December Cruise Ship Photography Workshop

Congratulations to Ahmed, Redford, Rheo , Bel and Tomasito (photo above) for completing the International Cruise Ship Photography Workshop held at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. (FPPF) in Intramuros, Manila last Dec. 3-5, 2009. I keep telling my students that this workshop can revolutionize your photography experience-most especially in the realm of first-class customer servicing and mass production photo techniques. As you can see in the photo above, these guys have changed already and are ready for their first cruise ship to attack heh, heh, heh!
Looking very dignified and determined here guys! My next workshop will probably be in February 2010 right after PhotoWorld Asia.

Miss Taal Beauty Pagent in Batangas Province

Yours truly is thankful for Ms. Edi Huang's invitation for this Miss Taal beauty pagent photo shoot. About a dozen rated photographers graced the event in Batangas province. I was assigned three young candidates with some two male escorts. The formal pictorials were held at famous ancestral homes and museums in the vicinity. Our pictorial was done at the Ylagan-De La Rosa Ancestral house. It certainly is a challenge not to scratch or damage any fine furnishing in such old yet restored houses. My favorite candidate is the 22 year old, graceful and lovely Ms. Maria Paula Janna Santos (Paw) who is a nursing student. Her escort is the shy Rommel. Some photogs momentarily abandoned their assigned candidates to shoot Paw in the swim suit event! And most photogs ignored the strict shot list of the organizers and decided to create their own list! LOL
Here is Dewey and Carlo posing with my assigned candidate. You can see my assistant's arm (upper right corner) holding my old but reliable Nikon SB-27 flash as kicker light. My main off-cam key light is the Nikon SB-80DX dedicated flash. Shooting the swimsuit is difficult due to crowd congestion plus a narrowly hedged pool area.

CCA Printad Campaign for 2009

Since I don't have a driver's license still (in my ripe old age) I usually ride the taxi cab or rent a car for all my advertising photography assignments. Most of my photo requirements are for "drop-out" so that means using a lot of white background. My typical white background is cloth. But with this Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) printad campaign I procured a Foba-brand white paper. Well all I can say that paper background was always easier to light: with cloth I had to always have to have a small portable flash to "iron out" unsightly cloth wrinkles and crinkles. Now you will see these CCA G-stand banners in the Eastwood Mall. CCA now offers food photography! Shocking!!!

At The Ballet With The Dancentre Ballerinas

Ballerina Mrs. Obie Siozon is a great patron of mine. I thank her for choosing me (again) in covering her performance with the Dancentre of Effie NaƱas entitled At The Ballet at the Camp Aguinaldo theater. A rare client who never makes it hard for moody artists like moi. Here is a photo CD cover yours truly designed for her recorded pictures in DVD format. Obie's 2009 photo collection includes even the dress rehearsals and, of course, the performance. Dance videography specialist was shot by Nonoy Froilan. Kudos Obie and Effie!

Team David Salon Photo Portfolio

Mr. David Charleston of David Salon needed a new photo portfolio just for his beloved lady cyclists. So we setup a portable studio in their Makati city headquarters one Sunday morning. With my Nikon DSLR tethered to my IBM laptop yours truly shot them individually (with their imported, expensive bikes) before this group photo you see here. I think I will keep the wacky, fun shots away from my blog for the while heh, heh, heh!

ASHA Printad Campaign Published At Last

The Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA) finally released their launch ad which I saw in The Philippine Star publication this month. It just took two short days to shoot this ad with all the photos you see. Later I will post the other shots (not shown) which will comprise the sustaining ads of ASHA. For this ad campaign I used two Nikon SB flash units in tandem with a 1000 w/s studio flash plus ambient light. The senior creative director (CD) instructed me to use strobes to mimic available light-but in a more "stylized" way. It was one of my toughest lighting assignments to date due to a contracted time-frame and cramped locations in the Quezon city area. Did I mention that the CD has worked a lot with Ad Photo and knows photography too? What a great printad! Kudos to CD James Banal concept! Whew!

Philippine Photography Promulgated At Last!

Congratulations for the first batch of certified Filipino photographers! Written below is my understanding of what certification is all about:

Remember when commercial photography then was revolutionized worldwide by digital “film-less” capture around the start of the year 1999? It was both bitter/sweet to the taste to the market: bitter because it rendered conventional photography as obsolete and expensive; and sweet because it was cheaper and more instantaneous!

A decade later on November 5-6, 2009 in the hallowed halls of the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. (FPPF) was conducted the revolutionary, first-ever, national assessment on Basic Photography National Certification (Level) II! The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through Senior TESDA Specialist Ms. Mercedes E. Javier supervised the assessment in tandem with moi, the first accredited assessor (by endorsement) for Photography NC ll. TESDA is the Philippine government’s national arm in setting the standards in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

My congratulations to the famous, power-casted Press Photographer of the Philippines (PPP) who bravely and boisterously trooped to the FPPF studio with their president in Mr. Gerald Carual of the Laguna Times publication. They pass the assessment as the first group of photographers to be certified. The next day, November 6, two photography lecturers in Mr. Edwin Celestino and Toti Abdul of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, School of Design became the second batch to be assessed. Congratulations to them too!

