Sunday, April 29, 2012

My First Attempt

At product photography, that is.

I have been interested with photography ever since I can remember. Such interest must have come from my exposure to a dozen or so pictures of every event in my life as I was growing up. My parents used to work at Kodak Philippines, and that explains the thousand photos at home.

Since everything can be captured in a frame, no wonder the field of photography is vast, and specializing in a certain area (for lack of the correct term) of it can ease honing one's skill. When I acquired my DSLR early last year, I told myself I'd like to focus on learning landscape and product photography. In the future, I also want to have a studio, with kids as my main subject.

But with all the stuff I have been occupied with for the past year, I haven't really gotten myself to focus on learning the craft. I'd take a few photos here and there, but that's about it.

Last night, while suffering from lack of inspiration for an article I was about to write, I busied myself with searching the net on how to build a makeshift lightbox. A lightbox is like a mini studio, often used for shooting small items.

I stumbled upon a site that showed how to build one out of a frosted-side container, desk lamps, and white paper. The setup was so easy that I just had to try it out.

Here's what my DIY lightbox looked like:

DIY lightbox

Since I am such a newbie at photography, I wasn't sure if I had the right camera settings. I just kept experimenting with my camera's aperture and ISO settings, hoping to get a good-enough shot.

After an hour or so, my camera's battery died, and my shots were not even close to decent.

Here are some shots:


Obviously, I am such a newbie. I couldn't eliminate the shadows for the life of me. Well, I didn't have a third light set up, so I guess the shadows will always be there. All shots are raw, except for the last three (whose brightness I had to tweak a bit). Sorry, I don't know much about Photoshop either. (pathetic, huh?)

So for my first attempt at product photography, with a makeshift lightbox and a clueless newbie-photographer head, my verdict on my work is FAIL! That said, I have so much to learn. That, or I may as well just throw my DSLR in a box and sell it on eBay.

Seriously though, I hope I get to find time to really study photography. I noticed writing and photography go hand in hand. A good photo makes for a potential story. A good story can be made better if backed up by descriptive photos.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bag of Beans Blueberry Pancakes = Love!

It's 9AM. I woke up so early today. 6 AM to be exact. I know, for some, that's not early. Everyone else must have already ticked off a dozen in their to-do list, while I was still battling with my other self if I should already get up from bed or not. haha!

Since I'm up early, I'm hungry early, too. [weird sentence there, but I know you get my point :)] Anyway, I've been craving pancakes since last night. The photos at's list of top 10 pancakes in town didn't help. I was practically salivating at the layers upon layers of pancakes that were featured.

Upon reaching the end of the list, I was sad to find that my favorite pancake of all time didn't make it: Blueberry pancakes from Bag of Beans Tagaytay. The first time I tried it, it was love at first bite!

Imagine sinking your teeth into three humongous layers of blueberry-filled pancakes, smothered with blueberry jam and topped with whole berries and butter. Two slices of citrus adorn your plate of blueberry goodness. Pour syrup, and you're on your way to heaven! For just PHP195, the pancakes can serve up to four hungry tummies. Reasonable, right?

And here it is. Tada! 
Blueberry pancakes!

Haay. What would I give to have these right now?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pass or Fail

"Pagsubok lang 'to. (This is just a test.)"

This is one line most of us say when life throws lemons at us. If a family member suddenly falls ill, we see it as a test of our faith. If a prayer has not been answered for the longest time, we see it as a test of patience. If a difficult person is constantly present in our everyday lives, we see it as a test of endurance, endurance to keep our hands by our side rather than strangling him. :)

But think about it, why does God have to test us when He knows fully well what we are capable of? Isn't He our Creator? Then, why does He need any validation of how strong we are or how patient we can be?

I'd like to think that every difficult situation we face in life is not a test we desperately need to pass. There is no A's or F's, no pass or fail. Why? Because getting a grade of 75 or even a 100 doesn't, at the least bit, account for our worth. Our worth has already been stamped on us the moment we were brought into this life. In our veins run the blood of a genius, a champion, a child of God.

If life isn't a test and there is no need to prove our worth to a God who loves us unconditionally, then why do we think that way? Rather than saying, "Pagsubok lang to," I'd choose to say, "Paghubog lang 'to. (I am being molded.)"

In every painful moment, we are being molded by God into a better version of our already-capable selves. Life's lemons are not a pass-or-fail, do-or-die, "am-I-going-to-get-out-of-this-alive" kind of thing. Choose to look at each heartbreak as an opportunity for growth, and you'll see that all fear and desperation are gone. Soon, you'll begin to notice some sense of positivity and expectant faith in you.

So, if life is bringing you down, remember that you are not being tested; rather you are being molded into the best person you can ever be.

Photo source:


I can't write.

Four hours has passed, and I'm still staring at a blank Word document and a blinking cursor. Whatever brain cells I have have been afloat for the past few days, and I don't even know to get them oiled up and working.

My SFA article for Kerygma is due today. My GEF article for the same publication, I promised to submit over the weekend. I couldn't push myself to write a decent 400-word article; how could I ever come up with two?

Lord, you are the source of everything. This is minute to You. Please help me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What are you ASKing for this Lent?

So for the nth time you’re heading for the beach for your Lenten vacation—to get away from it all. After all, it’s the only time of the year when you get to enjoy almost five straight workless days with summer in full throttle.

