SHOOT THE PEOPLE

It’s been a while since I fell in love with portrait photography. I remember how I only used to shoot mugs or all kinds of flora, or rocks by the beach because when I started this hobby, I was so scared to take photos of people. Back then, I was excited with what I thought was artsy photos of inanimate subjects (you know, with the shallow depth of field or in layman’s terms, yung portrait mode sa iphone or yung blurred yung background to make it look pro!).

RANDOM OBJECTS

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When I started shooting portraits and street photos, that’s when I realized that it brought me far greater joy and fulfillment. Although, the emotions, story and conflicts these photos portray can be a little heavy and discomforting, it only fueled my desire to tell more stories through photographs!

PORTRAITS

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Also, it gives me a deeper appreciation for life. It gives me a chance to sit down and reflect. It makes me feel more human and grounded. It lessens gaps. It brings people together. It creates a connection between people who have never even met before; because that’s how it makes me feel when I look at the subjects’ eyes.

So for this entry, I decided to round up some of my favorite photos of random objects, portraits and street photos I’ve taken over the past years and perhaps let you guys figure out the story behind each photo. All of these btw were taken using film cameras, and don’t you agree when I say, film made each of these photos SOULful?

STREET PHOTOS

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This has been quite a journey! I don’t know what the future holds for me, but despite the unfortunate circumstances recently, I decided to continue shooting people [on cam] even if gets hard and to trust in God’s ultimate plan for me.

#FilmisNotDead #ShootThePeople For more of my photos, you can also visit my film photo blog!

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Life Lately / 10

It has been just a little over a week since my last post, but it felt like ages to me, most of it due so many things happening all at the same time. I still have yet to wrap my head around each of those milestones and moments, but I’m thankful for all of them nonetheless.

Since September, I have been interviewing with a company half of my family is currently working for. There was almost a month’s interval for each of the interviews (HR, Provincial Managers and Division Head) and it all ended last month when I got the go signal from their HR department to do and pass all the necessary pre-employment exams and requirements. I still can’t believe it. Sometimes, I’m so scared to take this leap so bad, I want to back out, but there are times that I think about finally getting out of my comfort zone so I can grow out of my crumbly shell.

I haven’t been this busy since my grandmother’s hospital admission, wake and burial back in Feb-March, so I could tell my body has yet to adjust to finally getting back on track. I have to keep mum on this as I might jinx it and because it still scares me just thinking about what this new career path holds for me.

On the other hand, we’ve also managed to conquer 2 tactical and challenging mountains exactly one week apart. The first one being Mt. Pamitinan in Rizal a week ago and and Mt. Pulag in Benguet yesterday.

I still can’t believe how I managed to do so, but with great company, a strong mindset and permission and guidance from God, both climbs have been made possible.

More on these wild adventures and milestones later on. For now, I leave you these majestic views from above.

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Trip Down Memory Lane | Weekend Warriors Part II

Christmas is only 44 days away, and the year is swiftly coming to an end, yet I haven’t even crossed out half of the stuff on my list of trips and events to write about. Boy, I better get everything done soon and by soon, I mean NOW! 😛

So going back to where I left off 4 months ago, here’s the second part of our exciting, but not so challenging, and thus enjoyable 😛 day hike to Mt. Manalmon back in May. Here’s the first part. ⛰⛰⛰

No, I’m not being cocky at all. It was definitely a walk-in-the-park and I can even vouch for those who don’t work out on a regular basis. Easy peasy is what it was.

Although I couldn’t say the same for my cousin, whose blood pressure, I assumed shot up as early as the first ascent. We had to stop a few times so he could recuperate and re-hydrate.

After the first ascent, we reached a clearing (in terms of plants & trees), just a few meters from the marker at the foot of the mountain.

We stopped again so we could catch our breath or should I say, take some selfies. The drying grass helped make for a good background on our photos and the wide patch of land served as a rest stop for various groups before the second ascent.

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Basing on this marker, the first ascent was just around 36 MASL

We then proceeded to climb the mountain itself in more or less an hour after we left the jump off point. This was probably the more challenging part of the climb. Though more amateur friendly, it’s still a mountain, so obviously there are no paved staircases and metal railings to hang on to on the way up. It can still be perilous so you’d need to watch every step and to hang on to branches and vines to support yourself. You see, that’s the beauty of having a guide, he told us exactly where to anchor our feet and which vines/branches to grab a hold of.

