As a little girl, I witnessed how an uncle would take photos of me and the rest of the family using a camera bulkier than mom’s, usually placed over a stand with three legs. Back then, I didn’t know that it was an SLR camera he was using and that the three-legged stand he used was called a tripod.
Two of the photos were, to me, ultra-memorable. It was because my uncle used the photographic technique of double exposure — something that I thought was made of pure magic. I would stare at these portraits for weeks, wondering how the hell it happened, endlessly worrying about having a twin or a doppelganger I didn’t know about who only appeared when captured on camera.
Fast forward to 2007, I was en route to completing my journalism degree and I had to take up photojournalism for half a year. The results were horrible. Every vision I had for each plate or project was limited to 36 shots — a roll of black and white film that I sometimes had to share with two to three other classmates.
But despite those perils, I cherished every moment I spent in the dark room, taking away everything there is to learn. It was the only class where I felt that if taken seriously, could help earn me a solid edge over the thousands of would-be-journalists who write better than I do. If I took wonderful photos to go with my words, I’d become a better storyteller.
I promised myself that I’d get a camera that would help me take a virtually unlimited number of shots so that I could tell more stories. One unassuming day, it just happened. On the 27th of August 2009, my dad sponsored the Nikon D90 camera I bought from Hidalgo, which I hastily christened Nova (because I’m from the badlands of Novaliches). She’s such a blessing from Up Above. I’ve been using her for eons and she’s got her fair share of accessories, too; perhaps worth more than the amount I paid for my entire wardrobe.
If you’ve been reading previous entries posted on this journal, you would have noticed by now that I carry Nova with me everywhere, and that I take a humongous number of photos using her.
Today, Nova is up for another challenge. She wants to go to Tuscany, Italy to help me tell stories of history, artistry, landscapes, traditions, and even high culture. KLM Philippines is currently sponsoring a photo contest with the said all-expense paid trip at stake, and you could help Nova and I win the competition by liking my entries on Facebook. Although voting only accounts for 25% of the judging, it would still be essential to my overall standing as an entrant.
I don’t do this often — that is, making pleas for Facebook “likes” — but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try. If you could please vote for my photos, I would be very grateful. You will be redirected to the KLM On Assignment app which will ask for access to your public profile (but I assure you it’s safe) then after approving it, you can copy and paste the links to my entries and add the likes for your votes to be counted.
Click on the photos below to vote.
WEEK 1: FOOD
WEEK 2: PEOPLE
A SPECIAL HUG
If I win, Nova’s long years of conditioning won’t go to waste. I will be continuously updating the page as the contest progresses.
Plus, wouldn’t it be awesome to have KLA On Assignment? Haha!
After gallivanting in Zamboanga City for a day without much results, I decided to carry on even without much ammo — direction-wise. I woke up that Sunday morning without high hopes; got myself a 12-ounce bottle of Coke from the store across the street (my suking tindahan in ZC) and waited for the jeepney that would take me to Pasonanca Park.
After waiting for 15 minutes or so, I wanted to give up because all the jeepneys were already full of passengers the moment they pass by my area. This means that I’m either gonna have to take a jeep across the street and go back downtown and look for the terminal to Pasonanca or take a long walk to the town again as I did the previous day.
I went back to the store to ask the owner if I can take a tricycle to Pasonanca. She told me that they do, but she also warned me that I had to pay a bigger amount because it’s quite far. I didn’t care. I’ll hop on the first empty tricycle that stops in front of me.
Thank God that Kuya Jing Hechanova had to take a passenger to the store. Kuya Jing came to save the day at a time when my faith in my solo Zamboanga trip seem to be already dwindling.
At first, I only asked him to take me to Pasonanca. After realizing that he had the makings of a tour guide — with impeccable non-Bisaya accented Tagalog — I finally asked to be taken around the city for the price of a day’s boundary, roughly around Php600. It was a good enough deal especially if you’re not going solo; but since I am, well, travelling solo, my fate was sealed.
I highly recommend him as a guide because he knows all the nooks and crannies of the city and even the obscure ones. I gotta hand it to him for taking me to an ex-MILF camp whose building walls were all tattered by machine guns.
Kuya Jing was really bongga because he owns the trike that he drives. We ended the tour late in the afternoon but he didn’t have any complaints. I thank him for assisting me well especially during those times when I had to take out my huge ass of a camera to take photos in public places. Also, he instructed me well about the other places I should check out for the remainder of my trip in the city.
I’m leaving his contact details here so in case you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding your way around Zamboanga, you know who to call. I hope you get him as your tour guide in Zamboanga, too.
Hadjival Hechanova (Kuya Jing)
Lustre Street, Zamboanga City
Fifty words into an HTC One review I’m writing, I had to stop. I had to regain my humanity back and think about the clutter I’ve contributed to the Internet and how I’m supposed to feel awful about my participation in the said rumpus.
Over the course of the year, writing has become obligatory. Everything had bullets and subtitles in them. Everything was all about lists and trivial stuff. I’ve developed the habit of writing around a thousand words in a day, with only around a hundred of them making any actual sense.
I can’t exactly call it mindless writing because at some point I need to consider if my writing flows or if it’s going to fit the audience or site I write for or some other factors. But these daunting tasks contributed to the gradual loss of my sense of wonder. I feel as if I’m losing interest in the things I used to be interested in. I feel as if I could no longer write for myself.
Recently, it’s always been about the “this needs to be read” and it’s always been about optimizing what I write in order to be found. At first it sounded flattering, but later on I started to feel nauseated. There’s no sense in getting found if you haven’t even looked in the first place.
With this predicament, I am left with several choices. I can quit, I can find something else to do, I can make my life a living hell. I can make life a living hell for other people. But I want to perhaps make the most balanced, most adult thing to do — I choose to defer.
Guess this is just one of those moments where I yearn for the pure and conceptual, which I can’t seem to get hold of a lot nowadays.
And besides, I already have a lot of things to be thankful for in Q1 2013:
- I went to Dumaguete and Siquijor solo last January
- Zamboanga on February (still solo and proud)
- Rocked out in Mount Malasimbo in Puerto Galera with a good friend
- Finally did the Viaje del Sol trip I’ve been wanting to do since eons ago
- Published a legit travel article
- Saw Bloc Party live
- Gathered all the courage I need to hit the gym
- Finally had a taste of Red Ribbon’s Butter Mamon
- Lifted a 40-pound barbel 15 reps non-stop, three sets
- Bought my mom a Longchamp
- Visited the Magnolia Ice Cream House
- Organized two themed parties for my colleagues
- Successfully watched every Oscar Best Picture nominee
- Made peace with my pesky little sister
P.S. I love Vooza to bits. It’s a good wake-up call.