Friday, April 29, 2011


To close this month of April, I am letting go of some important aspects of my life;  Facebook is one in particular. As of this writing, my Facebook account is going to be deleted in a few minutes. I will let go of some of the uploaded photographs that I don't have a single copy, but most (90%) of the photos in FB are saved in my portable hard drive... So it is not much of a big loss. Important contacts may be lost, but I still have connections of friends that can lead me back to them, so we'll still be in touch. I cannot explain (yet) why I am going to delete my Facebook account containing 1,349 friends and acquaintances, someday I will. I have collected and saved all the past poems I have uploaded in that account. Thus, I will post all of them here, one poem/post for each day. Therefore, May will be poetry and moving on month. It's moving on but revisiting almost 3 years worth of my Facebook or documented history. The theme for May will be... Looking Back and Moving on.  Not that I have a particular theme every month; but with the number of poems and other posts I have saved from my soon to be deleted Facebook account, it will be almost like I have a theme for next month.

First, Planet Romeo, now Facebook. Perhaps one day I will go back to Facebook, but not now. Deleting my account will not be "that" hard, really. I am ready to delete it any time.

8:52 AM Manila time... Facebook options... Temporary, your account will be deactivated....

Remember, you can reactivate at any time by logging in with your email and password, although you must have access to your current login email address. Also note that your admin status in any groups or events will not be automatically restored after activation.


"I have another Facebook account." - Now this one does not have any options given, meaning once I hit confirm, everything will be deleted.

I will miss Facebook and all my friends there. However, I want a clean start. I still have the photos, hmm.. but what about the tagged photos? Although there are free applications out there that will enable me to download all those photos.

 9:00 AM Manila Time... I chose...

"Your account has been deactivated
To reactivate your account, log in using your old login email and password. You will be able to use the site like you used to.
We hope you come back soon."

So there.. Until the day I decide to go back to that exciting web of connections, Facebook. Goodbye. I have to let you go, for now.

To close this entry, here is a song I just discovered around an hour ago, with my portable Hard Drive unplugged, I browsed Youtube for some videos that might inspire me to write and ease this feeling inside as well as to send a message across (the room). So I found a perfect video from M-Flo featuring Yoshika, which is a very fitting video for my endeavors. Give it a listen and read the translated lyrics too. The song is really nice!

Let Go

Let Go 
by: M-Flo loves YOSHIKA
Translated by: Malraux

How things stand, I couldn't just forget you 
I can't just shut you away 
While I know that we couldn't let it get any deeper 
No matter what, I've got to let you know how I feel 
Especially when I'm giving it all I've got 
I want your heart boy, even if it's just for one moment 

I'm still drowning in this love that cannot be 
I don't want to wake from this dream can't let go
It's selfish, but I don't care 
I want your unwavering love right here 

Come one now baby, come on... 

It all started off with "Hey how you doin'?" 
A love story wound open as we met eye to eye 
And now, I'm left wondering "do love and loss come as a set?" 
Time stands still, even though I left you 

I make myself believe that I'm alright 
Though it hurts my heart for you not to be by my side 
Just wanderin' if you feel the same 
I wanna see if these feelings are for real 

Idling away your life doesn't make you nobody 
So don't be afraid, loosen up your reins 
If you wanna be free, let go... I'm tellin' you 
EGO is terrorism of the heart 

So, just listen 

Though sweet and silent time passes by 
My body, its breaking apart, boy why does it have to be like this? 

I'm envoloped by dark anxiety. (I feel like I'm going to break.) 
Oh why do I try to monopolise love? 
All without saying a thing 
All I want is for your love to be right here 

I lept aboard just as the Love Train's doors began to shut 
A man who doesn't like to wait, straight no chase 
Speeding towards the reality we now face. run, run run, 
The hands on my watch don't stop 
The magic that only works once, the key to destiny 
How suddenly things changed, it ridicules logic 
Don't hurry and Mr. Heartbreak might stay 
Rewind, fade, the memory returns 

Tell me how to be free 
Oh baby, oh baby 
Will my heart be free 
So tell me even for just a moment

Translated lyrics from 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

JPOP Addiction (part 3): Utada Hikaru (live)

I think by this time most of you already know that I am so much addicted to Utada Hikaru. She is on top of my most favorite artists of all, ever! I wanted so much to go to one of her concerts, too bad she's already retired, at age 27. However, she left us with her timeless music, immortalized.

For a change, here is a playlist of some her songs, all live versions. This is dedicated to all Jpop listeners out there, specially to all Utada Hikaru fans! Songs in the playlist are from her Bohemian Summer(2000) and Utada United(2006) concerts.

Music Playlist at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Manila, Easter Sunday Photowalk (part 2)

 The siblings
The siblings

Bananas in the crowd
Bananas in the crowd
A man peddles boiled bananas in the middle of the crowd under the soft morning sun.

Go ate, do the walk!
Go ate, do the walk!

Bikes can carry more
Bikes can carry more
Bikes can carry more than people and things, smiles too.

Family Day
Family day
Sunday is family day

Stroller strolling down the street
Stroller strolling down the street
A baby taken out for a Sunday morning walk

The boy looks for food in old ice cream containers his family brought to store food.

                      Can't walk well, so he bikes
                      Can't walk well, so he bikes
Disability is not hindrance to move.

