Friday, November 5, 2010

Bringing Back Sunshine

Bringing Back Sunshine, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
I just got back from Oriental Mindoro with sunburn, mosquito bites and loads of happy experiences.
My friends and I visited places including Calapan City, Mansalay, Bulalacao and Puerto Galera. The travel hours were long but getting to each of the places was totally worth it. Not only were we welcomed by breathtaking views, we also had the pleasure of meeting the warmest and kindest of people. I feel lucky and blessed to be part of their moments and share their sunshine. :)

Hope you enjoy them. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

little angels

little angels, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
My nephew, my godson and my niece.

I'll be covering a traditional Mangyan wedding this weekend. The wedding is not til Saturday but I've decided to go down from Baguio earlier to have time for visiting family and friends.

In the first photo is John Zachary, my one month old nephew. Next is one year old Dylan Ashton, my godson. In the last photo is Carmela Isabel, my three year old niece. I'm thankful for the rare chances I get to spend with them. Little kids never fail to show me life is simple and colorful. To be happy, all you need is a song, a dance or a gummy bear. :)

p.s. Here's a link to my new site by JI Creatives: In the Mood for Light

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Inspirations

Raizah, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
"Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show the world. ...Very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe." -Irving Penn, 1975.

For nearly a month now, I've been doing a themed daily challenge cooked up by a fellow blipper (one who posts "blips" at Today's challenge was "Portrait." Although I'm not that good at it yet, portraiture is one of the genres I love because I so enjoy the challenges and the pleasures of interacting with the subject. Needless to say, I was excited and at the same time slightly nervous in pulling off today's theme.

I feel quite fortunate to have met several wonderful people earlier who were willing subjects. 
First one I met was Manong Luis, the puto/kutsinta vendor I photographed a couple of months ago and whose photo belongs to my Street Project. I almost didn't recognize him because he wasn't wearing a cap and he seems to know how to smile and laugh now, (peace Manong. :D). 
Then I met Aling Nelly, a keychain vendor for almost 10 years now at Burnham Park. I heard her humming while she was busy labeling her wares so I dared to ask if I could take her photo. She smiled and told me I was welcome to do so. 
Finally, I met Aling Raizah here. I saw her laughing with a fellow vendor so I gathered my guts again and asked her permission to be photographed. Thank goodness she said yes too. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Simple Joys

Simple Joys, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.

I was with Aling Leonida, subject of my Baguio 100&One Exhibit photo yesterday. She called me and asked if she could keep her framed photo. I said, yes, of course she could have it after the exhibit and then I offered to accompany her to SM so we could visit the exhibit together. 

I then dropped by her "pwesto"/stall space at Malcolm Square to fetch her and her friends. She kept telling me how happy she was that for the first time in her life, people would come up to her and tell her they saw her photo and all. Meanwhile, I don't have enough words to describe how happy it made me feel to see her all smiles while relating her experiences. 

This is her , saying: "Ako naman ang magpipicture sayo!"  :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photography as Art

Photography as Art, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.

(An amateur's take on why photography is an art)

I was invited to speak on digital photography as part of a former room mate's report on contemporary art. I was in panic mode for a couple of days as 1) I do not have extensive knowledge and experience yet to be a good resource speaker. 2) I have developed stage fright over the years so I tend to have panic attacks before, during and after speaking which is really bad.

Anyway, I prepared this to "save me" when I am no longer making sense during the talk.hehe.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Joy Ride

Joy Ride, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. (Unknown)

Goodness, it's Sunday again! The week surely knows how to fly.

I got up at 4am, incredibly without difficulty compared to working days when I really need to wake up that early. Ha! Maybe I should try thinking it's always a weekend.:)

Planned to post another sunrise image but ended up with this one instead. :)

I was walking along the market area on my way to the La Trinidad jeepney terminal when I heard shouts of glee. As I turned, I saw two kids were jumping excitedly as a man (most likely their father) was re-arranging the sacks in his cart. Then, I saw the kids boarding the cart, laughing their hearts out. They'll be getting a joy ride today! Yay!

Happy Sunday ! :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine In, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The quote may not be the perfect fit for the photo but it's something I stumbled upon which made me smile because it's true for me. I often complain first before counting my blessings. This should serve as a reminder to reverse my practice and start being more thankful to daily gifts from this universe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On Eid ul-Fitr

On Eid ul-Fitr, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Today was the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid ul-Fitr, a celebration which marks the end to Ramadan, one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar.