It’s time to relax and recharge, you think to yourself. But give it a day or so after, and you’re back to your old self again. Why is that? Perhaps, successive days under the sun aren’t really what you need...

Click HERE for more information.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blah x 1000

Wow, it's been a while since I've written here. And the funny thing is, I have a dozen or so blog drafts on practically everywhere: in my email Drafts, in my mobile phone, in my notebooks. A few more notepad drafts hang around my PCs both at home and at the office.

But not one of those drafts has gotten into being stamped forever onto this tiny place in the net. It's weird that, when I try real hard to finish some drafts, I end up not finishing them at all [no pun intended]. Even recent important happenings in my life have yet to make it here: my 29th birthday, Valentine's Day [as if there was anything to talk about! haha but still, I think the occasion calls for a few words on love or whatnots at least], my one year as contributing writer to a local magazine, etc.

I don't know if the lack of consistent entries is because I'm just plain lazy or I'm preoccupied with a lot of other stuff. Well, whatever the reasons are, I just need to start somewhere, or should I say end something? End some blog entries, that is.

Anyway, gotta find those drafts wherever they are, and get on with them. Soon, this blog will be flooded by waaaaay late posts.

*end blabber fest*

Word of the Day: FAITH

It is easy to show faith when a crowd is in front of you, but how is your faith when nobody is looking?

It is easy to practice faith when everything is going well, but how is your faith when everything has been taken away from you?

It is easy to have faith when you see a glimpse of light in the horizon, but how is your faith, when everywhere you turn, all you see is darkness?

Faith is never defined by raised hands and loud singing, neither by extravagant service nor eloquent prayers.

Faith is in abandoning the comfortable and the familiar for a greater calling. It is in the readiness to face adversity, knowing that your Father will never abandon you. It is in relinquishing control of your life and believing in the God that holds your future.

Faith is never external, never measurable, never seen by the naked eye. Faith is between you and your God.

So, how is your faith?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Must. Not. Collapse.

A fraction of an inch more from the edge of my seat and I would have found myself too close for comfort with the light brown God-knows-how-dirty office carpet.

No, I wasn't dozing off to Neverland. I was working nonstop the whole day, mind you.

But in the middle of the slavery, all of a sudden, the whole universe was spinning lightning speed. I felt like being trapped inside a whirlwind; I had to hold on to my worktable to secure myself.

I remained seated, nails almost digging on the wooden table, but I could see myself slowly falling to my right, as if gravity thought I was an apple from a tree. I uttered, "God, help."

A few minutes more, I was able to regain my balance. The short prayer must have done it, but a drilling headache came after. I rubbed my temples, hoping the massage would ease it.

In a few, the sides of my forehead have shown a tinge of pink from all the rubbing. The headache eventually passed. I thanked God I was still OK.

The past weeks of heavy workload must have taken its toll on me. Can I blame aging for that? That precisely is the point why a simple case of headache and losing balance would make it to this blog.

For the longest time that I have been toiling on this job, yesterday's was probably the worst case of dizziness I've felt. Nearly collapsing was never part of my to-do list. 

Before, I would go to office and render overtime work until I can, or until the workload was done. Now, I cannot stay long hours at work for days without my shoulders reaching the floor and me all worn out and tired. Headaches have been a constant companion too.

That led me to think that I really am not getting any younger and that I need to take a serious look at my lifestyle. Work-life balance has completely gone off the window the past few weeks. Give me more weeks like these, or just let me dig my grave please. haha!

Seriously though, I have to bring my social life back. They say good company makes for happy people, and happiness and laughter induce good health. It doesn't matter whether that's true or not; I just need to balance my life now: just enough work, just enough play.

So there, just typed in a few words and now off to work again. Here's to hoping I won't have to dig my nails onto the table this time around.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Had a fruitful interview for K mag last night.

Each line she threw is a validation of everything I felt before. Every question she has now is the very one I tried to find answers for then. All her realizations are the same wisdom God continues to teach me now.

It's funny that, in trying to learn more about another person, I know more about myself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Strike!

Log on to today, and this is what you get.

This is one of the ongoing strikes on the web today, Jan 18th, as a show of opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that is undergoing consideration in the US Congress now.

I didn't actually have any idea on what SOPA is all about. My interest was piqued by how some of the biggest websites (e.g, Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and Wordpress) are all against it. What could possibly be wrong with the bill?

After reading a few articles about it, I had an inkling that this bill, once acted upon on January 24th, will have a huge impact to freedom of expression.

I have yet to fully grasp the intensity and extent of constraint that SOPA would have on Internet denizens, but any act that inclines to restraint of freedom is sure worth taking a good look at.

Read up on the Stop Online Piracy Act here:

Full text of the Act can be found here:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Facebook Status of the Day

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. - St. Augustine.

It takes more than just prayer to succeed. Every victory is a combination of faith and hard work.

If you want to enjoy the apple, don't wait for it to fall. Climb the tree, reach for it, but pray while doing so.

I was once asked if my status updates, like the one above, are original. My reply was "Yes," after which a "Wow!" followed.

Then, I thought, "Isn't it supposed to be that way?" Unless you indicate it's a repost, everything you put on the status text box is deemed as your original piece.

So what's the point I am trying to drive at? Nothing really. Memasabi lang? hahaha!

*End of post* :))