my girls

they’re not my kids but the way i gush about them, i swear i turn into the most ridiculously doting aunt on the planet. but i know there are a lot of other ridiculously doting aunts and uncles out there so i’m not alone.

anyway, here are a few photos that made me smile this week. thank god for adorable nieces and viber.


adi started gymboree. she can’t really talk yet but she now has a very toothy smile. a big improvement from her sukilala phase. hehe.

aeva and adi

looking at aeva wearing her soccer uniform was a bittersweet one for me. she looks so grown up! where did my little pony princess go? it scares me that she seems to be growing up at a rate that i cannot keep up. or even pause for just a bit.

aeva and adi

i like to think that i come from a very artistic family. and i think i do. except that whatever creative gene it blessed my mom and younger sister doesn’t really run in my veins. and so i am left with no recourse but to be a “patron of the arts.” a mere appreciator of el2’s artistic endeavor at painting these kiddos.

the competitive aunt in me now wonders, “how am i gonna top that?!”

edit: while we’re on the subject, might as well throw in other random pictures, as well. a little cuteness overload never hurt anyone, ayt? =)

aeva and adiadi

that green dress

it’s actually white with some bits of green, if you have to be technical about it. but i’m calling it the green dress, regardless. the dress i chose to handcarry on the plane in favor of my wedding gown (which i left back home to be shipped in. tee hee.) for the simple fact that it was given to me by roma. that, and my luggage exceeded the 30kg limit. it touched me how she gave me all these summer dresses for me to wear out here, where summer is as elusive as a child’s dream to become an astronaut when they grow up.

i also handcarried another gorgeous, gorgeous(!) dress made by my friend’s brother, reymund claridad, who’s a budding fashion designer you would wanna watch out for. it’s sooo pretty! it deserves a photo shoot all on its own but i’m still trying to find the perfect occasion to wear it so that baby is hanging in my closet wrapped up in a dress bag.

as for my wedding gown, my sister will be taking it with her when she flies here a couple of weeks from now (yehey!!!) to help me prepare for the wedding. (like, for real. lol. one month of wedding prep should be enough, i reckon. i wrote my thesis in three* weeks so that should be alright. if not, then goodluck! hahaha.)

* a very rough estimate, as i procrastinated a lot!

so, yeah, about that green dress, i wore it on our road trip to drouin. it’s not like me to wear something as girly on just a random drive but on that day, for some reason i can’t explain because i don’t want to, i felt like i was one with the earth. to a point that i was mother earth! lol.

some days, i’m. just. plain. weird.

of course, the photographer in jeff took advantage of that hazy window of opportunity.

dandenong, victoriadandenong, victoria

i know i mentioned drouin but please don’t ask me what’s in there. because to be honest, all i saw was bale, bale, bale, and more bale.

(i liked them, though. the bale. i liked that they’re rolled up instead of in squares. assuming that jeff’s explanation was correct and he wasn’t messing with me, it’s to facilitate easier transport. like, you just roll them off the truck or something. in fairness to him, he had a point so i didn’t bother to argue with that.)

drouin, victoriadrouin, victoriadrouin, victoria

just as peacocks and kangaroos were all i saw at gumbuya park (which is not in drouin but it was along the way so jeff and i were like, why not?) even though their brochure had a picture of a koala.

i mean, where the koalas at?!

gumbuya park, victoriagumbuya park, victoriagumbuya park, victoria

water therapy

so i may never really admit straight to jeff’s face that melbourne’s got some superb beaches but i don’t mean that as an insult to the city. it’s just that i’m a die-hard fan of philippines’ azure beaches lined with coconut trees reaching out to touch either the water or the sky. dancing to the rhythm of the wind blowing warm kisses on your face that leaves you with a suntanned glow.

such tropical thoughts induce poetry in me.

the beaches here, frankly, not so much. mainly because most of the time, it’s rather cold. it’s difficult to be poetic about the cold, unless you’re going for the kind that breaks your heart or rhymes with hypothermia.

to be fair, the dude is right. compared to most of the beaches back home, australia has public beaches whose shores stretch on and on and on. emphasis on the word public. which means everyone gets fair and equal use of it without having to pay anything (because the exorbitant parking fee already takes care of that, i suppose.)

but on this random day, i realized it doesn’t really matter which side of the world you are. the salty breeze and the sound of the waves would always find a way to charm you. bonus points when there’s sunlight peeking through.

edithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoriaedithvale, victoria

10 things to expect when you’re going out with a photographer. Or about to be married to one.

I always thought i’d hook up with either a vet or a photographer. Fate granted me the latter and now that i’m about to be married to one, i can’t help but share what it’s like to actually live with one.

So allow me to share with you this list i compiled out of the blue. To be safe, they’re pretty much tongue-in-cheek but that’s just me being politically correct about it.