Like the digital revolution that swept everybody by surprise, national assessment was met with bitter/sweet reactions too. And that can be good because it shows that our industry is indeed thriving! It can be bitter to some accomplished photographers; and sweet to others who want their credentials recognized by our government (and other countries we have bi-lateral relations with) without spending much time and money to go to a prestigious college. However you may view it, it is certain that TESDA is taking photography seriously through its humble efforts to professionalize the teaching methodologies and practices of all academic institutions offering photography. Although the first-ever and historic AB Photography Photography degree program in the country has just been offered by the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, School of Design and Arts-with Mr. Leo Santos as chairperson, abide by the laws of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Assessment is a voluntary initiative-especially for existing industry practitioners. However, assessment becomes only mandatory for those trainees who are graduates from programs/institutions registered with TESDA (those qualifications with promulgated Training regulations). The promulgation of the Training Regulation is always industry driven: it is up to our experts in Philippine photography to establish and update our training regulations that define the minimum standard of competency requirements of a photographer (worker) in our industry.

Since photography involves technical skills that can be measured, TESDA will assess a candidate based on direct observation with oral questioning on four Core Competencies a candidate must demonstrate: 1) Operate camera and compose a subject, 2) Setup studio light, equipment and accessories, 3) Perform post-capture processes and 4) Present finished products. Digital photography is preferred due to its expediency during assessment. Assessment centers will provide camera, studio lights, accessories, computer, printer, mounts and other supplies. But any candidate is allowed to bring their own digital camera.

So, on-the-spot, within less than two-and-a-half hours, you will have to setup your DSLR, shoot a model with glamour lighting, download and perform basic enhancements to your chosen image. After enhancing a photo for printout, you must first demonstrate basic slideshow presentation skills. Then after, the candidate is tasked to print their enhanced photo at 8”x10” size and mount it on illustration board. All the while the photo assessor asks you basic, technical questions. It’s either you pass or fail only-there are no magna-cum laude awards here. If you have you basics right then there is nothing to fear. If in doubt, then get a refresher course or workshop on basic/advance photography somewhere.

Anyone who passes the NCII assessment gets certified for five years in the qualification they applied for. For now TESDA offers free assessment to the public. I say, grab it while you can!

For queries, application for assessors and/or photography assessment centers please visit for more information.

Filipinos are one of the best of the best photographers in the world! We can be glad that government is doing something right regarding our industry-our passion. Three cheers for the FPPF under Ms. Eduviges Huang for galvanizing known and learned Filipino photographers, educators and business personalities in the industry establishing Photography NCII with the future in mind! It’s revolutionary indeed! And a revolution is no tea party, according to Mao. Mabuhay ang litratistang Pinoy!

Joemarie and Nea Nuptials

Congratulations to Joemarie and Nea on their wedding celebration! Thank you for your hospitalityand concern with my team-I truly appreciate it very much! I thank my trusty Ricardo Castro forbeing always resourceful and industrious in times of need. Enjoy the memories folks! And may your tribe increase more.

Robert Tan at 90 Long Years!

When I first saw Robert Tan (seated, left) walking around at age 90 years I was really impressed with his strength! Why yours truly hopes to just live by 70 years-realistically (longevity average for Filipinos). Most people ofhis age would be confined to a wheel chair. T'was a grand, grand birthday party with family and friends, hereand abroad celebrating with the happy, happy celebrant at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. Happy birthday indeed sir! May you continue to be a blessed example for others to emulate.

Typhoon Donations Matter

From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone (you know who you are) who gave to the victims of typhoon Ondoy.Addressing the "felt needs" of these people is practicing the virtue of love. I noticed in my flooded Pasig area that that when a truck of relief good passby it's only the best grabbers that catch any relief goods.The old, weak, disabled and sickly are at a disadvantage. Even if there was a cue, there's the possibilityof same family members falling in line. Also, some relief trucks rudely leave the que of hapless and bewilderedvictims. I guess nothing can truly be perfect in this life. But many thanks to our landlord Ms. Viring forgiving me a bag of relief goods-of all people!!! LOL

FPPF Wedding Photography Workshop '09

Due to queries about a regular Philippine wedding photography workshop, the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. (FPPF) established their official FPPF Wedding Photography Workshop. This seminar will transform any amateur wedding photographer into a confident professional hopeful. IMHO my name should be downplayed in the poster's copy compared to the great Vic Sison and Ador Pamintuan-but there you have it! If you know someone interested please register them here. Slots are very limited-so please hurry. Thank you very much and see y'all!

