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Sunday, January 17, 2016

REPERTORY PHILIPPINES' INITIAL OFFERING FOR 2016.....

Aggie Wheeler And Simon Bright.....



A Mysterious Letter.....


The Seance.....
Daria Confronts Martha.....
William Gillette, Inspector Goring And Felix Geisel.....
It's 2016 and Repertory Philippines has opened its new season with the hilarious play "The Game's Afoot" by Ken Ludwig

The setting is the 1930s and the main character William Gillette is an actor who is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He invites the cast of his latest play to his house to celebrate Christmas when all hell breaks loose and someone dies. He now has to channel his alter ego as he tries to solve the real life mystery. Ms Joy Virata heads the impressive cast as she plays Martha Gillette. She shares the same role with Jay Valencia Glorioso. Pinky Amador is Daria Chase while Paul Holme is William Gillette. Jeremy Domingo is Gillette's best friend Felix Geisel while Christine Flores is Felix's wife Madge. Natalie Everett portrays Inspector Goring. Hans Eckstein and Mica Pineda are the scheming couple Simon Bright and Aggie Wheeler. Miguel Faustmann directs the production. The play runs from January 15 to February 7, 2016 at Onstage Greenbelt 1.

I actually like the play. If I wasn't busy with taking pictures, I would have sat back on my chair, watched the play and laughed so hard at the scenes as it unfolds. Eventually, I couldn't control my laughter any longer and just let go. It does surprise me though that I understand and like British farce.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

THIS HOUSE IS FOR SALE.....

The Dining Area And Kitchen.....

The Outdoor Garden.....
The Living Room.....
The Master's Bedroom.....
The Garage.....
I received a text message from John. He asked if I was available to shoot on the 10th of January, a Sunday. I asked what will I be shooting on that date. He replied that his friend planned to sell her house and wanted to have some photos which will serve as a remembrance of her property. John also wanted to have some pictures that he could use to show to prospective buyers of the house.

Although John came to the house a few days before New Year's Day to take pictures, an unfortunate event befell him. His camera was stolen as he left it in his car while it was parked at HMR Sucat during New Year's eve. The thieves forcibly opened the door at the front passenger side of the car. That is why he failed to notice the absence of his camera because his door opened normally when he turned the key. The sad part was not only did he lost the pictures of the house that was for sale, he also lost the photographs of the family outing that he took during their day trip to Laguna too. Hence, the S.O.S. text that he sent to Buboy and I.

I haven't taken that much architecture shots of houses but I have shot interiors of churches a lot so I feel that I won't be having any problems. The house, though showing some signs of aging, is a modern, spacious and elegantly designed property that it wasn't that difficult to photograph at all. In fact, its simplicity inspired me to capture pictures from every conceivable angle that I can think of. Even John sent me a compliment when he saw the images that I took in the cd that I gave him.

It was a pleasure to meet the owners. The couple were a joy to talk to as we discussed about topics ranging from their family to religion to the traditional Latin Masses. I have always wanted to attend a Latin Mass. I did once though, while I was at London years ago. Now that I have some information about the places where the Latin Mass is being held here in the Philippines, I might decide to attend one in the future. But I still have to go to Sikatuna Village in Quezon City to look for the parish where the mass is being held.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WELCOME TO THE SECRET GARDEN.....

The Colors Of The Secret Garden.....

I received a text message from my good friend and fellow photographer John about the schedule of the photo shoot for Repertory Philippines Christmas presentation, "The Secret Garden". It was scheduled on the third weekend of November. But the 14th and 15th came and I didn't hear from John so I asked him about it. Finally, he said that Rep had a scheduled rehearsal on the 16th but the costumes were not yet finished nor was the lighting plan set up. I reasoned I won't be going to shoot since I anticipated the difficulty of using public transport because of the closure of the entire stretch of Roxas Boulevard because of the APEC meeting being held here and the unfinished costumes and lighting. John, Boboy, Boyet, Lian and I provide the photos that Repertory uses in their souvenir programs. So to shoot the actors without their costumes and the lighting pattern rather defeats the purpose of the pictures.

Thank you God! I made the right call! Traffic was terrible and unbearable during that day. I went to Alabang Town Center in the afternoon and a 15 to 30 minute ride became an hour because of the traffic. Some public utility vehicles even cut their trips, stopping their trips at Casimiro while those that travel to Zapote had to contend with the traffic at the RFC area. I guess I have to stay at home for the duration of the APEC Summit since I can't basically get out of Las Pinas. Having your own car may get you out of the city but be prepared to have a full tank of gas. The worse that can happen to a car owner is to be stuck in traffic for hours and with the car running out of gas in the process.

Last Wednesday, the 18th was declared a nonworking holiday. And John informed me of the shoot for Repertory on that night. So even if I vowed not to leave the house during this week, I took a chance and decided to go. I went to Alabang, rode on a bus headed for the north but instead of passing through the normal route of Edsa, it plied the C5 road instead. The whole stretch of Magallanes was closed too. I ended up at Rockwell and then took a cab going to Greenbelt 1. The rehearsal went ahead as scheduled and I was 45 minutes late. No worries though, I was able to get some pictures.

