Boracay After The Rehabilitation!


When Rodrigo Duterte became the President of the Philippines, one of his plans was to rehabilitate Boracay. The last time we were in Boracay was 2015, it was like a city crammed on an island. It was congested with up to 5 story concrete buildings, vendors along the beach line, city waste leaking (more like dumping) at the sea, in short, it was no longer an island paradise. So they closed Boracay for 6 months from April 6 – October 26, 2018. There were some businesses closed, no more beach parties, no more vendors along the beach front. Fast forward today – May 25, 2019, after roughly 7 months Boracay was reopened to the public, we’re here again…

So what’s the obvious change after the rehab?

1. Lesser people coming in. Though there are still a lot of folks but not crazy many like a zombie apocalypse about to burst the fence gate. There were not that many people riding the boat.

2. Efficient and fast boarding. We just had to confirm our hotel booking at the Caticlan port entrance then pay one time for the boat fare with environmental fees, terminal fees, etc., then off to board the boat. It was fast too like less than 15 minutes and we were already on the boat. Before it’ll take an hour or more just to go through.

3. Lesser westerners. Westerners used to be more visible even in the back alleys and streets because they hold the bigger chunk of the tourist population right after the local tourists but now, there are more Asian tourists like the Chinese and Koreans. Maybe in a few years, they’ll be back more in numbers again. Either way, it is good for the island economy.

4. No more street vendors. The beachfront used to be filled with lots of vendors of all variety apart from the massage areas along the beach and bands but now, they’re mostly gone because it is no longer allowed.

5. No more beach parties. Yep, parties are no longer allowed along the beach but there are still bars that hold rave parties. As long as they don’t spill beyond and is within their property, it’s all good.

6. Demolished buildings. Yep, we saw some buildings that were considered encroaching the beachfront demolished.

7. Walkway, they did some road expansion but more for walkways.

8. More etrikes. Yep, those small passenger carriers powered by electricity only. Boracay is going green as it should be from the start.

Conclusion: It is way better now than our last two visits way back in 2015 and 2011. Though the beach is still crowded but not like ants swarming over a sweet cookie. Yes, there used to be so many people you can’t really see the beach. There is still so much work to be done but the benefits of the rehabilitation can truly be experienced for the benefit of the island and its people both local and foreigners.

p.s. The reason why we’re here is because of my wife’s best friend. They haven’t met in a decade and this is also my first time meeting Nic. Also our first time to meet his boyfriend Allan.

p.s.s. photos shot on my Huawei Nova 2i. Though I brought with me my Sony full frame mirrorless camera, my cellphone is more convenient for fast documentation and social media purposes while my mirrorless is more for fine art photography shots simply for a portfolio or Instagram purposes.

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Filed under Aklan, Beach, Boracay, Visayas

My 7 Point Scammer Red Flags in the Wedding Industry!


I am writing this in the light of the recent issue that has rocked the wedding industry again here in our little part of the country. This piece is to clarify or educate what a scammer really is from our experience.

Here’s the link from both parties…

From the client:

Now, this is my take…
Michael Ho is NOT a scammer.
1. He communicated,
2. He was there on the wedding day (doing the set-ups)
3. He delivered. 
Perhaps the client was not satisfied, I’m sure Michael has some shortcomings or probably some misunderstanding between their discussion with the client but the way I see it, he is not ripping off the client. He has a stellar record as much as I know. Yeah, he is not perfect but he’s not a bad apple either. In fact, he was one of the stylists we contacted for our wedding day (he probably doesn’t remember and we’re not even FB friends, at least, as of the moment) before the OTHER ONE swoon us over to our horror and dismay. Nope, Michael Ho is not a scammer.

Here’s what a scammer really do (in this kind of business or industry) or my rough 7 point scammer red flags in the wedding industry!

1. Cannot Be Reached Tooooooooot – Most of the time (if ever at all) they won’t answer your call after you make a downpayment.
2. Sorry, Pwede next time… many times over? – If ever they do answer, they will promise to meet you on a certain date which they will postpone later on again and again or they won’t show up at all on the said date, many times over.
3. No Signal Mamser – They won’t take the initiative to communicate with you or update you after your downpayment despite you trying to follow up anyway possible.
4. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore – Not even a “seenzone” on your FB chat. Text message? Better off singing “waiting in vain.” Sir nawala man gud akong fon…
5. No Care, Vacay Here – They won’t care even if your crying pebbles and marbles because your wedding day is already two weeks or days away. You wonder if they will show up at all and still there is no communication of any assurance at all. (di man gani mo tubag sa imong mga calls or private messages plus indianon pa ka sa meeting date)
6. What Refund? – Most people or suppliers do have the decency to refund your money, half or full (depending on the contract clause how much is refundable) if ever there is some legit reason why (though it is still a hassle, at least you get some if not most of your money). But scammers are too calloused to think of returning anything. It doesn’t exist in their vocabulary. Refund sir? Choppy ka sir  *Mo puti nalang ang uwak!
7. Mercy or Mockery? – They usually won’t show up and if ever they do decide to do some decors, they will hire another team with a much lower rate and will only give a fraction of the budget you gave. The result is like paying a 50 million peso Ferarri but you end up getting a bicycle with broken brakes and busted spokes. You may think it’s mercy, I say it is a mockery (remember tong murag pertahan sa banyo ang gi butang pang bride entrance sa tunga sa field or area? Maypag ni disappear nalang tong scammer, kay naka kuha pa og lahi nga stylist ang client bahalag last minute for the wedding)
8. Milagro! (bonus) – Sometimes, scammers still do deliver and would even do their best to show that they are “legit” for a time being. So they can scam again and again till they are on a hot seat then lay low… act some family drama problems for sympathy and hope the world gets amnesiac then repeat 1,2,3. Mamser, para man gud kay mama…
Short Tipbackground check always!! If there’s a history of scamming, most likely history will repeat itself again.
The way I see and judge (estimate) is that Michael Ho is none of the 8 points I mentioned above.
 

