Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Good Old Days

Nothing beats spending quality moments with your friends.
The same day I arrived at home, I was supposed to meet with my up with my good old elementary and high school friends.  Technically, most of my school friends are my classmates since kindergarten and that goes until high school! So we pretty much know each other pretty well and later that day, I went out and meet them up
Not much has changed amongst us. Your circle of friends in elementary and high school days is still your circle of friends when you grow old. I was amazed when I say my childhood best friend. He was my best friend from Pre School to the sixth grade. I wanted the friend ship between in high school but unfortunately, the school administration decided to change school policies, causing us to be placed in separate classes. We kept in touch once in a while, but eventually we lost track. But thanks to this mini reunion that we are having now, I’m hanging out with my good old buddy.
You hear different stories here and there. Well at least for me, I guess amongst us, was the one who was always out of town every time we have some gatherings. I really couldn’t help it, much as I wanted to join; I have a job that requires me to be on-call at least 5 days a week.
After some bottles and merry making, a few of us still went out to have coffee until the wee hours of the morning. Those that were left are the ones that I would say, the elite. And that includes me, my best friend, the lawyer, the doctor, the clown of the group, and the sports buff. I don’t say the elite because of where were at now in terms of our status in life, I say the elite because we were the closest bunch of friends. Well, its not just us, there still lots of us, it just that, most are out of town, same situation where I was a couple of gatherings ago.
Not much has changed like I said, we all bid our farewells with a smile on our face and the eagerness to have a gathering again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blog and Earn

To my surprise, when I checked my email early this morning, I saw an email from a blog advertising company. It finally said what I wanted to hear. My blog has been approved and I can now start looker for opportunities to write reviews. After a month’s wait and lots of trial and errors, I am actually at the stage where I want to start, earning a little something online. I guess my hard work has finally paid off. So what do I do next?

I went to the blog advertising site and checked out opportunities available for me, and woolah!, I found one. So I guess I am on the right track.
Not much will change for my blogging. I don’t want my blog site to be filled with reviews. This will still be my journal of the places I will go to, the travels, the journeys, the people I meet, the friends I will and the experiences I will always cherish.

I will keep on looking for opportunities to earn online through my blog. Besides, who wouldn’t to make some money doing at no extra effort? That is already a win – win situation for me.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dazzling Auction

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bidazzled. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was always a fan of online auctions; every once in a while I check what is on sale, who is selling, how an item is worth and how much the item is going to sell. But I also have been just a viewer. I never indulged myself in trying to bid for an item. Maybe because I am not so familiar with how online auctions work. Everything changed after I came across Bidazzled and how amazing their online auctions work.
Their online auctions not only intends to sell, Bidazzled offers 90% savings and funds a charity a charity at same time. The funding for a lung cancer charity by Bidazzled is what really caught my attention and that is totally a win – win situation for everyone.
To top it all, auction winners usually save over 80% off the retail. If you don’t win, you will receive up to 50 Bonus Bids. And here is what makes it more interesting, if you win, Bidazzled will typically make an offer to buy the item back for either: cash (pay or check), cash and bids or bids. Isn’t that amazing?
I know Christmas just ended and maybe the gift giving too. But it is never too late to bid and treat yourself and help fund The Ruch Foundation. So go ahead and check out Bidazzled because that what I am doing right now.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Travels I am About To Conquer

It is nearly the start of the year and what better to start than traveling to places and discovering new things. I have wanted to travel but never had the time to do so. From this day on, I will start planning my goals and destinations which I guess I already did prior to this day. I already booked myself some tickets for mid next year. One is for a trip in manila with my girlfriend and her sister. The other booking is so far, my most anticipated, my trip to Vigan. I always wanted to take pictures of the old street in Vigan, the ever famous, Calle Crisologo. Ever since I started taking photos as a hobby, I had always planned of going two places. First is Bantayan Beach Resort, this, I said to myself, will start my travels and places to go. Next, is Calle Crisologo in Vigan. I have always admired the old structures of that place.

