Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BALUARTE TI VIGAN (April 20, 2009)

Actually, it was the Photo Mentor Series 8 of the Society of Portrait Photographers of the Philippines (SPPP) headed by president Boy Samson, vice president Ariel Samaniego, secretary Andy Samaniego, treasurer Gari Lim, adviser Ibarra Deri, among others.
But, since it was hosted by Hon. Luis “Chavit” Singson and set in his 173-acre fortress -- Baluarte Zoological Park -- it turned out into a Photo Safari!
For us, non-members, it was more than that. It was cameraderie!
Two Partas busloads, 49-seater each, of nature trippers trooped to Vigan, Ilocos Sur last April 3 through Sta. Maria where we discovered its more than 200-year old church, both a World Heritage and a National Landmark, with a convent and a cemetery via a break-of-dawn photoshoot with three Ilocana fashionistas in abel gowns designed by Dita Sandico Ong. After breakfast, we rushed with our panganay -- Dinah Psalma Sigla -- to the tiger, deer, reptile, butterfly, ostrich and other bird exhibits. Animal rides were ever-available though we preferred to hop into the first two lectures on wedding photography by PRO/auditor Leah Taas and Orly Mercado. Make-up artists Marissa Buenaventura and Jeng Flores turned a mild-mannered Jasmine Tecson into a wild child with other models after a short intro on avant-gardism by Daisy Lu “Dail” Deri.
Her dad, Ibarra Deri, showed us the way he handled himself and his clients, mostly political and corporate bigwigs. From his magic tricks and talks, we gathered that it was he who was asked to form a group of portraitist -- after Photo World Manila 1996 -- with Toch Arellano, Maricris Cabaniag, Vic Sison, Serville Tan, to name a few. Ever since, SPPP never looked back, training old and new members alike, hiding no trade secrets. Constant communication led to the creation of i-mag, that began in 2006 with initial 5,000 copies and P200 price, only to emerge after three years as Philippines' No.1 magazine on the art and craft on photography. It was its publisher, Neil Garcia, who gambled on putting up a proof to their foreign counterparts that we, Filipinos, are quite world-class, like the Tanduay rhum overflowing on a regular basis with Sidhi's accoustic music and Randy Buenaventura's fire dance for two nights until the wee hours of the following mornings!
Palm Sunday saw us – after the Dail's Child Photography session with Ma. Catherine Joy Racho, Jericko Jireh Racho, Helaina Sales, and Maian San Andres -- along Calle Crisologo and among souvenir items while photographers and models showed their reasons for being, until sunset shared with nightfall its remaining available light in time for the belfry to announce the much-awaited procession, all glowing and glittery, yet nobody could escape the dark developing and enveloping even the happiest of hearts, in and out of the century-old cathedral! Our last supper was enough to keep us awake for i-mag managing editor and concurrent art director Ed Yap. He was followed by fellow Manila Bulletin columnist, Mariano “Jun” Miranda, who shared the stuff that made him the first Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop and Lightroom in Asia. We survived the night just because Pam Tan did, away from her Hotel Salcedo suite, after posing for hours amidst ancestral homes and antiques beating the Nueva Segovia heat and proving afterwards why Nikon is the answer!
Without question, Sinait Beach Resort asserted its beauty with Jack Castor, Marjorie Fajardo, Abi Guevarra, Veronica McClintock, Dianne Mendoza, and Jen Piolo competing in their swimwears under that Holy Monday sun!
Whew, our hosts did not cease to see us off, after that halfday shoot-and-run routine, slowly but surely hinting -- with or without raffle prizes (from the material like Mac notebook carrying cases to the spiritual as Power Stone) -- the hidden meaning of spending our Holy Week in the Heritage Capital of the Philippines.
Bitten by the camera bug and all, we could barely sleep on the bus and beyond. Honestly, our heads could not help but transfer files upon files from our memory to our own – not necessarily hypoallergenic or antimicrobial – pillows, always soft at home.
PEDRO: I want to become a nurse to help other people.
ERNING: I want to become a doctor to help other people.
NENE: I want to become a mayor to help other people.
KIKO: I want to become a president to help other people.
LINO: I want to become a superhero to help other people.
JUAN: I want to become other people.CONSIDER THIS:

It is better to enjoy life committing mistakes and learn.
Rather than playing safe in your entire life and learned nothing.

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