Also, if you’re wondering why i’m suddenly using capital letters at the start of every sentence (like they’re supposed to) when this blog is riddled with, well, none, that’s because i’m blogging from my phone. The first time i’ve ever done so. So help me god.

Okay, here we go: (or “gor” as they say it here in australia.)

1. Be prepared to listen about all the latest photography gadgets and equipment and hear them ramble on and on about specs you have zero idea about. I repeat, zero.

More importantly, be prepared to give a very convincing answer composed of polite bluffs interspersed with technical terms you vaguely heard them say during their monologue once they start to ask, “so, what do you think?”

2. In line with the above, make sure your got your poker face pat down when they follow up that question with, “can i buy it?”

Of course, they can. They know they can but at the same time, they kind of want some sort of go-signal from you. You may or may not give them the pleasure depending on the gravity of your reasons but either way, try to be sweet about it. Especially when you deny their request. Otherwise, they’ll present a whole list of argument as to why they should (refer to the monologue in number 1) and that you’re indirectly stunting their growth in becoming the best photographer in the world next to (insert their man crush’s name here whose tech blogs and vlogs they stalk with the dedication and single-mindedness of a serial killer.)

3. By default, you become their model. More like practice models, if we have to be brutally honest about it. And whether you like it or not is something you have to deal. Be grateful. These dudes can have very high standards but they chose to settle with you. Be proud. Own it. While it lasts. *Evil laugh*

trash and treasures

4. On the bright side, you get a lot of professional-looking photos of you standing against a really awesome background. Or it could be just a tree with the occasional rubbish bin beside it but with the right lens, they end up professional-looking as hell anyway. (An 85mm lens, perhaps?) Street couture, if you could call it that.

On the flip side, what good are professional-looking photos on those days when you feel like you look like you just got hit by a truck? Twice.

As a consolation (because they’re sympathetic like that), they’ll tell you the look in your eyes captures the REAL you that they might claim they love. (In my case, i almost always look stoned.) And “damn, doesn’t this lens take very sharp images?!” they might ask before they proceed to kissing their camera bodies and sniffing their lenses like a proud and satisfied hound dog.

stoned look

5. Expect to carry a 2kg camera body with a 4kg lens attached. Next to your bony arms, they look like a fcking bazooka. And you’re that frail little asthmatic soldier who got drafted into the war because the country ran out of better men.

That contraption will be hanging on your neck the whole time too. Either for safekeeping, or for impromptu photoshoots where you automatically take on the role of assistant photographer. Times like that, you wish with all your might you listened more intently to their photography 101 lectures.

(Unfortunately, you won’t develop your biceps. What i can guarantee you, though, is this little injury called a wrist strain? Nothing major. Just a bit of an annoying muscle sore that can last up to 2-3 days.)

6. Speaking of lectures, some of your silliest arguments may revolve around apertures, iso, and shutter speed. In particular, why you still can’t seem to grasp the whole entire concept after they had explained it to you a million gajillion bajillion times. (Nevermind that the whole time they were in the heat of the moment passionately explaining theories, they failed to notice you looking like a deer in the headlights.)

jeff photography

7. They can be very forgiving with the whole waiting game. Because while you’re busy taking your sweet time choosing which eyeshadow color you wanna use for the day, they’re busy debating within themselves which camera to bring and preparing the batteries and the lens and the flash and the tripod and the slider and the gimbal. Oh, and the quadcopter too, just in case.

8. Be prepared to sit alone and mingle with yourself at parties. It could be their friends’ parties but more often than not, they’ll show up as if they’re the official photograper rather than just, you know, a friend. So if you’re the party animal who thrives in dancing with strangers while your guy is busy taking pictures of everybody, good on ya!

But if not, you better learn to camouflage seamlessly with the wall. (Personally, if there’s one thing i’m really really good at, it’s blending right in. With the wall. Or into the chair. Or wherever it is i’m on. It’s fcking magic!)

NYE party

9. Unless they’re narcissists (which they rarely are), they won’t have a lot of pictures of them. Which is sad, i think, because majority of the time they’d rather be behind the lens.

10. They teach you about moments. Because as photographers, they know how fleeting it is. And so they are more appreciative of it. And also more observant.

It might seem ridiculous if they stop you in the middle of your walks just to ask you to look at the bark of a tree because of its amazing texture. The beauty of the flowers that grow on weeds. The bull ants crawling on the ground. Even capturing the slow death of the bee that stung you, offering it words of comfort for its impending demise while you silently nurse your pain and monitor your breathing for any signs of anaphylactic reaction.

As quirky as they can be, they can be such a lovable bunch. I’m lucky to have found such an amazing guy. Who, coincidentally, just happens to take photos for a living.

