Vien and Adam

Because I’ve been on vacation, I had the chance to finally meet these two adorably bright kids:

He is Adam, three years old. She is Vien, four years old. You might have seen her elsewhere, she’s appeared in magazines before 🙂 Hehe. These kids belong to my girlfriends Anliza and Everth. I met those two back in grade school and I don’t see them very often. I crashed their party on Wednesday night just because I could. Haha!

They are so full of energy, and both were talkative (though in different ways). It was so much fun just watching them have fun and fool around. Of course, I also did get to catch up with their moms. Last time all three of us went out to just have a chat was more than a year ago (I think). And I’ve always just heard about their kids and looked at their photos. They’re more lovable in person 🙂

We got to talking about how expensive putting kids through school is. And how it might be hard to give the same things you’ve given to your first-born to kids that come after. And it isn’t because you play favorites, but because it’s just too expensive already. They both only have one child each.

Vien started school this week while Adam is still too young. Soon enough, they’d both be preparing for college entrance exams! Hay.

My eldest niece has just started senior year in high school. One time over the summer, her mom mentioned looking for an affordable review center to enroll her in. They want to prepare for the UPCAT (entrance exam for the University of the Philippines). Though I didn’t have to enroll in such classes, I do remember spending afternoons and weekends with my friends going through reviewers and sample exams. Those were enough for me, but yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to have more help.

For some of us, the UPCAT is the most important exam we’ll ever have to take. Others move on to take more crucial, life-altering exams like the LAE for UP Law, and the NMAT to qualify for Med school (it’s like the GMAT for business schools in the US), etcetera.  Oh and that’s not to mention the bar/board/licensure exams you need to take before you can practice what you’ve just spent years studying for. No wonder there is a huge market for review and tutorial centers. We need a lot of help preparing for the many tests we’d have to take. These centers specialize too. You have ones specializing for gmat prep, nursing board review prep, bar exam prep, and so on.

Oh well, life is a series of tests, one right after another.

Hey, how did I get here? One moment I was gushing over how cute Vien and Adam are, the next I’m talking about exams!

Anyhoo, I am so looking forward to meeting up with my girlfriends again and also seeing the kids. I don’t know when that will be, but I hope we won’t be waiting another year for it. 🙂

Oh I just remembered! He’s the same Adam on this infant layout, and here with the toys too!

And another thing. Not all kids can be as energetic as these two, let’s not forget them. Please reach out and do what you can for Baby Jon Angelo!

Best Wishes, Jo and Dom!

Remember her? 

my pretty bff


That’s my dear bestest friend, Jo. She’s getting married today. 🙂 

To Jo and Dom, I still cannot believe you guys are getting married before us! But don’t get me wrong, I am so so so happy for you. 🙂 I am a bit sad because I am not enough of a party person to pull together a party for you Jo (or maybe your cousins and girlfriends already did?), but I know you don’t expect anything like that from me, Hehe. But seriously. 

We’ve known each other since we were kids, back when things were so simple and it was safe to play hide-and-seek under the light of the full moon. I don’t know if I ever told you this, but back when we were maybe seven or eight, that summer when we hung out a lot, I wrote in my diary that you were probably my best friend. And you are. 

We have certainly gone a long way since, and our interests now are probably as diverse as night and day. Yet I still feel a deep connection to you; something that I hope will never ever disappear. 

Today you will walk down the aisle and marry the man you have been with for the past… how long has it been? I don’t remember. I haven’t seen you together since back when you were still just friends 🙂 but I know he’s a good man, and that he makes you happy. In a few months, the distance between us will be even greater, as you leave to join your husband. I will miss you, just as I have in the past ten years that we haven’t been neighbors, but I won’t be sad about it. To be honest, I am excited for you. You will be having a brand new beginning. Not only will you be married now, but you will also be a Pinoy expat. 😉 Oh, and your mom won’t be too far away. For a change, you will be within reach of the two people you love most in the world, without having to count the days until their next flight out. 

I love you girflriend. Take care of yourself and the family you’re building. This early, I am volunteering to be your first baby’s godmother. 🙂 Oh, and be sure to come home when my turn comes. 😉 

Wedding invites

A friend is getting married on Thursday, I haven’t even thought about what I’ll be wearing to the event. Hmm…

This afternoon, our small group of friends will meet up, reminisce about the good old times, then look forward to her wedding and the rest of her married life.  The get-together was supposed to be last night, good thing it was moved because there was no way I could have been there.