I have no idea what "The Secret Garden" is all about. From the moment I raised my camera to my eye and started to shoot, I noticed the slightly bizarre lighting pattern and the direction of the play. I can't decipher it since I wasn't able to watch the first 45 minutes. The lights were so dark but colorful hues were predominant. These initially caused me problems with my exposures but then I realized the colors were intentional. If I photographed a man in blue light, he was meant to be washed in blue tones. So I had to work with it rather than against it.

"The Secret Garden" will be staged from November 20 to December 20, 2015 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City. It is based on the novel of Frances Hodgson Burnett and adapted as a musical production by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon and directed by Anton Juan. For ticket reservations and schedule of performances can be seen here.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE STORY BEHIND THIS PHOTOGRAPH.....

The Original Photograph.....

The Finished Product.....
Uncle And Aunty.....
A few years ago, my father's siblings, Aunty Cidad and Uncle Eding jointly held their birthday celebrations at my cousin (and Aunty's son) Manong Kelly's house. As far as I recall, this is my first time to be a part of their joint birthday celebration. They may have celebrated it together in the past but I wasn't around at those times so I was just delighted that I was a part of this one.

My paternal relatives used to have family reunions during New Year's eve when my cousins and I were younger, first at Batino St, Quezon City and later at the Fonacier Residence in Las Pinas. New Year was for us, the kids back then, our Boxing Day, the receiving and opening of Christmas presents. Plus my elder cousins provided the entertainment as they bought the tallest fountains they could find, loudest firecrackers and numerous roman candles enough to put up their own mini fireworks display just for our amusement when the clock strikes 12 midnight of January 1. My aunt was always in charge of the food with her barbecue, spaghetti and macaroni soup my absolute favorite dishes. My uncle, together with my dad, were the entertainers although both share an expertise in cooking traditional Ilocano dishes like papaitan, igado, dinakdakan and sinanglaw.. A wry smile forms on my lips whenever I recall those two talking to each other, seated beside each other with both possessing booming voices that a normal conversation between them sounded like two men quarreling over something trivial. Nowadays, we rarely get together. The kids of yesterday are now adults with families of their own and lives abroad while the elders have aged through the years.

Uncle, at that time was 85. I engaged in small talk with him and surprisingly, he still recognized me. Although he had forgotten my name, he called me as "anak na babae ni Doming. It was obvious though that some memory gaps started to show. He was still able to stand and walk but it was a matter of time before he fades ultimately. Actually, all of them (including my father) are in their advanced years. And I so want to take photographs of them while they are still strong and able, lucid and active and not weak and frail. Hence my delight when my uncle remembered me and so did Aunty.

I had my camera with me and I wanted to take some pictures, specifically portraits of the celebrants. Aunty though is rather shy when she stands alone in front of the camera so I opted to have the magkapatid in the frame together. Initially I was concerned that Uncle and Aunty will not be able to hear or understand my instructions. But I was so pleased when Uncle understood what I wanted him to do with regards to his poses. I then decided I wanted to take a solo picture of him. Rather than the normal "I.D. type" of pose, I wanted to do a character study without me imposing on him. The opportunity came when he went outside of the house in order to smoke. At first, I took a photo of him with his grandchildren. But when he had a lit cigarette between his fingers, I told him that I would take his picture and jokingly instructed him to not look into the camera but "to look far, far away." He did not disappoint me! He nailed the look that I was going for! I wanted to make a black and white, sepia toned picture of him with some vignette effect that would make the picture look like a vintage old photograph. I also wanted to remove his skin imperfections (Manang Ellen calls it "libag!" lol!) since it will not look pleasant in the picture. Hence the resulting image.

Last Sunday, November 15, 2015; Uncle Eding breathed his last breath. I do not have the exact details yet on the cause of his death since I haven't spoken yet to any of his daughters. All I know is that he has been battling prostate cancer for some time. Rest in Peace, Uncle Eding. We will miss you.

As for the picture? I will not be surprised if my cousins decide to use it and I get to see it placed on top of his coffin when I go to his wake on Friday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I SPENT SOME TIME IN JAIL.....

Vigan Provincial Jail.....

Election Campaign Poster.....
The Prisoner And The Jail Guards.....
Students From UNP As Tour Guides.....
Jump Shot Daw.....
Relax!!!!! I did spend some time in the Vigan Provincial Jail, which has been renamed Gregoria M. Rivera Memorial Library. This former provincial jail was renamed in honor of the sixth President of the Philippines, Elpidio R. Quirino's mother. Rivera gave birth to the young Quirino on November 16, 1890 in one of the rooms on the second floor since his father, Mariano Quirino was the jail warden. The jail, located behind the provincial capitol and beside the Burgos Museum, still served its purpose until last year when it began its transformation as the new art center of Ilocos Sur.

I was impressed with this new museum because it was air conditioned and had thermostat controls. In one of its chambers, the 14 paintings of Esteban Pichay Villanueva which depicted the 1807 Basi Revolt were showcased. The paintings were originally displayed at the National Museum before it was returned to the provincial government when the art center was finally operational. Other exhibits being displayed were artifacts of tools used for basi making and some woven fabrics. On the second floor, some paintings of the former president Elpidio Quirino and his wife, Alicia Syquia which were all done by Fernando Amorsolo can be seen.

I think more exhibits are in the planning stage at the moment but I am so glad that such a repository of our heritage exists here in Vigan. Don't forget to check out this museum when you find yourself strolling around Vigan City in the future!

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