If all goes well, my first stop for next year will be Bantayan. I always wanted to go to that place but never had the chance to. I hope this, God permits, it will push through. From Bantayan, I will then have to think of my next stop. I will take one step at a time and just start small. That is, to visit places in Cebu before I go elsewhere.

For now, I need to save up, I have a Bantayan trip to look forward to.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Missed Photo Shoots

Nothing much to do but whine. Today was supposed to be a busy day for me. Early morning photo walk scheduled at 6:00 am at downtown Cebu. Night photo walk from capitol to fuente osmena or wherever the walk leads us too.
I had this activity all planned out, I even listed myself to those participating in the photo walk. Unfortunately, my body just can’t keep up with all the busy schedules. Right now I am not really feeling well. I feel like anytime from now, I will get sick.
There will probably be another photo walk or another photo shoot activity, but the places we were supposed to go to are really colorful this time of the year. That is because of the Christmas season. Not only the colorful things you get to shoot, the people are friendlier this time of the year. So you can expect people to be smiling at you, not bothered by your camera pointing at them thinking you are some sort of trying hard paparazzi wanna-be .
None the less, I get to rest. I guess I needed it more than anything else. Right now I am stuffing myself with mixed fruits I got at local supermarket. The variety I chose were obviously more of vitamin c rich fruits. That what I needed right now.
So much for the photo shoots, and here’s to good health.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Taal Crater

I finally had the free time I needed to work on some of the photos I have taken during my Luzon trip. Though I still have some pictures that I need to work on, I am glad that I am making progress.

This is the picture of how the crater, of the active part of the Taal Volcano looks like. Contrary to what you see on almost all the post cards featuring Taal Volcano, which you can also find in my previous post, Taal Volcano , that is no longer an active volcano. It has been long dead.

Though we didn’t have the chance to be up close and be at the actual lake inside the crater, this view is already amazing in its own ways. To get to see this view is total test of endurance, especially for someone who is not used to do mountain climbing or trekking. But for someone who does it professionally, this trail is a piece of cake. Sadly, I belong to the first. Regardless how tiring it was to get this part of the volcano, it was all worth it. Mind you, what we came for is a view of the active volcano, not a dead one.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

3rd suspect arrested in home deadly home invasion

3rd suspect arrested in home deadly home invasion - Read Full Story Here

This came as a surprise as i read through the news the today. First and foremost, I was very glad that the third suspect was already arrested. I was not aware of what happened until I read the news today. It seems like three youngsters raided a home of a disabled man in Silver Springs Shores. What shocked was why would they, in their normal state of mind take advantage of a disabled man and try to rob him. Considering the ages of the individuals who tried to rob the disabled mans house, 16, 18 and 24, respectively, I think this individuals where just out to take the man’s money. For whatever purpose they, I still think it is totally unacceptable. And to think that they tried to victimize a disabled man. What a shameful act for these individuals. Luckily for the disabled man, he seemed to have foreseen that eventually, something like this might happen. The man, who had a gun, shot one of the intruders who died at the scene. The two culprits on the other hand, tried to run away. Eventually, with the help of Local County, the two run away were apprehended.
This is a sad story and an example of how the young and strong individuals these days easily take advantage of the weaker ones. On the brighter said, the lesson learned here is, though weak you maybe, it is not an excuse not to watch for yourself and just rely on others.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Taal Volcano

The wondrous Taal Volcano.

When I was kid, I used to pass by Tagaytay on my way to my father’s place in Batangas. Every time I ride the bus, I make sure I sit on the left side. That is to give me a perfect view of the Taal Volcano. And wondrous place never seize to amaze me. But all the while, I just pass by this place. I never really had the chance to stop by and admire it for a little longer than usual.

That changed when I was in college. On our field trip, we stopped by Tagaytay and specifically for picture taking purposes. Finally, I had the chance to look at it at a still position, for a little longer time.

