So I had the opportunity to capture photos as we were driving through the narrow street of Luzon Avenue. I’ve always wanted to take photos, and it just so happened that I brought my camera as we were passing by.
Mama’s “classroom” where she teaches the farmers about organic framing and where she discusses the weekly agenda.
As soon as we came down from the car, these kids (followed by these dogs) came to us. They’re actually sons of the head farmer, and they’re very warm and playful.
It’s a dog eating a coconut!
Fresh chilli peppers
They saw this piece of plywood on the floor (used to close off the gate), and proceeded to play with it as if it were a gun
A farmer intently planting the papayas one by one.
When he was tired from running, he sat on the plywood and did this.
They were harvesting coconut. My mom bought them a harness, but they prefer climbing.
Throwing the coconuts towards the ground
Climbing towards the coconuts!
Instantly as the first buko stash arrived, our Kuya opened one with machete.
Climbing down the tree.
So I’m taking this online class on photography. Lesson 3 was about conceptualizing photos. Our assignment was to photograph a person older than us. We had to research about them, and even look for baby pictures of them if they had it. I chose two subjects whom I thought had a lot to say. They were very comfortable around me, and I was very comfortable around them.
Ate Nhorie has been with us for 24 years. She came to help my mom 4 days before she gave birth to us. When I was young, I remember she would secretly finish my food when I couldn’t (when my Dad didn’t let me leave until I’ve finished), or secretly tell me the time when my Dad tested me. She would wipe the tears from my eyes when I cried, and whenever she would leave for Bicol, I would chase after her and she’d have to tell me that she was just buying medicine. Every September 28, she would bet on her lotto cards based on how old me and my twin sister were.
She is also very strict on us. Always telling us to go down to eat early, to keep our closets neat, and to make sure we don’t leave anything behind when we leave. She is family to me. She’s still with us, and she still sends her money back to her family in Bicol.
When I was taking photos of her, she laughed because she said “Nakita ko dimple mo kasi, ang lalim. Ang cute.” I laughed. And reminisced to afternoons when I was a kid, and it was just me and her and my twin sister, we would spend it in the garden, or walking around the village, and I instantly felt nostalgia.
Love you, Ate Nhors.
Roy De Guzman
If you’re my friend on facebook, you may have seen this face before. This is my uncle. He lives with us. When he was a baby, he got a high fever that caused the stunting of his learning capabilities. Growing up, I remember him visiting us in our old house. He was always smiling, and he loved it when we played jokes on him. He never forgets birthdays also, and always greets us.
He loves watching TV, and telling stories. In these photos, he told me the story of his special olympics medals (for swimming). He also likes keeping mementos. The frames behind him are from years ago. One is a family portrait from when they were kids, the other is a picture of him in a studio, and another is a framed cross stitch piece that says “home is where the heart is”
Now that he’s living with us, and now that I’m an adult, I felt like my relationship with him got a little more complicated. See, it’s quite frustrating when he does things that he has been told not to do repeatedly. It’s small things like scraping off stickers, or disassembling door knobs. Sometimes it takes a toll on me, and I get mad at him. But at the end of the day, I know he has a good, caring heart. We often say that if he didn’t have his condition, he would be a politician, because of how easily could make friends with anyone.
Also love you, Tito Roy
It’s been a year since we moved into this house. Can you believe??
I had a little bit of free time one afternoon, so I wanted to capture the coziness and peace of sunlit afternoons at home.
Bonus! I also made an afternoon playlist you could listen to while reading this post:
Ate Mercy by the Kitchen Window
I’ve always been fascinated by this screen window because it’s exactly where the sun hits in the afternoons. I was also inspired by Ansel Adams’ photo of a man behind a screen door.
I captured this scene because I was fascinated by the mess of the folded linens and pillow covers, against the structured line of clothing outside. Aptly framed by a small rectangular window.
Max and Mo looking for treats
I let our dogs out to play, and immediately, they went to sniff for food.
Ate Nhorie was just telling a story about how when we were young, we would always roll the glutinous rice balls for our Ginataan.
Bananas from Organika Farms (@organikafarms)
Max found treats!
These dogs eat just about anything! (even grass sometimes). They are very much motivated by food.