Yesterday at work I started feeling woozy. My head was spinning while I was trying hard to coach one of my agents.  I normally stay at work way beyond my shift on Fridays so I can complete all my deliverables before my rest day. But yesterday? I tried to stay but was not very productive. I just decided to go home, rest and try to go back on Friday night. Besides, I owed some people their orders of truffles anyway.  Guess what happened when I got home? I went to sleep. I woke up several times just to complain of the wooziness and the headache and the back ache. I skipped lunch, the whole afternoon, and then dinner. No truffles, no Harry Potter, no going back to work.

That’s okay though.

Back to what’s happening this afternoon…

Arianne organized the event, I don’t know if I should call it a bridal shower but that’s what it probably is going to be. 🙂 I’m also not sure who else is coming, but I know it’s going to be a fun time. I haven’t seen the girls since August last year – almost a year since! Grabe. 🙂

Y’s wedding is the second that I’ll be attending just this month. In August, I’m seeing an old highschool friend tie the knot as well – she invited me just now via chat at Facebook.  Then next year it will be Jo’s wedding. Everyone else is asking when mine’s going to be. That is the million dollar question indeed.

It will yet be unanswered 🙂

I was hoping to help out with Jo as she prepares for her wedding. It’s more than six months away but she’s got reservations going already and I, on the other hand, have done nothing so far. Haha.

Speaking of weddings, I came across this website offering wedding invitation stamps.  They’re not just toy stamps mind you, these ones actually look like you could use them for postage of your wedding invitations.  It is US postage though. I guess here in the Philippines, wedding invitations are normally personally delivered to those invited so maybe this won’t be such a hit. But still, it’s tiny detail that would really add to personalizing a couple’s wedding invites. Check out this video I picked up from that site:

A couple could use any one of their beautiful pre-nup shots , diba? I wonder if business like this would fly in the Philippines, specially when snail mail traffic has declined with the advent of more affordable (and efficient) courier services, and email.  But since it’s a specialty stamp maybe Pinoys would go for it.  I wonder how this gets approved by PhilPost? Hmm…
Personalizable Wedding Photo Stamps

Basic Digital Photography Class

Friday night at work: I was having a very productive evening, and I felt light and positive all day.  I realized it was two things that had me at such high spirits: my agents were not around, and I was looking forward to my basic digital photography class the next afternoon.

By morning though, things took a turn for the worse.  From very productive, I plunged to zero productivity.  I had only three agents around but all of a sudden I had to attend to them.  So though my shift was really just supposed to be until 8am, but I gave myself until 1pm to finish everything and that was the time I was supposed to leave for my class – I ended up finishing what needed to be done at 2pm.  To make matters worse – it was raining. Really hard.

Raining on Saturday afternoon meant that we probably won’t be able to shoot photos.  Still, the idea that I’d be learning about my camera excited me.  Sir Nicolay moved our start time from 2 to 230 because of the rain. That worked for me so I wasn’t late! Yay! Plus, I hadn’t eaten since dinner the previous evening, so waiting for the instructor gave me time to grab a bite (the baked potato was delish!).

Oh, and you know what else made this class exciting? My best friend was in it too:

my pretty bff

my pretty bff

My photography doesn’t do justice to her beauty, hehe. Wait till I hone my skills even more 😉

The first part of the class was the lecture part on what makes a beautiful photo, and how to take them. I love Sir Nicolay’s presentation.  It really looked as if he invested time and a lot of effort in preparing the course.   It’s really a beginner’s class – if you don’t know shit about photography, you’ll leave the class with a wealth of information.

