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.

as bipolar as melbourne’s weather

it’s 34 degrees right now. the kind of sunny weather i look forward to as it gives me the chance to do the laundry but now that it’s here…

i find that it’s actually very hot my cleavage is sweating. lol. i kid. i don’t have a cleavage.

but seriously, though. i reckon 34 degrees is about as hot as cebu can get and whether or not i’m here or there, i always complain about the heat when it gets a little too hot to handle. except that when i’m in cebu, i complain about sweating like a piglet on top of the heat. here, i complain about roasting like a piglet because i hardly sweat at all. except for my cleavage.

okay, fine, rib cage!

which got me thinking: what is the perfect weather?

it’s a happy medium i still have to figure out yet because i get extremely cold or hot very easily. but if i have to really, really think about it? i’d say it’s around 25 degrees. the kind that allows you to show off some skin with a bit of light layering (just in case). like that time we went to tooradin and i wore this thin dress that i stole from my sister with just a cardigan over it. that was very good weather for me.

i’m not gonna lie. that very good weather lasted only as long as you could syllabicate the phrase. because come 6pm, i couldn’t be bothered getting out of the car because i was suddenly fucking freezing!

all in all, i think the philippines has the best weather in the world. yep, sweat and all. =)

tooradin, victoriatooradin, victoria

(omigod, i just realized i kind of look like my mom in that right photo above! i don’t know why it comes as a shock to me when i am my own mother’s daughter but… omigod, i so look like my mom right there! guess i’m not adopted, after all.)

and because the heat is starting to make me mad (you know, like, crazy?), allow me to share with you guys these photos of jeff and me working it like supermodels. for an insane asylum.

tooradin, victoriatooradin, victoria

jeff and his humongous face, man!

and when i say humongous, i mean “human monggos.” (mung beans for those who need the translation.)

next to his face, mine looks like a freaking pumpkin. plump. like those giant ones they sell on halloween.

when road trips remind you of home

koo wee rup, victoria

i don’t know a lot of people who don’t like road trips. i know i do. especially when i’m not driving. most especially that. which is a privilege i have been enjoying lately, at the pretext that i can’t drive here yet because (1) i still have to learn the whole right hand drive thing while making sure to keep left on the road; and (2) well, this is gonna sound lame but here goes: i don’t know how to drive automatic. been driving manual for as long as i can remember.

i’m gonna start driving here soon, which would mean goodbye to my leisurely passenger rides. but in the meantime, i’m relishing every moment of it without shame. like i’m doing now with the maja blanca i made earlier today. i’m throwing all modesty out the window: it’s fcking perfect! i tweaked the recipe and guestimated the whole consistency as well as the ingredients to my very own standard of perfection. my mom would be so proud.

so anyway, on to another installment of what seems like our roadtrip chronicles. this time, at koo wee rup. or the back roads of it, for that matter.

where the scenery reminded me so much of home, for some reason.

koo wee rup, victoriakoo wee rup, victoriakoo wee rup, victoriakoo wee rup, victoriakoo wee rup, victoria

nar nar goon: the mural town of victoria

if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’d probably have deduced that i have this serious fascination for old places — ancestral houses, historical landmarks… you know, stuff only your grandmother might be interested in. i just like the stories behind them if i’m not mentally making them up myself.

but more than the stories themselves, i find it amazing how they were able to physically transcend time. a snippet of the past right here in the present. although, essentially, isn’t the past encapsulated in the here and now? aren’t we all vessels of that long-forgotten era where every second immediately becomes the past in a vicious cycle to get to the future?


anyway, nar nar goon kinda felt like that for me. i don’t know how old the town actually is but i’m guessing it’s old. although i’m basing that assumption solely from these murals alone — not because of the age of the murals, but because who the heck still paints on walls to signify what the buildings are there for?!

but you gotta admit it’s pretty cool, though. stumbled upon this website and found out that there are actually more murals scattered all over the place than the ones we saw on the main street. too bad we were just passing through.

guess that puts nar nar goon on my list of “places to visit again.” i can so do a photowalk in this charming little town. (jeff, if you’re reading this, let’s go!!!)

nar nar goon, victorianar nar goon, victorianar nar goon, victorianar nar goon, victoria