My third time stopping by Tagaytay happened just recently. This time, I have my Canon Rebel XS with me. So I took all the shots I can take until I get tired or until I get satisfied with my shot. We were at the place at around 3 pm. Too harsh for descent shot. Even if I did get a good shot, it is most likely to be an over exposed image. And if by luck I get the chance that the sun would hide in the clouds, the area going to the Taal Volcano is still foggy, so most likely, my shot would not be that sharp.

After many trials, I finally came up with a descent shot. And maybe next time, on my way to fathers’ place, I will stop by again, intentionally, and get me a better picture. And hopefully, that next time, the weather will work with me.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Friday, December 11, 2009

Manila Cathedral

As history describes it, the Manila Cathedral or more widely known as the Minor Basilica of The Immaculate Conception in history books is also the seat of the Archbishop of Manila. Having withstood several natural disasters and fires during its 400 year history, the now completed structure of the Cathedral stands still with pride. Completed in 1958 the Cathedral is dedicated to "Our Lady of Immaculate Conception", in her role as patroness of the Philippines.

After nearly getting lost in Intramuros, after taking a quick pee break and waiting for a late colleague, this was our first stop to our afternoon tour of Intramuros.
The structure is astonishing. It retains it ancient looking atmosphere, but the adoption to modern architecture is also noticeable. I personally admire the painted glass found nearly everywhere. Though I am not a Roman Catholic by devotion, I always find the atmosphere inside a church, on a not so busy day, so peaceful. It gives you the rightful definition of how a church should be, should feel like. There’s silence, warm hearts and a peaceful feeling.

The rest of the group sat for a while and just admired the beautiful structure of the Cathedral. I, on the other hand, wandered around and took some shoots.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Thursday, December 10, 2009

sunrise at 10000 feet in the sky

10000 feet in sky, on an airplane bound for Manila. Before my flight I thought all I would do was sleep in the entire flight. My friend did mention that I should take a picture of the sunrise. I said to myself, our flight is like 5 in the morning, if we did catch the sun, I will probably have a hard taking a descent shot due to some technical constraints. So I tried to sleep during the whole duration of the flight which should last for around an hour or so. Then I woke up halfway through the flight due to some turbulence, as I gaze to window 2 seats away from me, all I can see was the dark blue sky starting to show some warmth due to sun nearly rising. If I was on the ground, then I would already be seeing the sunrise. But since I was 10000 feet in the sky, then my sun has not risen yet. And from a photographer’s perspective, this is the best time to capture the sunrise.
Carelessly, I woke up my colleague sitting beside me. “We need to change seats dude, look at the sky, the sun is about to rise. I gotta take a picture of this.”, I said. Still half asleep, my friend moved away from his seat and let me have his seat. I’m not a professional photographer, so it took me a while before I came up with the shoot that I would say, suits me just right.
After taking the beautiful scene, I stopped and think for a while and said to myself,” Where will all this be if we don’t start taking care of our environment?” It’s a good thing we are starting to become more conscious of environment today. It may be a little too late, but it’s never too late.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Argao Mausoleum

Although history says that this was used as a mortuary, where the locals held the wakes for the dead before burying them including criminals, this was also believed to be a rare Capilla de Sacrificios. This is no known document to prove it, it is just a mere belief. But according to some individuals from different sources, this rare Capilla de Sacrificios is a special chapel where the 3 A.M. prayer was sung for the stillbirth infants. One indication to this belief is that the altar is tinged with indigo, a symbol of innocence. This is what was believed to be where the mothers grieve for their children and where the locals lamented for the loss of their loved ones.
Although I do not conquer any of those stories, my mere intention here is to tell a little something about the place I visited. Whatever you might want to call the place, it already has a story of its own and already made known of its presence through different stories from different individuals, through different walks of life.

And as I try to capture the best picture to describe the uniqueness of this place, here is an HDR version of the place.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fort San Pedro – Cebu

As history has it, Fort San Pedro is a military defense structure built by the Spanish and local indigenous Cebuano led by Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is formerly known as Fuerza de San Pedro which is located in the area now locally known as Plaza Indepedencia , in the Pier Area of Cebu City, Philippines. Now it serves as a tourist spot, and a good photo shoot opportunity for an enthusiast like me.

