Tuesday, November 26, 2013

slide photographs: Buen and Merv

Three years ago, I took some film photos for the Lopez Memorial Museum's Now/here, In Zero In: Extensions exhibit series. Our little group, Plataporma, did a series of exploratory projects for the show. The photos I took were for our "Mapping" project. I used slide film because the photos were to be projected onto a wall, and had the films processed at FotoFabrik in Quezon City. The exhibit photos are now the property of the museum (I regret not scanning them first), but I still have plenty left over that didn't quite make the cut. These mounted slides are mostly behind-the-scenes shots (haha) when the guys and I were resting after a whole day of walking around the metro.

These photos are of fellow Plataporma members Buen Calubayan and Mervin Espina. Mark Salvatus was away in Japan at the time.

Buen Calubayan
start of the journey: Craig Street, Manila

Mervin Espina and Buen Calubayan

Buen Calubayan
lunch at Glorietta (and a serious Buen)

Buen Calubayan and Mervin Espina

Buen Calubayan and Mervin Espina
walking from the Lopez Museum

Buen Calubayan and Mervin Espina

Buen Calubayan

 Buen Calubayan and Mervin Espina
chilling at the Shangri-la food court after a long day

Mervin Espina
Merv with my Nikon F80

yawning guy.

I used my Canonet QL17 GIII rangefinder camera and Fuji Sensia film. I remember hoping for the best every time I clicked the shutter, since I wouldn't have second chances with this project. One of the things that terrify me about using film is also one of the best things I like about it: when you see the (film) photos you have taken and see a shot that looks really, really nice, you get this sense of accomplishment that you were able to capture a moment with just one, well-exposed and perfectly-timed shot. I think it's a feeling you don't (usually?) have when shooting digital--with digital I think, oh that's a nice shot. It should be, right, because you're shooting digital? Oh well, don't listen to me, perhaps it's just the film prude in me talking. :P These shots of slides were all wonderfully taken using a digital camera, so I'm not really one to complain. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

a new (old) camera

When Tom sent me a message about giving me one of his father's cameras--a Voigtländer Prominent--I was ecstatic. I had first thought he was looking for someone to sell it, but I'm glad he cleared it up because I wouldn't know how to properly appraise something of that quality. I've never handled anything like it before. I mean, look:

Voigtländer Prominent in leather case

A stunning Fifties-era rangefinder camera in awesome condition. Online sources say it's the first rangefinder featuring a leaf shutter and interchangeable lenses. 

Voigtländer Prominent

Voigtländer Prominent

Voigtländer Prominent
Focusing is done by turning this knob. It takes some getting used to, especially when you're used to focusing using the lens.

Tom would like the camera to be in creative hands, and suggested it be used by our photo group. I thought it was a great idea, so as soon as I got it I posted a message on our group's Facebook wall. I'm happy to say we've got quite a queue lining up to use the camera next!

Halfway through my test roll the self-timer lever stuck (I think I did not push it far enough, so it didn't 'take'), so I took it to a trusted camera maintenance guy to have it repaired and make sure there won't be any more shutter problems while it's in use.

I used a Fuji Superia 100 to test the camera with. I've used it for testing another camera so the first shot's a double exposure. Here are a few shots from the test roll:

Voigtländer Prominent on bulb, 8 secs.
A rooftop birthday party. Voigtländer Prominent on bulb setting, 8 secs.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Laundry, hanging out to dry.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Metal candle holders.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
My cat Raki in the laundry basket. She also likes paper and canvas bags.
Also, see how sharp the images are? Gotta thank that Ultron lens!

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
I call this kitchen windowsill kitty "Ingay" but everyone else calls him (yes, him) "Regine"--after the female singer.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Indoor shot. Sunday breakfast. My niece spreading butter on her chocolate pancake.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Barnaby chilling with the laundry.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Batman and Ampon.

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Bilog II, looking at me disapprovingly: "Stop taking photos of my family!"

Voigtländer Prominent test shot
Following the Sunny 16 rule on one of our trees.

