIA Terminal 1 on assignment with an all access pass/permit at another occasion.

For this particular occasion, I was armed with a little point and shoot: the Pentax Optio RS1000.  Upon entering the terminal, I made a bee line for that spot snickering like Muttley as I took the shot...


The Edge of Lunacy

While relaxing in a patio of a coffee shop, I noticed a group of young photographers at the far end shooting something with their cameras mounted on tripods.  It seems that they were not getting it as they would moan, curse or sigh whenever they chimp to see the results.   I looked to see what they were shooting and it turns out to be the moon.  As I listened as they shoot, I noticed the long exposure times: they were probably metering off the darkness!  They were surely getting an overexposed white blob instead of the moon.

I pondered if I should walk over and show them how it’s done, but no, I decided to enjoy the show and allow them to hopefully figure it out on their own.  Then one comedic and serendipitous accident happened.  One of them must have pressed the pop-up flash button and whatever mode his camera was on must have defaulted the shutter to the flash sync speed.

He shoots—the flash goes off—he chimps…surprise!  He must probably came up with a fai…

Milestone 1978

Canon AE-1 + Canon FD 50/1.8 S.C. + Kodak Tri-X 400
Philippine Christian University Foundation Day October 1978.  That is the cheering squad of the College of Liberal Arts; this photo was used in a news release that appeared in Manila Bulletin sometime in the weeks that followed (I lost my copy of that issue).  While I have had my photos published in school publications since high school and through college, this one was the first that crossover into general circulation.

Kodachrome 1935-2010

Kodachrome is gone. Although I used it only between 1976 and 1987, I really like to shoot with it. At least during my initial infatuation with it, I shot it for mundane things like cats and Christmas parties. I later became more prudent and picky with what to shoot with Kodachrome. The downside was it had to be shipped from the Philippines to Australia to have it processed, taking between 3-4 weeks before I see the results. When I began taking on professional projects which demanded the results yesterday, I had to contend with lesser films.

Later events that would take me away from serious photography between 1987 and 1997 so I ended up using your regular consumer stuff like Kodak Gold 100. I never saw Kodachrome here in the Philippines again, although it did cross my mind to order some online, the hassle of shipping it here and back there again for processing daunted me, especially now in the age of instant…