It is a non-working holiday for most (except for the ones in call centers like me...oh, not self pitying here at all, wah!).
Anyway, I didn't catch the ceremony where the Islam faithful were gathered in prayer at the Melvin Jones Grandstand. What I witnessed instead was festive Burnham Park.

The usually empty bikers' lane was filled with kids and adults alike. The picnic grounds were graced by lovely and colorful Abayahs.

*Happy Eid ul-Fitr! :)

**This wasn't the shot I was aiming for but the heat a while ago was quite unbearable for me.hehe, excuses. Also, I couldn't decide yet whether to post the colored one for a more celebratory mood. I'm such a big monochrome fan though that my judgement is impaired.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Good Morning Baguio

Good Morning Baguio, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Finally the sun showed up!

Managed to get up by 4am despite the cold.
It was still dark when I went out but there were already several people in the street.
Two people mistook me for a Korean again. It's always funny every time especially when they try talking to me in English and start offering me cheap hotels to stay at.hehe.

I walked until Burnham Park which was just about a kilometer from my boarding house. I met several joggers who were having coffee at the Park. I met Lolo Joe who even bought me a cup.haha. I love Sunday people. Most are refreshed and energized from the Saturday off and there are a lot of people smiling just because. :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Toothless :)

Toothless :), originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Met this nice lady earlier. I was inspired to take "after the rain" shots of leaves and flowers so I headed to Burnham Park. On my way there, I crossed paths with her and just couldn't resist the urge to take her photo. She sells steamed corn on the cob for 5 pesos each. Most of the street vendors here are used to carrying big baskets on top of their head and I've always wanted to capture one of them in a rare moment. This is one of my attempts. :)

Also, I met Manong Erme by chance. It was a nice coincidence since I was also planning to stop by his spot at Malcolm Square to give him a copy of his photo. Here's a  big smile from him today.

Lastly, I'd like you to meet another lovely street vendor, Inol.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Yellow, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Still - in a way - nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small - we haven't the time -
and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

- Georgia O'Keeffe

I have no idea what this flower is called so apologies for the uncreative title.hehe. This is an effort outside my comfort zone. A reminder to self to take the time to schedule self-assignments apart from my street and portraiture attempts.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


"Pogi", originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
(Saturday, August 28)

Had a very busy day. Quite eventful and happy too.

The City Government held a photo walk/contest this morning as part of Baguio's 101 years' celebration. It was raining during the first hour much like Scott Kelby's last month, only lighter. I didn't know the sun would show up in the next hour so I started to shoot despite the weather.

Shown in this photo is a newspaper vendor who instantly posed when he saw me walking with a camera. I am not usually into posed photos but I particularly like this and his easy smile.

p.s. "Pogi" is a Filipino word/expression for handsome. When I asked him his name, he just grinningly told me it was "Pogi."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Manong Rodrigo

Rodrigo, stamp maker, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Manong Rodrigo, a stamp maker.

I just noticed him today while waiting for someone. From afar, he seems to be writing in a notebook but when you come nearer, you could see how he carves each letter in the wooden stamp he is creating.

Here's a closer shot of him smiling.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Smiles

Monday Smiles, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
I had a fairly productive photo walk today. I passed by the city market to hand some of the printed vendor portraits to their respective owners. Some of them remembered me and was even expecting me while others have already forgotten I took their picture once. Our exchanges were very light and filled with smiles. I took advantage of this "lightness" of mood by smiling to other nearby street sellers and stall owners and taking a few photographs of those who generously smiled back. :)

The three ladies here are namely Helen, Farreda and Herminia. Helen sells cabbages and onions. Farreda owns a cellphone accessories stall. Herminia sells avocados outside a famous fast food chain. Aling Helen says she reads the paper to pass the time waiting for buyers. Aling Farreda, who apparently has high blood, prefers laughter as a therapy. Meanwhile, Aling Herminia, is quite funny. She waved me off several times but then after I showed her one of her photos, she kept reminding me to give her a copy. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Big smile for everyone. Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday! :)

I originally planned to wake up at 3am and leave the house by 5 to try to catch the sunrise. However, staying in bed longer just feels so good on a Sunday.:)

I was able to get out by 6am, the sun already high and shining. Thus, I decided to work on my Street Project. I was lucky this lady was very friendly and didn't really mind her photo being taken. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rainbow Sighting

Rainbow Sighting, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
(Saturday 21 August 2010)

I've been out of sorts these past few days. It must be the weather...sigh. Anyway, I went on Project:Cheer Up today. Hair cut. Razon's Halo-halo (a famous Filipino ice treat). Photo walk.