Mo sneakily entering the kitchen
Ate Nhors ironing clothes
Relaxing in the Afternoon
I’ve been into photography for quite sometime now. And to be honest, sometimes I love it. Sometimes, inspiration just comes to me and it’s flowers and daisies and really pretty butterflies blah blah blah, but on normal days, I find it so hard to convince myself that I am an artist/photographer. I’ve always had this internal conflict, and I find that writing (or typing) it down helps me process this and makes me feel renewed.
So as I’m thinking about this, the question that comes to mind is, why do I feel this way? Is it because I don’t put out enough work? Is it because I keep comparing myself to others? Is it because I’m afraid that if I don’t succeed now, I might just die trying and end up dying without purpose or meaning (wow, that escalated quickly…) but, yes, I feel like I feel a little bit of that everyday. And it definitely draws from the fact that I am still drawing validation externally. Not from myself.
You can say that SOMETIMES it is healthy to have these thoughts, for you to keep going and improving your work. But, come to think of it, when is it ever healthy to put yourself down? And for the sake of what? To be liked? To be validated? I don’t think so. Maybe I just keep forgetting to remind myself that I am not my work. Yes, I love taking photos, yes this is a personal experience for me, but, ultimately, the work that I put out, and I, as a human being, are two separate entities. And when people reject my work, it is not a direct rejection on ME. (more of like a big chunk of me hahaha), but still.
Yes, the work that I release is a reflection of how I feel, or who I am, but in the end of the day, the most important this is that I made that. I am proud that this body of work came from my brain!! And if it’s not good enough for others, well, I am still proud of myself for putting it out there.
Hmm…I’m now thinking that I don’t make a lot of sense haha.
Thank you for letting me ramble.
We’ve been to Shanghai before (Maybe about 7-8 years ago?) , but I didn’t remember it the way I saw it now.
Well first off, they now have Disneyland, which of course, we HAD to go to. It’s like entering into a realm of cotton-candy colored buildings and dream castles (leaving behind bland old normal reality behind). It was raining though, but it was 110% still all magic.
Also, we went to Zhouzhuang Water Town, which was so captivating, I had to make a separate post for it. You can go to the post here!
Aside from all the new places that we we went to, we also re-visited places we’ve been to like Xin Tian Di and places in the city proper. I loved the noise, the market, the city, it all felt a little bit familiar. I loved taking photos of local there. They are so genuine and diverse.
We were walking along the Bund, when it rained! We were under a big big building, so we stayed there for a while to let it pass. This gave me the opportunity to observe the people walking with their umbrellas, taking photos, and talking on their phones.
We also went to this place that used to be a Slaughterhouse, but now they developed it to be a place for studios and galleries.
We also went to this market (I forgot what it was called huhu), where I was really excited to take street photos!
I’m pretty sure there’s more than that but I was too busy having fun with my family! ❤
Okay, disclaimer: I have posted these photos before on my facebook page and on my instagram, so if you’re not really one for in depth narratives on the reasoning and thoughts that go behind a picture, you can skip this post.
But, if you wanna see what was going on in my mind while I took these photos, come on down and journey with me.
Zhouzhuang is actually part of our Shanghai Trip (which I will be posting in separate parts). This one was my favorite because entering this place was like walking through a time machine. From the busy, fast pace city of Shanghai, we then went to see a place kept together by tradition, and the delicate hands of time.
Before you see the photos, I wanted to let you know that I used both B&W film and a digital SLR to shoot these, so the colors might be a little inconsistent.
We were actually lost for a while. We were dropped of in what seemed like block full of desolate and abandoned buildings and old restaurants. There was a quiet home-y charm that surrounded this city proper. (Take note: This is not the Water Town yet. It was a looooong way from there.)
I saw this lady observing us. Maybe because we were a big group of tourists who had no idea where we were. She had a knowing smirk on her face. I also like how she was framed by the doors of her shop, and the two big lanterns above her. (And let’s be honest, I like taking pictures of people being framed by doors. Hmm, maybe I should turn that into a series? What do you think?)