The Prominent doesn't have a built-in meter so I have to rely on my knowledge of exposure. This camera makes me want to practice more, as I have been using cameras with built-in meters to shoot with. I'm now on my second roll, and I'm going to take it out of the house for a change. After this roll the camera goes to another member of our group.

I really want to thank Tom for the camera. He made a lot of shutterbugs happy! 

Monday, November 11, 2013


Supertyphoon Haiyan, Yolanda in the Philippines, leaves me speechless. The trail of destruction, the loss of life, the damage to property, the lack of immediate help. Several local and international groups have stepped in to provide aid. I have read numerous reports, seen the shocking videos, watched heart-wrenching slideshows. I have seen comments of people around the world, from the hopeful and heartwarming, to the downright nasty and spiteful. I have been trying to work this weekend but I found I could not focus on my job; every now and then I would refresh my browser for new articles and updates, hoping against hope that it's not that bad, it's going to be alright, the death toll is not that high, people have been mobilized to restore order and provide relief, international aid will come. It doesn't feel right that I am here, safe and sound, and all I had been able to do was repost a few help lines and donate online.

My heart goes out to all those affected. I've learned that thoughts and prayers, though intangible, go a long way. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Manila Collectible Co.

Yesterday's Intramuros Pasyal Sunday along Gen. Luna Street in Intramuros was a welcome break from my daily grind, and provided me with a good motivation for this week, especially since I'll be leaving for Davao in a couple of days for the annual UGAT conference. Busy days ahead.

Intramuros Pasyal Sunday

A short walk from the closed-down street is the Manila Collectible Co., a store selling indigenous and locally-made products. It is also an event venue; they invite IPs and cultural advocates to share facets of indigenous culture such as dance, song, and food.

The Manila Collectible Co.

The Manila Collectible Co.
T'nalak weave.

The Manila Collectible Co.

The Manila Collectible Co.
tiny baskets and quirky backscratchers

The Manila Collectible Co.
wines and teas

The Manila Collectible Co.
coffee, chocolate, brown sugar

The Manila Collectible Co.
my mom would really like it here.

The Manila Collectible Co.
It was really fun looking around. I've taken note of the stuff I'll buy when I come back. :)

The Manila Collectible Co.
mini furniture. great gift idea ;)

The Manila Collectible Co.

The Manila Collectible Co. is yet another reason to visit Intramuros. It's a good place to learn about indigenous culture and local products as well. TMCC is located at Cabildo corner Beaterio streets, just behind the Manila Cathedral. You'll get a visual treat when you climb up the rooftop area too. ;)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday blog post

I went to the university this morning to do some errands for the conference next week and it made me remember my grad student days, haha. So instead of the usual photos, I've decided to do something different for Throwback Thursday. I do some #tbt posts on Instagram and Facebook every now and then, but today it's going to be all about the written word: a post from an old blog.

The one I've pasted here is from my old 2005 blog a culture of nonsense, which lasted only for three months. After that blog, I moved to DeviantArt and then to this one, which was named barya lang po sa umaga before it was changed to a wee i.

In this post, I recounted what happened during an exam for my Physical Anthropology class. I was a freshman graduate student of Anthropology and was very eager to learn forensics. That class made me a big Bones fan! Anyway, here's the excerpt. :)

hope floats...and guess what else?

I have just suddenly realized that I am losing my ability to think creatively.

Picture this: a small flat, curved bone lies on a piece of Styrofoam in a pot full of water, concealed in a paper bag. “Identify this!” was written on the questionnaire. The answer is obvious. I write, RIB. Then came the follow-up question, for two points: “Why the ‘name’?” I stared at the paper stupidly. What could be so special about the rib’s name? Nothing came to mind. Goodbye two points.

I ended up losing three points on that part of the laboratory exam. The correct answer, folks, is that it’s a FLOATING RIB, so-called because it’s not attached to the vertebrae, unlike all the others. The rib is floating in a pot of water. Duh. I feel so stupid, and “uncreative”. Well, how should I know that the professor didn’t put that together so the others wouldn’t be able to peek? Anyway, some of the others got it; I think I would’ve gotten it correctly had I not been so damn…exact? Uptight? Dimwitted? Dense?