Now for the client… she does have the right to be disappointed, she does have the right to rant at the top of her lungs or fingertips. However, labeling Michael Ho a scammer is a foul play and worthy to be refuted (corrected, fyi). At least for me, Michael does have a much better leverage or vantage point in legal matters if ever he chooses that path. I do hope they will resolve their issues asap before they destroy each others reputation and God forbid, their careers.

 

Again, we are not perfect, sometimes we fail to meet client’s satisfaction. Sometimes, we do forget the details, the dates, the names, etc., because of hectic schedules or whatever legit reason but once we are reminded, we do try our best to make it up.
Again, Michael Ho may have committed some mistakes and he may have failed to satisfy his client’s vision but he did show up and worked the best of his and his team’s ability to deliver as close as possible. Sadly it was not on par with his client’s expectation but the reality is, he is not a scammer.
Scammers won’t even bother giving their best unless they want to look legit again so they can scam some more in this fragile industry of ours. Fragile because it only takes one wrongful label that may affect your reputation as an honest wedding supplier.
To our future clients… 
If there is some dissatisfaction, you can rant all you want if it is a rant worthy service but please exercise constraint and avoid labeling because what if, you are wrong or what if it was simply a petty mistake that’s blown out of proportion? I don’t think you would spend time telling the 500 or 1000 FB friends and “friends of friends” that you were wrong in your labeling.
But… if you are sure that it is a scammer, then I can’t blame you for exposing. Scammers do need to be exposed to protect future clients from the heartbreaks and unwanted stress that may cause health problems.
May we help those who are legit, expose those who are notorious and educate those who don’t know.
God bless to all.

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Filed under weddings

2017 The Year I Became A Professional Photographer


So this was the year that I officially became a professional. My move from hobbyist to professional photography means I have to improve drastically in my photoshoots. Shots that are worth paying for. It’s no easy move. I actually started right after I got married and my first photo gig was a Christmas family portrait shoot in partner with a good friend and set stylist.

I also created my photography Facebook page The Studio with the help of a good friend TheYangOne even way before my wedding but it was just last year of December that I got it rolling as you can see the date stamps in our Instagram post.

Well, my shooting, editing and color grading seemed to have transformed in just a couple of months. I had to evolve fast because I am truly a late bloomer in this area. Thanks to my wife who is a stern critic, I had to really improve and she was the reason why I got serious about photography. So she won’t have to complain about bad photos in our travels while her photos of me is always good.

This was my first ever prenup session as a photographer and not as a videographer (yep I am also a videographer but that’s for another post).

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#husbandandwife #esession #thestudioign

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Then on May 2017, I got my first gig in a long time as a 3rd shooter (backup photographer – my true first was way back 2014) for a wedding.

I had two wedding gigs as a backup shooter in one week all of a sudden and it was my first time to use a manual lens from Ashley Abayan from Ashley Abayan Photography. A Samyang 35mm 1.4 and a Samyang 85mm 1.4.

It was love at first try with manual lens using live view with my old cropped sensor Canon 60D. Oh and we became close and good friends with Ashley. Thanks also to my former team mate from Stellar Films Tan Suezo from Tan Suezo Films for hooking me up with Ashley and selling me his Sigma 50mm 1.4 prime lens.

Then the Uncomplicate 4 Workshop by Toto Villaruel and Marlon Capuyan happened which I actually heard first from my wife. So I registered and it wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny. It changed the way I think about the business of photography as much as my eye for composition, details and color grading drastically improved just by observing photos from my shutterbugmates.

Here’s a few samples of my shots from the workshop…

Here are the rest of my photo set from Uncomplicate 4:

Prenup Concept

Wedding Concept

After we went back from Mactan, Cebu, I was literally like a man given a new pair of eyesight at the ripe age of 37. Most photographers started young, I started rather later but not too late. Anyone can learn at any age as long as they can see well and willing to learn.