Right after I took a photo of the lady above, I saw this man carrying his bags with a stick. I wanted to capture this man with the pagoda of Zhouhzhuang behind him. It was an incredibly long walk, and it seemed like he was going where we were going because the whole time we were walking, he was on the other side of the street quietly walking and carrying his bags. He didn’t even stop for a break.
I took this photo of these three ladies because they seemed like great friends. I also really like their bandanas.
It was a quiet little town (still not the water town, btw), the people in this town seemed settled and happy.
These two ladies were chatting and looking at my siblings (in front of our “line”. I have many siblings). I took their photo before they could see me.
We crossed a bridge, and it was really quiet. Just a few people walking around. Not too many cars. Mostly motorcycles and bikes.
Some would have carriages drawn by their bikes and bring tourists around via their bike. I took a photo of this man while he was pushing his way through the bridge. I wanted to frame him against an out of focus pole, to give a sense of distance. As much as possible, I don’t like disrupting people to take photos.
These men were fixing something inside this building. I liked how everything was symmetric, even their positioning against the architecture.
Across the bridge, we arrived at a gateway to *drumroll please* The Zhouzhuang Water Town! Yay! We were finally there!
We were welcomed by a small river, with bridges over them, and willow trees hanging their leaves over the water. I was extremely captivated.
Fun fact! Before we visited this place, we had a picture of a person in a boat wading through a water town, and we soon found out that THIS WAS THE TOWN WHERE THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN (we bought the picture from a vendor, so we didn’t know where the photo was taken before)
I really couldn’t talk that much because the scenery was way too beautiful. I needed time to absorb! These men were straining fallen willow leaves from the water to keep the river clean. I loved how the trees and the branches were hanging over them.
Boats were moving through this narrow stream, which was framed by old houses with stark red lanterns. I never thought I would see something like this.
In between these rivers were houses and stores that sold traditional things like silk shoes and dried seafood. There were also quite a few modern shops (there was even a Starbucks)
After this, we got lost (again). We found ourselves in the middle of a residential area. It had the same feel as where we were from before, but you could tell that that area was not meant for toursits. It was still beautiful though.
It was interesting to me how the small alleys, the structures and even the roof tiles were so well preserved. But it didn’t seem like the re-painted, re-polished kid of preserved. It seemed like everything grew around what was built. Even the moss that grew on the roof tiles.
We eventually found our way out to the last bridge in the area.
(Quite a blurry picture)
We were there for a while, so I started observing the people who lived in the area. I saw this man washing his hands in the river. He was quiet, he didn’t talk. It was a picture of peace.
I quickly told my family that I had to take a photo of something really quick, and I ran to the nearest alley that opened out to the river, to get a closer photo of this man.
Before we knew it, the sun was setting. It was a really good day.
So, I haven’t been updating this blog for a while. So many things are happening, I haven’t really had time to keep you guys updated.
Okay so quick updates!
My hardrive with all my photos has given up on me, so all I have left are photos that I posted on social media sites. So I couldn’t post because sadly, there was nothing to post. I was really sad about that for a long time, but oh well, onto new pictures. (I came to that conclusion after an ocean of tears and breakdowns huhu). Don’t worry though, my Dad and I are coming up with a better back up system that will make sure I don’t lose anything!
I found a semi-regular job (well, 3 days a week). Actually, it’s been a little over a year. I just don’t think I ever said it here haha. I now work for a cosmetics company as a graphic designer. Who knew? Sometimes, I do get a little overwhelmed, but when that happens, I try to look for a creative outlet to drag me back to sanity haha.
I took on a few freelance clients for commercial photography. I realllly enjoy styling and flatlays and food photos and all that jazz. It’s a challenge but I really like it. You can see some of me work on my instagram @gabbiedoesfreelance
I started doing yoga late november. So, it’s been almost 4 months of yoga for me. Thank you, Yoga With Adriene ❤ It has really helped my mental health. It gives me a sense of control over my body and my habits, which I find is very very VERY empowering.
So a lot of things are happening and I wanted to keep this blog alive, because it’s so easy these days to be drowned with overwhelming emotions, and this blog has kept me from a lot of pain and self doubt, so I wanted to keep that going.
Anyway, I will post again very soon (maybe a few minutes later, who knows?)
With love and positive energy (wow that was cheesy),