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Photo: the full moon

The full moon on a sunset plane ride. The Philippines, July 21, 2016.

 When one looks really hard, and is patient enough, one sees colors and light in the way one wants to see it.

I took this photo while in the plane to a city a couple of hours away from where I live in order to attend the conference. Traveling alone, I was able to enjoy my precious few hours of silence and not being bothered by anyone for conversation. (I love my solitude when I want it.)

What I love about this picture is the ethereal quality of the vivid pinkish hues in the sky, in stark contrast to the dark blues and blacks of the ground and the sea below, punctuated by a silvery white full coin of a moon.

Ah, but it was love!

~ S.


On Writing (and paper and pens)

It is a combination of all the elements of writing; passion, paper and pen...that gets the juices flowing. :-)

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The Ladies in White

The white house near the Bian Yek in Dumaguete has always held a mysterious air.

When I was in grade school, someone told me that there were “White Ladies” who lived there, and that they were really old and frail.

I remember one time late one after whilst riding a pedicab, and looking up, I saw them, three ladies sitting out in the terrace… The deep set eyes looked menacing to me, the bones of their face were so high and prominent and they made their features appear hook-like and menacing, and their hair was white and buffeted by the breeze.All this made them look more menacing… Than they should have been. And although I mustered up the courage to stare, I couldn’t…and I had to turn away and avert my eyes.

(I did that every time I passed that place…which was almost every day.)

Nowadays, I’m not sure if it is occupied by anyone, but the childhood memory of the elderly ladies and an overactive imagination had me pegging those elderly ladies unfairly as scary beings, when in fact they were just elderly women being cared for by their caregivers.

The rains have come

August 21, 2016.

It’s been raining all over the Philippines these past few weeks, but my hometown has only had its share (and it has been quote continuous). It let up a few hours ago, so I was able to test my new GoPro Hero 4 (Silver) outside.

I had won it in a raffle, and although my first reaction was one of…calm, because I had my biases against it. You see, most of the people I know who’ve used it, use it for selfies, or for group shots… I’ve never really seen people use it for anything else. Also, it didn’t have a lot of information with regards to my favorite genre of Street Photography.

However, because things happen to me for a reason, I decided to shut my mouth (effectively) and try to explore what it could offer. I’m definitely glad I did.

The GoPro Hero 4 Silver is one powerful little camera stored in a hard, almost indestructible case (ok, I exaggerate, but there is a reason why people use it for underwater shots and extreme sports…it IS that durable.)

I know that most people would mount it on a monopod (or selfie stick. :-)) and take pictures with it while viewing photos on their phone. I didn’t want to do that, of course. It just wasn’t…ergonomic for me.

Boy and Girl on the motorcycle. August 2016.

What I did instead was to take it out of its kit mount and put a cord through the remaining holes and put it around my neck. I did that because it made it much easier for me to keep my hands free and to “shoot from the hip”. 🙂

The pictures on this post are some examples. I’m not all that good yet, but I think that the GoPro’s compact size, powerful capabilities and adaptable settings give it a considerable edge for a photographer, when it comes to those shots were you have to do some quick thinking and carpe diem. 🙂

(Also, I shot using the 7MP medium format. It lessened lens distortions and allowed me to tweak considerably during post-processing.)

Middle-aged couple holding hands.



  Sunset after Mass. August 2016. 




One of my pastimes is to observe people (and observe life, in that same breath).

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Cupid wants his arrow back

When I listen to a  song with this cadence, there is a tendency for me to just sit still and stare off into space.

“Lost Stars” is such,and  it  happens to be one of my favorite tracks on the movie, Begin Again. I watched this movie, with a former significant other a year (or two) ago, and I wanted to watch it because of the low-key setting, the simple story line, and the music. Mostly for the music…it was what drew me to watch it in another city.

It starred Keira Knightley, Adam Levine (already a big pop star) and Mark Ruffalo (fresh from his Hulk stint). It was a love story, yes, about how people change and how you eventually have to be true to yourself in the end.