One Workshop Studio Has A New Haven

One Workshop, Inc., upgraded to a better location at 1101 MTR Building, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City (across Philippine Daily INQUIRER). But multi-awarded creative director Ross Capili has an alternative, hidden haven where he does serious works of art. There I appreciated important pointers Ross gave me in describing his unique and impressive style of fine art photography and mix media. To my pleasant surprise Ross is also friend to my uncle Fred Llongoren-the premier Filipino water color artist. His secret haven is a photo studio/museum/gallery/living room-all rolled into one. Muchas gracias Senor Capili!

A Nation In Need Of Great Leaders

Here are raw, unedited photos of mine depicting the trials of some Pasig city residents still enduring the trapped flood waters long after typhoon Ondoy left days ago! Hence some areas of the country are experiencing the same misery. If we Filipinos don't get our act together in executing tough environmental laws, exercise political will, elect just (and competent) officials and plan our cities intelligently...then, expect needless sufferings again. Because in a Democracy we elect the government we deserve. The clear and present dangers aren't terrorists or's us! B-(

Dark, Flooded Cities After Ondoy

Few cities' areas are still flooded and without electricity after storm "Ondoy" struck Luzon last Saturday. Luckily my Pasig city apartment is elevated and some not-so-lucky residents living on the ground level are still paying the painful price of the storm's aftermath.

Here's an appeal by Marge Francia: Help UNICEF save and rebuild the lives of children affected by tropical storm Ondoy. To make a donation, please call our hotlines (02) 758-1000 / 758-1442 or deposit to UNICEF's Metrobank account: C/A 066-7-06631209-3. Your donation will provide children with essential medicine, safe drinking water, hygiene kits, sleeping mats, and bed nets. Help them TODAY!

The 1st Filipino AB Photography Students

Meet the historic, AB Photography graduating class of De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde, School of Design and Arts (DLSU-CSB, SDA)! It's great honor for yours truly to be part of their prestigious faculty. Now here they are in the sprawling Makati studio of Adphoto (the Philippines' most successful advertising photo studio) with Harvey Chua, John Chua and Dennis Araneta learning all they can. Photo was made by Earl Choa (the gentleman below the video cam). My message to them: do justice to the degree program! I'm sure they already are so the world better watch out for them! Credit goes to Leo Santos as the brave Chairperson of this program. Kudos to DLSU-CSB! What an overdue degree program for Pinoys.

Get Exposed @ The Food Locker

There's a party organized by the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts AB-PHOTO Seniors starting at 6:00PM Friday, September 11th at the Food Locker near the School of Design and Arts (SDA) building. It's time to get to know and give a warm welcome to the new AB Photo students and the new faculty! This incoming batch will be the second generation of the new, historic AB degree course. The party organizers are the vanguards of the program-how thoughtful of them! Please contact Chard at mobile no.: 09063667616 for all the details. Young photogs of the Phillipines unite! TGIF indeed!

PhotoWorld Asia 2010 Poster

We now have the details of 2010's PhotoWorld Asia! Every January is the "Christmas" month for all Filipino photographers alive. Never has such an epo exist with so many expert speakers on sundry photography at such a low fee. Thank the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation , Inc. (FPPF) for it! Mabuhay kayo!

Joan's Glam Call Card

Here is my new layout of Joan's callingcard. She wanted a full-color, glam look to it without spending a lot on printing cost. So I had it printed on Kodak photo paper. Makeup was by Nina Dumpa. I used an old Nikon D70 DSLR for tis shot with a Nikkor 50mm AF-D lens which behaves almost like an 80mm portrait lens on APS-C sensors.

Graceful Strenght & Beauty in Motion

Effie Nanas' Dancentre studio (at the Shangri-la Mall) trains some of the most talented, beautiful and graceful Filipina ballerinas today. Equally elegant is their colorful 2009 souvenir program for which I shot their advertisements and covers again. Their successful U.S. tour this year is testament to Effie's world-class discipline in the art of classical ballet. Congratulations ladies!

PMTV Title Cards

Director and video editor Gilbert Obispo hired moi to do some of Philip Morris' video newsletter's title cards. Instead of your typical printed, corporate newsletter Gilbert proposed the dynamic "music television-newsletter" concept to PM and the rest, as they say, is history. The title cards serve as headlines before an article is presented by sexy female video disk jockeys (VJs). I thank Gilbert for the artistic diversion from my typical shooting schedule.

Wet Wet Shoots in Zambales

The St. Benilde college students of AB Photography had an on-location shoot in Zambales. With moi (below, director of lighting) and fine art photographer in Ross Capili (not shown) as the faculty helm we both demonstrated how to manage a fashion swimwear shoot outside the comforts of a controlled photo studio environment. And uncomfy it became as the weather became boring, uncooperative with drizzle and the sun hid behind clouds. The pax learned important lessons regarding wardrobe, lighting, posing, makeup and equipment, safety and security. Many thanks to models Kino and Jojet for bearing with all of us! Ey is that a tatoo of the Philippine islands on Kino's forearm? Student Richard Chua did all the great shots you see here-well done 'Chard!