At the beginning of the lecture though, there was one thought running through my mind – why define beauty?  I realized in the end that it is important to talk about universal concepts of beautiful photography because it has mass appeal.  When you follow those concepts – many will come to like your work.  Then you can break all the rules, break them all you want and find your own beauty. Haha. 🙂

The trickiest part about photography, to me, is finding that perfect mix of ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  It’s just so easy to use Auto, but if I always use auto mode then I probably should have just stuck it out with my Kodak point and shoot.  After the discussion, and before we actually went out to shoot (the rain stopped the sun came out while we were discussing!), Sir Nicolay gave us a subject and we were supposed to think of the right settings to capture it without looking through the cameras yet.  My answer ended up to be underexposed – but that’s how I actually like it because here’s the result:


I love it because the imperfections are hidden. Compare it with this one, which was taken with just the right settings:


Aside from Jo and myself, there was one other girl with us, Mitch who works at ABS-CBN (where my office is located!); there was Carlo too, and uhm, sorry but I forgot where he’s from. We were a fun bunch, or maybe I was just immediately comfortable because I knew someone in the group already?  Three of us had D60s (Jo bought hers the week after I got Maxine), while Mitch was the odd one out with her Canon 450d and all of its 9 AF points.  For the photoshoot part, we were joined by another girl who was at that morning’s session.

So the sun decided to come out and let us have our fun.  It’s not easy to take beautiful photos after all, though I think it was the pressure of knowing that the instructor and everyone else would critique my shots by the end of the day.  I ended up deleting a third (or more) of the shots I took.

This was one of the first shots I took, I didn’t have to think about it so much and I liked the turnout.  This is the wall of the shed (was it a generator shed?) at the back of the UP Theater:


For this next one, I just know I could have done better, but I can’t pinpoint in what manner. Do you have any suggestions on how this could have been captured even more  beautifully? Perhaps if I didn’t have two bags on my shoulder and I wasn’t sleepy already, I’d have kneeled lower and taken this from a better angle…


I cropped this image already, because the original had too much of the road itself, I should have waited until the jeepney was near enough.  


I took two shots of the same thing, the second one was brighter, but this was the one I liked better:


I like shooting at angles like this one. I love green!


These next ones were taken with different settings. I wanted it to be bright, but I loved the ones where the clouds’ natural colors could be seen:






This last one, is my favorite photo for the day.  I’ll probably use it as my wallpaper:


I am so excited to get into photography even more! I will scrimp for awhile though, even as I already feel the need for another lens, I’ll wait.  Maybe I’d go for an extra battery first (versus a battery grip), or an additional compact flash memory or SD card. We’ll see. I kind of promised I’d work on my skills first before I buy accessories. 🙂

Photography Classes

Last week, I had a discussion with photographer friend Edsel about getting a developing kit so I could process films at home.  He was so animated about it that I was almost convinced. 🙂 We also got to talking about enrolling in photography classes.  I’d probably go for the most basic ones available while as for him, he’d probably just need a venue to rehash his knowledge.  Then the day after, I was speaking to film photography hobbyist Archie who was also considering buying a DSLR.  Learning more about the art of photography, and getting more intimate with the tools of the trade (aka learning about camera functions and settings) seem to be the most attainable of all the things I want to do at this point. 

Gosh, Archie and I even discussed how easy it is to take out a loan from SSS and that would be perfect seed money for a DSLR.  Since payment for the salary loan is for 2 years, you’d hardly feel the deduction every month.  Ahh tempting.

I spent hours yesterday searching for information on photography workshops and with each page I visit, I become more convinced that this is something I can do.  I was even more inspired when I landed on SirNicolay’s blog.  Checkout his teaser:

I am going to pickout a schedule soon, and I hope I can convince the boyfriend to sign up with me too.  Too bad SirNicolay does not teach film photography, so I’m trying to decide if I’ll use my point and shoot for the class, or finally get a DSLR or borrow a similar built/model as the one I’m buying someday.  Haha. There are other workshops that cater to both film and digital, but it’s much expensive.  Besides I love the small groups that SirNicolay’s classes seem to turn out to be – there’s more of a one-on-one feel.

My interest in photography as a hobby is also something that Jo and I talked about last Sunday.  By the time her wedding rolls over, I should have a DSLR already!  Oh and speaking of her wedding, she has a garden venue in mind already but she’s not quite fully convinced yet (as of last time we spoke).  I was trying to be a good friend and help her find other possibilities but couldn’t find much.  How I wish there was a listing for wedding venues in one place with lots of photos to help you consider which ones to actually visit.  You know, much like the page that could be used to find your ideal Pigeon Forge Tennessee hotel.  Okay, maybe there is such a page for Pinays preparing for their weddings, I just haven’t found it, haahaha.

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