Here are some shots taken by my sister who was ahead of us…

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Resting after the steep climb, while the sister went up ahead…

Here we were finally reaching one of its many summits!!

Reaching the first summit was more than amazing. The first mountain I ever climbed was Kalbaryo within Mt. Banahaw back in high school and for a moment, I was taken back to how good it really felt to immerse in the great outdoors.

I’ve this extreme fear of heights. I get weak in the knees just walking along mall balconies, but being on top of a mountain feels so much different from that. I guess the surreal feeling tricks your mind into thinking that you cannot fall over the edge, not with beautiful views in sight. Just saying that makes me seem high because that’s exactly what it felt like, literally and figuratively. It was euphoric. I guess nature can really give you that feeling, huh? This is most probably why everyone goes mountaineering these days. Just writing about it now makes me giddy. Definitely can’t wait til our next hike. Keeping fingers crossed.

Apparently as seen on the following photos, the first summit was where we stayed the longest, because it had bigger room to accommodate several groups. At the time, I think there were 4 groups of 5-10 climbers when we reached the first one.

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We also maximized the time to take as many selfies and groufies as we can in one spot, and to re-hydrate and freshen up. Fortunately, the sun kind of shied away too when we reached the top, so we didn’t have to hurry to go to the next stop.

Some of these photos below were taken by our guide and we’re all very impressed, I must say. His compositions were spot on! Way to go, Kuya Joseph!

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After a while, we decided we needed to let go of our spot as more groups were coming up, so off we went to……….. take more selfies! 😛

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Here are some longshots of the incredible scenes we saw from above. Those ants meeting under a tree sure look good in those shirts.

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The second and final summits were both on the other side of the mountain and had more beautiful views of what I believe is the Madlum river snaking its way in between these mountains.

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The final ascent was quite steep so we had to Spiderman-crawl to the top. My sister recorded the whole thing on video, unfortunately I messed up the music volume while editing, so you’re gonna have to put your speakers on full blast for this one.

The third and final summit had less room obviously, so we had to do all our shenanigans very quickly as the queue of climbers was also getting longer.

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This tree was on the edge of the mountain and even though my cousin looked really happy here, he was actually very nervous as I was when I took the photo.

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Yes, we also danced our hearts out on the summit. Bucketlist thing. LOL. This must be why someone from the group behind us was so pissed at us.

There you go. That was definitely one of the many highlights and blessings of this year for me. Of course, it could not have been possible without His blessing so like all of the mountains that we’ll be conquering this year and the years ahead, this was and always will be for His glory.

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I want to say though that this is the last part of this travel series, but then I realized there’s still so much to write about. We also tried the extremely challenging Monkey River Crossing and Spelunking, both of which I think deserve a separate entry.

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Trip Down Memory Lane | Weekend Warriors Part I

I’ve been having a hard time getting myself to write about things I’ve been meaning to for the longest time now. You see, I created this blog mainly to immortalize events and milestones in my life that I can easily go back to whenever, especially since I don’t really have the sharpest memory; however, procrastination always gets the better of me.

So much has happened since the start of the year and if I don’t get everything cast in stone now, I’m afraid I’ll lose all those memories in my head forever, good or bad. I can’t say I won’t regret not having something to look back to, because I will. Plus, reminiscing is always more fun for me when I read my own blog entries, no matter how pathetic it may seem to you. LOL!

So to start of my trip down memory lane, I’m going back to the time when I climbed my second mountain and this time around, not as a part of the school curriculum.

Normally, I’d be writing about our trips as soon as we get settled in, maybe a few hours up until a few days after we get back, so I’m not sure why I put writing off lately. I’d either need a strong urge and willpower to do so or in this case, an inspiration.

I just saw the film, “Everest” for the second time this afternoon and thankfully, with a much clearer copy. Obviously, I appreciated it more this time, thus the post. Now, I can cross off Mt. Manalmon on my “to-write” list.

