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From the vault: Higantes 2009

I missed this year’s Higantes Festival in Angono, which is one of the few authentic festivals one can visit when you’re in Manila and don’t want to jump on a plane or take an hours-long trip to get there.

Mud Man - 2

Where was I? Stuck working at the office, where else? Too bad, because it would have been great to shoot this festival again – which as far as I’m concerned, is never the same.


The Higantes is about as ‘loose’ (for lack for a proper word) as festivals go – I don’t think that the more publicized ones have drunken men and women parading the streets free to do anything except defecate or copulate in public. Still, it’s an experience in itself, all things considered, with the giant higantes paraded around that give the festival its name. Since its also a feast of St. John the Baptist, expect to get splashed by water – with varying degrees of cleanliness.

Parade of Giants

Tagging along with me was my SO, who showed considerable talent, despite it being her first time.

Leader of the Band

Portraits: April

Itching to shoot anything, I recently attended a free workshop on portrait and fashion photography at the Collective, a sort of art deco shopping center in Makati. Here are a few shares from the photo shoot session that came after.


I don’t shoot portraits as much simply because I’m a bit uncomfortable making people pose – I’d much rather take candid photos. That’s not to say that formal portraits and fashion photography is bad in my book – there are actually a number of photographers like those whom I admire, such as Borj Meneses, Jay Tablante, and Jong Clemente.


In addition, I’m more predisposed to portrait sessions outside the controlled environment of a studio. More elements to play around with, more ways you can switch and change composition. I also have ZERO knowledge in lighting, which you need when you’re shooting portraits.


One caveat in portrait photography that many fail to appreciate though, is a model’s ability to project. Models (much like “photographers”) are a dime a dozen nowadays, but few can exude the feelings you need when they’re in front of the camera – regardless of how much skin they’re willing to show. Good thing April knew her stuff.

Shot with ambient light, no reflectors, ISO 1600 and a 50mm F1.4.

Gabriel Miguel C. Medalla – Piano recital

Got the chance to play second shooter at a piano recital in UP Diliman.


Believe it or not, this guy isn’t a music major at all. He recently graduated Magna Cum Laude, BS Math (MATH! That dreary, accursed subject that I still have nightmares of). He only plays piano on the side, and a mean piano at that. Talk about multi-talented!


Gabriel Miguel C. Medalla, or Gim, as he is fondly called by family and friends, belongs to the family of former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Felipe Medalla – hence those wicked smarts in numbers – and has been playing the piano since he was seven.


Tried to shoot a few details as well – these are from the inside of the baby grand.

He played, if I am not mistaken, 8 pieces in all. I especially enjoyed Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor Op.3 no. 2.


Easily my favorite shot from the whole set.


Gray lights

I’ve been hankering for a landscape shoot for some time now – it’s an itch that’s just begging to be scratched. I’ve been stuck, landscape-wise, since that trip to Layag-Layag (more landscapes from that in future posts). This is why in a fit of desperation, I set up my tripod at the back of the Folk Arts Theatre and took a shot at an overused (in every sense of the word) Manila Bay.

Gray Lights

It was overcast that day, the ground still wet from the rain. I was going for a minimalist approach and was definitely looking to shoot in monochrome, since conditions were pointing to shots that would look better in black and white.