And perhaps I’ve also lost my knack for looking—in a deep sense—or searching for detail. I also wasn’t able to see that (in another question) the skeleton in front of me (“Charlie”) had two left legs—set-up by my professor, of course. Tsk. I’m slipping, slipping.

Oh, memories. I would like to think that I've regained some measure of creativity and attention to detail now. I would probably suck at lining up the vertebrae in the correct order, though. :P

Friday, October 11, 2013

planes and rains

I meant to put this up last night on my Weebly blog the daily mews, but the power went down due to the rainstorm and as you know, when this happens, gadgets become more vulnerable, and we humans tend to treat them with more value because energy has become a limited resource. No power also means the WiFi device we had wasn't going to provide us with Internet connection anytime soon, so there. Anyway, enough blah, here's what I was up to yesterday.

My workmates and I attended an event with a bunch of people who, like us, make their living running websites and digital marketing campaigns. The organizers invited a handful of people to discuss stuff about Google Analytics, one of the tools we use to tell us what's happening with a website and help us decide what to do next to improve it to make a campaign successful.

The afternoon talk was held at a small cafe+bar at the penthouse of a condominium building along C5 road. It's along the flight path of most planes coming from the east, and every now and then we would hear a plane pass by, prepping for landing. I have a fascination for planes and being somewhere very, very high, so saying I was thrilled is putting it rather mildly. When it was time to take a break I made a beeline for the balcony.

The city with its slums and skyscrapers. It makes one think.

A couple of hours after I took these photos, the rain came. We were finishing up with questions for the last speaker when the lights flickered, went back on for two seconds, then died for good. My first thought was how funny the situation was, being in a tech-centered environment with Internet geeks and we had no power.

The major collective concern was this: "How are we going to get out of here?" We were at the top floor of the building, and no electricity meant no elevator, which meant we would have to take the stairs down 23 flights, run through the rain to the car, and make our way home. That was fine with me; I needed to work out this week anyway. Heck, we all needed the exercise.

Then came news: the elevator was working! People started filing out.

We ended up making a U-turn to one of the nearby commercial hubs to have dinner and coffee. Forcing our way through traffic would be a stupid move, and besides, a bowl of hot ramen sounded way better than being stuck on the road. I got home half an hour after midnight.

So that was my Thursday. How was yours?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Here's a writer--or at least someone who attempts to make a living by writing--who can't even manage to write in any of her blogs.


Things have been pretty busy lately, and with the annual conference of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines coming up, I'm sure I won't even have time to THINK about writing here. It's going to be my last year being the organization's secretary and conference organizer; for the past year I hadn't been able to focus on my duties anyway. Plus I'm a grad school dropout, and also the most anthropology I've done lately is watching strangers in a jeepney and trying to figure out their life story.

Anyway, in a couple of days I'll be off to an event that will surely test and improve my knowledge on something I didn't really care much about before. I guess making the Internet the source of your income makes you want to understand everything there is to know about it. True, cyber/virtual anthropology was one of the topics I considered for serious study, but this--digital marketing and analytics and social media and everything in between--I didn't think I would ever consider to be a major part of my life, but there you go. It's exciting in a way, and a good challenge that keeps me on my toes.

Oh, and I promise to write a little bit each day for my "daily" blog, the daily mews. Yes, that is what I called it, perhaps because I really wanted to push myself to write a few words about my personal life whatever I can come up with on a daily basis. Ha. Let's see if I can convince myself to do just that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On Film: My adorable family in Corregidor

We were glad for the good weather last month when we booked a trip to Corregidor Island. My family are history buffs, turning into complete tourists whenever we go someplace new. It's not my first time on The Rock but it's a place I've always wanted to return to, so when one of the promo sites offered a discounted tour of the island, I immediately called for a family meeting made everyone agree to a date. And so we went on the 14th of July. I took my Nikon F80 SLR along and two rolls of Kodak Ultima 100 film. I was really glad the sun was out that day!