You can see the obvious evolution of my shots in my Instagram.

For the sake of content, I shall continue with my story…

Then I got my first ever wedding client last July thanks to Theyangone. This time I was no longer the backup, I was now the main photographer.

Here’s a couple of my shots from that wedding.

Here are the rest of my photo set for John and Bea click here

Here are a few samples of shots along the way since then…

Tibz and Abbie was my 2nd wedding client. Here’s their photo set: click here

From my gigs as 2nd shooter for Ashley:

to fun shoots and travels…

Along the way I also got other gigs like birthdays, fun run, anniversaries, baby portraits, etc… which I posted in my The Studio page and The Studio Instagram

Then finally I got myself a full frame camera. Though the camera is actually 12 years old (the first ever digital full frame dslr) but it can still take beautiful photos better than any current crop sensor cameras as of late. Yes, the Canon 5D or dubbed as the 5D Classic has basic features and can’t take videos unlike current crop sensor cameras that can take 4k videos and 120p full hd, somehow 5D sensor as this youtuber said has a magical film look feel output.

Here’s my Canon 5D shots:

 

Here are two photo sets of my 5D classica shots:

Kodak Happy Chicky

Mating&Enzo

Pinch Iligan

My hands are actually itching to test my 5D on a prenup and wedding gig.

So there you go. Thank you and will keep you posted about my journey from photo blogging to wedding photography.

God bless ya all!

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Filed under Cebu, Photography, photoshoot, Visayas, weddings

Married In A Cafe!


Hello WordPress Readers and Followers,

I know I’ve been on hiatus for almost 10 months again. Just wanted to update you if ever some of you were wondering…

After more than 5 years into a relationship with my girlfriend Leia, we finally tied the knot last December 03, 2016. It was a small intimate wedding with under 30 guests including us and our wedding suppliers. For a Filipino wedding, that is close to sacrilege. Our planning actually started last summer. We also decided to get married not in our hometown but in a nearby city (Cagayan De Oro) instead.

What we had in mind was just an intimate but a really good looking wedding as much as possible with great food despite the limited budget. My wife Leia already had a detailed vision in her head how the wedding would look like. My wife is really creative and gifted in piecing together things, colours, flowers, decors, etc. She really has the eye for it despite her rather self depreciating assessment of her talents but when she presents her ideas, she is confidently ironclad.

Our first choice for venue was actually a beautiful small place with an amazing array of cakes that both looked amazing and tasted heaven. The place just happened to be too small for 20 people. Yes, 20 heads can fit but it feels to tight for freedom of movement.

Then a month or so later we heard there was a new place in the city and when we checked it out, we fell in love with the place. It was a small cafe and restaurant but that can comfortably accommodate 50 people. Aside from the aesthetically elegant interior with a hint of Parisian atmosphere, they also have great food and pastries!

Leia finally started rolling like a machine after we booked the venue. She was her own wedding planner, concept stylist and makeup artist. She even searched from the internet down to every nook and cranny.

The wedding preparation just like any other wedding preparation was riddled with stress which is normal. Yes, there were challenges and we even got scammed by a certain wedding stylist that was suppose to help execute my wife’s ideas but that is reserved for another blog post.

So to make this post as short as possible, despite the bumps and bruises we’ve finally got married last December 03, 2016. I guess we were the first couple at least here in Northern Mindanao (perhaps the whole Philippines?) to have a wedding in a cafe.

We were blessed to have amazing wedding suppliers especially our photographer Jasper Cuizon who single-handedly immortalized our simple intimate wedding.

Here’s a screencapture of our wedding that got featured in Bride & Breakfast (at least I got to upload only one image)….

Rustic Intimate Cafe Wedding - Philippines Wedding Blog

 

 

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Filed under Cagayan De Oro, weddings

Wish You Were Here – in Iligan City


Address: Circumferential Rd 3, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte
Hours:

Open today · 3PM–12AM
p.s. They have a new branch within the city at the former cinema theatre Plaza Cinema (just above FK Mart) – Address: Aguinaldo Ext, Iligan City
I will be posting Instagram photos on their city branch sometime.

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Filed under food, Iligan City

Simple Joys in CDO


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#greenteagelato #gelato #simplejoyscdo #canon50mm #ayosaoicdo #5thyear

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#ubefrappe #ube #simplejoyscdo #canon50mm #ayosaoicdo #5thyear

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#simplejoyscdo #tokina1116 #cropped #ayosaoicdo #5thyear

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Additional Info:

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Filed under Cagayan De Oro, food

The Blood Moon


Looks more like orange to me. Taken on my 4 plus year old little handy Nikon S9100 digital camera with 18x zoom lens equivalent to 25-450mm in a 35mm format. The camera was mounted on a gorillapod.

DSCN8479DSCN8480DSCN8482DSCN8483DSCN8484

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