It was a very creative endeavor, and they made music that was unconventional. They made use of great songwriting, acoustic elements, and recorded around New York City. It was my kind of music-making and artistic expression.

In the movie, Keira’s character wrote this song,  Lost Stars as a gift to her boyfriend. She sang it quietly, as a ballad. It was vulnerable and very honest. He took it, but he made it into something that “the audiences loved” and reveled in the way they lost themselves when he used his falsetto.

It was actually the turning point, and the end of what she had always thought. He had promised her that he would perform it as it was meant to be performed in that tender, gentle tone. However, at the end, he forgot himself…and changed it for other people. After that, she was able to finally say goodbye.

I listened to this while I was riding in a public vehicle. This is always best for me, thinking amidst the chaos, being able to detach just so. In that state of semi-detachment, I am able to discern and think about the things that have happened to me recently. In this state, I am neither angry, nor sad, nor frustrated.

I am merely listening to the story, and making it my own.



Photo: At the furniture store

Black and White Mirror Icicles. Dumaguete, August 2016.

Crystals on chandeliers have always fascinated me. The way the light bounces and reflects off these solid crystal teardrops are mesmerizing.

Living forever


“Letters to A Young Poet”,  is a collection of ten letters written by Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) to Franz Xaver Kappus(1883–1966), a 19-year-old officer cadet at the Theresian Military Academy in Germany.

It is one of my favorite books. I have read it many times through and it has always been timely. Although it was written in 1929, almost a century ago, the lessons and musings gleaned from its pages remain  relevant…

Relevant, to a young woman who has just finished a very long career as a student…or a young woman who was on the brink of a new and scary life adventure…or a woman who wanted to forge out a career for herself. Most especially so for a young woman who had recently had her heart broken (but not quite), and was searching for a stable hold with which to weather out the emotional storm.

(All of these young women, are myself, at certain stages in my life.)

I did not come by reading Rilke by accident. No, it was more different story than that. At the time, I was with a young man, not much younger than myself, who I believe, loved words…

I loved stories, and I coaxed him shyly to tell me one, and on cue, this was the book that was nearest to him. In a voice that soothed my soul, he read to me the first chapter of the book.

It was a letter that talked about why one must write…a topic that was very dear to my heart…

“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

He might not have known it then, but my whole being was absorbed in that moment. That one time when he spoke, his words…Rilke’s words, touched me, and touched my heart. It was an unintentional caress, a balm for my soul. And in that moment, I knew that he, the boy,  would live forever…in my writing, my heart. #




Bottle Boy and Girl Friend out for an afternoon stroll, Date unrecalled.

I was out by the sea one afternoon some time ago, and I saw this pair playing among the mangrove saplings. They were the only two kids there, so I followed them around, trying to see what they would do, while taking pictures of the area.

He held a bottle of beer, the contents of which we joked were probably milk or some other child’s beverage.We couldn’t help but chuckle because the brand of beer he had with him was a popular one, known to have a good “Kick”. Children in action always fascinate me, and this picture was just one of the many that I have taken of children in action over the years. 

These two could be siblings, or playmates, and  they look roughly the same age. Playtime at the beach edge was probably a daily activity for these kids. These two probably don’t get to play with their gadgets and devices all that often, but instead go out and have their own kind of outdoor fun. He, barefoot and cheeky, was looking at something on her back (or at her in fascination/amusement), while she, was nonchalantly walking. 

I, for one, would like to know what both of them were really thinking, and that would have made for a nice little story about kids. In the meantime, this is a photo of a simple life, on a simple beach, one beautiful afternoon. 🙂

Photo: Vintage Cameras


Leaving. March 2012.

Is film photography dead?

I’m sure it is very much alive…just not here, where I’m from.

These photos were taken a few years ago, while I was still living in Manila. I had been told that in my hometown, they still had those machines that printed from film negatives.

Ironically, they closed down a year before I got back, and the only ones in our area was in a photography shop in Colon area in Cebu.

(Currently looking at places online…will update soonest!)