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Surprisingly, here we were looking happy and not tired at all, despite having just trekked, hiked and climbed the very challenging, Mt. Manalmon. Okay, it was just a very minor climb, and the summit was about 196 MASL (LOL), with a difficulty level of 2/9, according to the site, Pinoy Mountaineer. It took us about 2 hours to reach the summit with 5-6 breaks that took 10-15 minutes each including the mandatory photo ops.

So that’s about it. 5 paragraphs of introduction before the most awaited “after photo” and it’s not event the summit photo. What the heck?

Cue video-scratching rewind sound effect….

This was the easiest trip we’ve planned together as a family (oldies not included, of course). 2-3 weeks prior, we weren’t even sure this climb was going to push through. For all I knew, it was just one of those trips we planned ahead and never talk about again. Fortunately, we all agreed on a date, May 14, and the rest, they say, is history.

Funny ’cause we just bought our trekking sandals the night before the climb. And we also pigged out on street food, Maginhawa street food, that is. You can just imagine how hard it was for us to wake up a few hours after this.

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Anyway, we started strong despite the lack of sleep, not to mention sleeping on full stomachs.

So the next day, we just had to eat again, to make up for the energy we lost by sleeping and taking a bath, and sleeping again in the car.

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During the trip, I must say that we never ran short on food as we had containers of snacks and drinks and a whole pot of Adobo c/o our tita E, mother of our 2 cousins here, waiting for us in the car after a whole day of climbing and spelunking. Surely, we were a bunch of skinny people with bottomless guts, so my clever, little sister made up a hashtag on instagram just for our group, #TeamLamonManalmon. FYI: Lamon is a local, colloquial term for “pig out”.

You can even see my cousin below bringing a whole can of chocolate wafer sticks on the way up to the mountain.

 

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We couldn’t be more excited!! It was like a school field trip all over again, except that I was with the people I really, really love. I couldn’t remember a time we weren’t laughing. God, I love them all.

Of course, being the careful and thorough planners that we were, we didn’t have a permit to show when we reached the jump off point. We had a copy of their itinerary for climbers c/o our aunt who is an experienced climber, but we weren’t aware we had to let the authorities know beforehand of our scheduled climb. Fortunately, they were very kind enough to let us through after a quick orientation. This is not something we’re proud of btw, but it would have been disappointing had they not allowed us to so we’re very grateful to all of them for taking care of us still.

So for those who would want to experience the beauty of Mt. Manalmon and all the other fun activities within Sitio Madlum, be sure to submit a permit via email so the organizers would be able to anticipate the number of people climbing each day as well as the number of guides needed.

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Around 8:30am: After our descent from what I believe to be the historic Madlum cave, our eyes feasted on these beautiful, huge stone formations along an almost water-less Madlum river. This was also our first stop, a.k.a first photo op. This photo was taken by our very nice and funny guide, Sir Joseph, whom I highly recommend not only for his great photography skills (check out our summit photos later on), but also for his happy disposition and easy-going attitude.

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Not sure what this spot is called, but it had a spectacular, surreal feel that I couldn’t help but pause for a moment and convince myself that the moment is real. I want to say that I think I captured the moment quite well, but it looks more beautiful in reality. I guess I just watch a lot of action-adventure movies with lots of wide angle shots in beautiful landscapes. Sort of like those LOTR moments where Frodo and his troop traverse vast fields with mountains in the backdrop and with the camera panning across. Or perhaps a couple of scenes from the movie I mentioned earlier, Everest where the mountaineers seem like dots moving in one line, cutting through a blanket of snow, while the camera sweeps across the beautiful landscape. That’s how I saw this moment then.

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Here we were beginning our first ascent on the way to the foot of Mt. Manalmon, led by kuya Joseph. My cousin had a bit of a hard time so we had to stop for a few times, but it wouldn’t be too difficult if you work out regularly. It’s just like climbing the stairs to a 5-storey building.

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Had to ask them to pose for me from time to time.

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The group feetfie. but of course!

Unfortunately, I would have to end the first part here, but would be posting the second half soon! This would be my last post for July and tomorrow, I start the August Break Challenge! Woooot! Woooot!

****photos taken by everyone on this trip!

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