Fort San Pedro was our second stop to our photo walk session with the rest of the IPC group, a local photography enthusiast group. We started out with some landscape shoots of the Fort and the surroundings. After taking landscapes shots, we decided to take this opportunity to try out some portrait shots. It so happened that one of our colleague was bringing along his sister, so right there and then she immediately became our model. While the rest of the guys are still trying out portrait shots, I walked around and came across this nice view of the Fort. So I went ahead and took a shot it. I was pretty contended with my shot, that is, until I got home and saw the picture on my monitor. That is when I realized; the picture is burnt or over exposed.

I wanted to save the picture, since I thought it had a good composition. So I went ahead and made some research online. That is when I came across HDR, or more widely known as HDR, or more widely known as High Dynamic Range imaging. After some tinkering with different software and so many trials and errors, this is the best that I can come up with. Not that perfect, but good enough. My own HDR version of Fort San Pedro.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Monday, December 07, 2009

Luzon Road Trip - Day Three

Last day of our team building or Christmas party or what I would call our Luzon Road Trip. As much as I wanted not to end this vacation, I guess we need to back to the real world, a world where we go to work, and earn a living and are productive. Besides, I do not think I will be part of this activity if I did not have a job in the first place.

First Stop : Glorietta 5. This will be our unofficial baggage counter. Since this is our last day, we won’t be staying in a hotel anymore since our flight is at 9:30 PM. So for us to enjoy the rest of the day without carrying around our luggage, we need to leave it somewhere safe, and that’s where G5 comes in to the story.

Second Stop : Greenhills Mall, San Juan. Admit it or not, we are all suckers for bargains. And that is our intention why we went to Greenhills. Although they say, they sell class A imitations, the fact remain that they are imitations. So don’t go expecting the things you buy in Greenhills will last a year or two. Knowing that, I still got me a pair of sneakers and nice football jersey.

Third Stop : Intramuros. Old buildings, nice churches, and old streets; For a photography enthusiast like me, what more can you ask for, right? The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the grounds of Intramuros and enjoying a look back experience to our country’s history in Fort Santiago.

Last Stop: The Airport. Finally, we bid goodbye to our friends. Until then, we will always look forward to the next group activity.

Life Through My Lens. My Photo Journal

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Luzon Road Trip - Day Two

This is the second day of the IDC Christmas party, team building activity. This is probably the most tiring day for this trip. But I am not complaining. I am very much satisfied. This one experience I will never forget.

First stop: Home cooked breakfast. Well, it is not really our first stop but it was the first thing we did. Erick woke us up at six since it was the guys turn this time to prepare the breakfast. So we cooked some bacon, and eggs, and hotdogs. We had the typical Pilipino breakfast.

Second stop: Conquer Taal Volcano. This is the event of all the events for this whole trip. Starting off the with a very steep road going to Taal Yatch Club, from there we rode a pump boat to cross Taal Lake and on to Taal Volcano. The lake was not as calm as expected so we got splashes from time to time. After the boat ride comes the torturing task of all, to trek the Taal Volcano. With our brave hearts, we decided not rent a horse and walk the trail instead. One forth of the trail, our married companion couldn’t make it anymore, so they decided to rent a horse instead. The rest of us, we stood by our decision that we our going to conquer Taal Volcano with our own feet. And we did, when we reached the top, the site was just amazing. I have never been this close to a volcano’s crater before and I would say it was worth all the trouble. Now all we have to worry is going back, trekking the same trail again.

Third stop : Casa de Carlo. We went back to the pension house, got our bags and left.

Fourth stop : Leslie’s at Tagaytay. Now we get to eat. And boy did we eat a lot. I guess we were too tired from the trek and right now we just want to relax and pig out, but before we ate we had our exchange gifts and I got me a very cool Francis M, Three Stars and A Sun t-shirt. After we lunch, we had some photo shoots with the Taal Lake and the Volcano on our background.