Saw this rainbow just when I was about to go home. Haven't seen one in ages so I was delighted. The thing is, I was not satisfied with my perspective. From where I was standing, the rainbow was obscured by several tree branches, rooftops and wires. So, I tried walking around to look for the best angle but after a few minutes, the rain poured. Oh well. This is a good chance for me to practice being happy with what I have. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Table for Two

Table for Two, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Like summer with rain
Not your ordinary Sunday
I feel happier with you than with anybody else

 -from "Table for Two" by Rivermaya

I had coffee at VOCAS, Artist Cafe, one of the many havens for artists and enthusiasts alike in Baguio City. Aside from having a lot of nature-inspired installations, they also have occasional poetry-readings and literary performances.
I was meaning to finish an essay but then again there were a lot of interesting stuff to photograph there that I couldn't help being happily distracted. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Accident

   My usual photo walk after work brought me to the city market. I was a bit hesitant to shoot at first since there were a lot of passers by. I stood in a corner for a while to observe and check if there's anything worth being gutsy for. I'm not superstitious or anything but when I saw the words "SHOOT" from a jeepney graphic (it was actually SHOOTER but I only saw SHOOT from where I was standing), I was encouraged to go ahead and shoot. :)  

I started trying to take a few vendor portraits. I noticed one in particular who had such a lovely look when she laughs. When she noticed me however, she frowned and told me she gets sick whenever she's photographed. I came near her and introduced myself. I told her I meant no harm and was just doing this as a personal project. To convince her, I brought out some printed photos of other street vendors and street mainstays. The vendor beside her who seemed more interested took the prints from my hand and looked at them. She surprised me by saying it was her grandfather in the first picture. She then happily named each person in the prints. She even showed them to another vendor who shared her delight in knowing each one. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Red Orange Rising

Red Orange Rising, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.

This morning, my cab waiting time stretched than the usual. Since it was already past 5am, I brought out my camera to try shooting a few "dawn scenes." The promise of a lovely sunrise had me linger a little longer and almost forget the time. As I was about ready to "let go" of the beautiful sky scene, I noticed the red orange hues of the sun starting to peek. I couldn't resist trying to capture it. :)

p.s. I reached our office on time. Thank heavens!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chasing Butterflies

Chasing Butterflies, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
I'm not really much of a nature photographer. I've tried a few times but I wasn't satisfied with my output. Subject-wise, I am more patient with people rather than with bees and other insects. On my way home today, however, I noticed there were a lot of butterflies flying around the street. I got inspired to follow them and was led to Burnham Park (probably their version of fantasy land as it is where most of the flowers are). I don’t know if more patience helped but I am happier with the photos I got. Not prouder though just happier. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Miss Midland

Miss Midland, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
I am quite giddy to share this shot. I've always wanted to photograph this lady. She is one of the newsstand ladies along Session Road. It was only today though that I've gathered the guts to ask her if I could take her picture. She good-naturedly declined. Nevertheless, I continued talking to her in an attempt to "charm" her to agree. While she continued shaking her head with a smile, I took the liberty of shooting her still. Di naman ako makulit no? :)

Chick Lit

Chick Lit, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.

I have recently gone back to an old habit: book hoarding. I should never be left alone in a bookstore or let to linger at book sales. Someone should definitely put blinders on me the next time else I’ll never save enough to buy camera gear or enough to fulfill my travel dreams. Haist. :)

Anyway, I noticed most of my purchases lately have images of women on the cover and have stories generally revolving on quarter-life issues and the process of “becoming”. Now, I’m wondering if I’m super lost in the daily grind that I keep on looking for answers and affirmations from the characters in these books…hmm, I hope not.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Night Lights

Night Lights, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
Once again, I’m in love…with Baguio night lights. :) It was raining hard again yesterday afternoon. Thankfully however, the mad rain stopped early evening and gave way to calm blue skies. I was just done hoarding books on sale and was about to go home when I got drawn by the lovely,lovely city lights seen from SM’s view deck. There were about three other shutterbugs in the area, apparently romanced by the lights too. (a repost from my tumblr site)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lola Dorma

Lola Dorma, originally uploaded by sofia_olga.
While walking along Engineer's Hill in search of "Canto, bogchi joint" yesterday, I noticed this old lady looking out her window. She was perfectly framed in her position that I just had to go nearer and ask permission to take her photo. I took several shots of her "framed" and several close ups too like this one. This is my favorite among the set. :)

*Just trying to blog again since I have more free time now. :)