Holler to those who can relate! =)

we went all the way to tooradin for what?!

fish and chips. all that driving for fish and chips.

but you gotta admit the view’s pretty nice, though.

tooradin, victoriatooradin, victoriatooradin, victoriatooradin, victoriatooradin, victoria

up at the temple of leah with my favorite kidnapper

yoghurt with friends

sometimes i miss the frozen yoghurt — topped with fresh ripe mangoes, crushed graham crackers, and sliced almonds — my all-time favorite, gotta-have-it-now combo. i swear to god it’s really good! and quite healthy too, i reckon.

other times, i miss hanging out with my friends. there’s not a lot of them to miss, to be honest, but i miss the precious few whose loyalty i cannot betray because they hold sufficient classified information about me that’s worthy of a blackmail. and i of them. (so that’s probably why we’ve been friends for so long, huh? as the saying goes, “keep your friends close and your frenemies closer.” lol.)

as reclusive and introverted as i have the tendency to be, i do love them. and i do enjoy hanging out with them. but they have to kidnap me first because otherwise, i take a raincheck. (i’m so bad, i know.) a typical scenario usually involves this kind of phone call:

roma: where are you?

me: um, at home?

roma: okay, we’re on our way there. see you in 10.

and that’s how i practically mastered the art of putting makeup in 5 minutes. the other 5 i spend deliberating over what to wear, only to end up wearing a very boring ensemble of shorts and shirt.

temple of leah, cebutemple of leah, cebu

on this day we drove up to busay to visit the temple of leah, a massive roman-inspired architecture built in 2012 as a symbol of love and devotion from a man to his wife. you can read a better description of the temple here because i can’t be bothered summarizing. but it was truly a magnificent building. it wasn’t even finished yet when we went there so i can just imagine how glorious (not to mention, expensive) it would be when it’s all done up.

busay, cebu

i don’t know how long these pictures have been sitting on my hard drive but it was my kidnapper’s roma’s birthday last saturday, the 14th of february. the day of love. her name a palindrome for the spanish word, amor. which suits her fine because as ferocious as she can get (as far as jelven is concerned), she truly has a one of the biggest hearts i know.

belated happy birthday, romy.

love, your happy victim.

because valentine’s day isn’t just for lovers

it all started with 50 shades of grey. the movie. one of the longest movies i’ve seen in my life which had me choking on my popcorn when i wasn’t rolling my eyeballs over the exaggerated facial expression of ana, particularly when mr. grey touched her cheek on that very first day they met. (jeez. do women actually do that?!) frankly, i’m not crazy about the movie. i haven’t even read the book. never crossed my mind to do so. the only reason i found myself sitting there at dandenong reading cinemas the night before valentine’s day was ‘coz it was sort of like a family bonding with jeff’s cousins and friends. and also because of the popcorn.

i’m not exactly sure if the movie damaged a part of our brains (with jeff complaining to the barista and asking him if he had seen “fifty shades of GAY” while waiting for his drink) but one thing led to another and before you know it, we were suddenly making plans to celebrate valentine’s day with a little dinner here at home.

so that was that.

valentine's day dinner

nothing fancy. just, you know, baked salmon and roasted chicken and fried pork and veggies and all that stuff you substitute for lechon for the simple fact that you’re not in the philippines anymore so lechon is out of the question. of course, as a salute to my newfound (and dare i say exceptional?) culinary skills, i made a significant contribution to the dinner table: mashed potatoes. very gourmet, i know. don’t hate me.

valentine's day dinnervalentine's day dinner

it was a very enjoyable dinner. somehow, even though i’m thousands of miles away from home, having jeff’s family around makes life here quite homey. they’re a loud bunch — sharing funny stories, mostly at nanay’s expense which she smiles off because she can barely hear. especially that. lol. but nanay is very well-loved. and i can’t help but love her too.

compared to his family, mine’s pretty much hush-hush. think quiet conversations while sipping on beer or wine, sharing ideas and opinions and thoughts about life. i know it all sounds boring (bordering on alcoholic) but that’s just how my family is and i love every moment of it. we’re kind of introverted like that. while jeff’s is more extroverted, minus the alcohol.

valentine's day dinner

spent the rest of the night with the girls in the bathroom. trying to resuscitate my so-called makeup skills on these girls who offered to be my guinea pigs. truth be told, i haven’t been practicing on doing makeup for a very long time. it was particularly hard to do kb’s. my eyes gravitated more towards her chest than on her face. lol. lesbo alert.

meanwhile in the lounge room, the guys watched a dvd of the the transformers before we called it a night at around 1am.

it was a happy valentine’s day, indeed. =)

p.s. apparently, stripes was the motif of the day. the others probably didn’t get the memo.