Last stop: Pansol, Laguna. We stayed at another resort. We rented the place overnight with the pool left to ourselves. And it’s no ordinary pool. It is one hot pool. Natural hot spring is what’s Laguna’s know for, specially in Pansol and boy the water is hot. But who cares, it’s just us and the pool.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Luzon Road Trip - Day One

Day one has finally ended. Tired, yet one fun-filled day.
Our flight departed at around 5 am, arrived in Manila 18 minutes earlier. First stop, Gerry’s Grill in Insular Makati, but first, we need to find our colleagues who are going to meet us at the airport.
Since we arrived earlier than the expected time, we waited a little bit. To my surprise, instead of waiting for us at the arrival area, they waited for us somewhere else. It is still the arrival area alright, but the International arrival area. So we had to go back and forth just to find them.

Our first stop: breakfast at Gerry’s Grill in Makati Insular. Sumptuous meal for a cheap price, and now I am full.

Second stop: Ocean Adventure. I just have to say, I fell in love with the jelly fishes! The aquarium was ok, it’s not that big though, but it was a nice experience. What really caught my attention were the jelly fishes, the lights in their aquarium and the back ground song, everything I was perfect. I think I took more 20 shoots of the jelly fishes’.

Third stop: MOA. We had to stop by the grocery to get some stuff that we need to cook for our dinner and breakfast the next day. We tried some bibingka sold on a sidewalk stall. I bought me some new socks because I forgot to bring me some. I think I forgot we were going to stay in Tagaytay at night.

Forth Stop: Casa de Carlo, Tagaytay. We finally arrived where will be spending the evening. It is a cozy place with a touch of Spanish culture.

Fifth Stop: Starbucks, Tagaytay. We really supposed to head on to Picnic Groove Tagaytay, but I guess we arrived a little too late. The picnic grounds are already closed. So we went and had coffee at Starbucks instead. The cold wind was blowing hard and we only lasted for 30 minutes because we couldn’t stand it anymore.

Last stop: Back at Casa de Carlo. Pasta for dinner, the Bar for the boys and I, I get to sleep early.

Friday, December 04, 2009

And so i am off to my trip

And so I finally decided I would go with the IDC team to Manila for the year end team building / Christmas party. That is how they call it. I, on the other hand, call it, the Luzon road trip.
So why did I decided to go? Well, first, the 13th month pay is due tomorrow. That means I will have some extra cash to spend for the trip and buy some things for the trip as well. It is also pretty boring if I will be the one left at the office while the rest of the team is out on their adventure. I obviously didn’t want to be left out.
So what should look forward to tomorrows Luzon trip? I guess the trek to the crater of Taal volcano. I have never been to crater of Taal Volcano. The closest I got was as close to how visitors get to be every time they drop by and take photos of the Taal Volcano in Tagaytay. In short, an island away.
So, I am off the internet is next few hours to get me some sleep and some rest. That is because I will still have to work half of my shift

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

to go or not to

5 days from now I am bound for manila for the IDC Team building / Xmas party activity. Not that I don’t want to go, it is just that I am a bit short of budget. I have this big project that I am currently putting nearly all my savings into. It is big enough that I really do not have the luxury to spend 4000 php on a Christmas party. In reality, I can. But, I will have to be on a strict financial diet.
At the back of my head, I really want to go. I mean who would not want to, right? The itinerary that the Manila team prepared for us sounds really fun and interesting. We are scheduled for a visit at the Ocean Park in Manila. Right after Ocean Park, we will go straight to Tagaytay and stay at Casa de Carlo. There we will cook our own dinner and spend the night exchanging gifts. The next we are bound to go trekking. Ride a pump boat and conquer Taal Volcano. After the trek we are scheduled to have lunch at Leslies’ Restaurant where we have an overlooking view of the Taal Lake. After lunch, we are scheduled to go to Laguna and straight to Enchanted Kingdom. After Enchanted Kingdom, we will go straight to Pansol where we reserved 3 rooms in a resort with hot spring. The next day which is our last, we are scheduled to go Roam around the Metro Manila and go wherever we want to go.
Now if this trip is not worth the 4000 php budget, then I guess I’m such a loser.