                      Not a money for food
                      Not a money for food
A scavenger opens up a plastic bag of thrown food, hoping to find scraps for breakfast.

                      Morning bathers
                      Morning bathers
Rest after a refreshing swim.

                      Morning bathers II
                      Morning bathers II

                     Divine shelter
Father and daughter seeks shelter for the night under a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Manila, Easter Sunday Photowalk (part 1)

                                       Balloon Man
                                       Balloon Man

                                      Balloon Man and the Flower Woman
                                      Balloon Man and the Flower Woman

                                     The boy and the morning sun
                                    The boy and the morning sun
A young boy selling balloons on a Sunday morning. I pray to God that one day he will be living a better life. Just dream boy, just dream and go for them.

Fishing for lunch
Fishing for lunch
A man, waiting for a bite. His catch will be his lunch or if he's lucky, will last for the whole day.

The busy Sunday bathers
The busy Sunday bathers
Southern part of Manila's Baywalk, filled with weekend swimmers.

The busy Sunday bathers II
The busy Sunday bathers
The northern view of baywalk, filled with weekend swimmers.

Out with friends
Out with friends

Sunrise smiles
Sunrise smiles
A mom and her friend, smiling at the morning Sunday sun.

Space-retro bikes
Space-retro bikes

Family Day II
Family Day II

The lady at the house of God
The lady at the house of God
An old lady at the church. I was watching her for a while. She's not really begging for money, but just stands there. She has a very beautiful face, one can even tell how beautiful she was when she was younger. Her tattooed eyebrows and sharp nose, tells something about her past and her ancestry. I kept on wondering what happened to her, what made her to what she is and what is she doing there. I can tell she's not like that in the past, but what happened?

When everyone went home
When everyone went home
Manila's Red Light district, early in the morning, when everyone was either taken home or went home.

Oh my morning
Oh my morning
Near the front of a famous gay club. All that's left after a night of merry drinking and dancing, are the scandalous stories of love and lust on the street where many hearts find refuge and cravings indulged.

Susi or sushi?

Morning Sun
Morning Sun
A peaceful scene on an Easter Sunday morning. A piece of a little peace, in the middle of Manila's clubbing district.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Black and White Nude Portrait in Square Format

Square 01

Cropping the image to a square frame makes the composition safe and the standard rules of composition are somewhat dismissed, thus, interpretation of the whole image changes.... Making it compact.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Selecting lenses for your shooting style

Lenses are very important, they are the eyes of your camera, for obvious reasons. One thing I love about Canon is that they have so many lenses to fit a lot of budgets. They generally have two kinds of lenses. One is the general type of lenses that fits a wide variety of budget types and the L lenses. The L in the L lenses stands for Luxury. These lenses are very expensive, some are even more expensive than a car or even a house. They are heavy, bulky, and attention grabbing. Despite all the bulk in price and size, these are the top of the line lenses Canon has and are very very sharp, as in "I can see your pores" sharp and fast (more about this in another post), most L lenses are weather sealed.

So what lenses do you need? Again, what do you want to shoot?

  • Portraits - the longer the focal range and the wider the aperture, the better. Lenses with wide apertures are essential in portraiture, because it gives a very nice bokeh or depth of field. Bokeh is the blur used to isolate the subject from its background or foreground. Focal range also affects the the amount of background blur. Factors affecting blur are: Aperture and the subject's distance from the background as well as the photographer's distance from the foreground. However, when choosing the focal range of the lens, you better consider the working space you will be using. 
  • Landscapes - wide lenses are primarily used in this type of photography. There are Wide Angles and Ultra Wide Angles, wide starts at 35mm(or so) below, You really don't need a wide aperture to shoot landscapes, because during the night, you will need a tripod for those light streaks and you will absolutely need a tripod to shoot night time landscapes because you will be using a small aperture to make everything in the frame sharp.
  • Street Photography/Documentary - You need a fast lens. In street photography, not only you need your best judgement to spot a subject but also speed. A certain scene can be gone away in a few seconds, so you better be armed with a fast lens on this type of photography.  There are two ways to do documentary or street photography... The "In the Scene" style, where the photographer blends in with the crowd of where he searches for a particular scene or subject, he gets to know them and interacts with his environment. This way, the photographer becomes invisible and accepted by blending and interacting, people gets comfortable with his presence allowing him to shoot as he like and has their silent "go ahead take a picture" acknowledgment. The "Invisible Stalker" type, the one that shoots from far away and keeps his presence hidden from his subjects or makes them think he is not shooting them at all, one will need a fast telephoto lens for this style of street shooting.
  • Macro - Taking super close ups of different objects requires a special lens called Macro lens. Macro lenses allows the photographer to take super close ups by enabling them to focus on the subject at super near distances, like several inches close. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

JPOP Addiction (part 2): JPOP playlist of various artists

To further share my addiction to JPOP, here are some of the JPOP songs I have in my Hard Drive. I have a lot, so I've chosen the most catchy ones I think would be able to get your attention. Do give the playlist a listen and I hope you'll like the songs.

Music Playlist at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1st Blogsarry

It has been exactly a year since I started the Bohemian Diary, it has been a year since I was officially diagnosed as someone living with HIV.  I started this blog with one goal in mind, to reach out to others living with the virus and to share my experiences as someone with it. I managed to reach out and connect myself with people living with the virus, from abroad and of course, locals. I've interacted and corresponded with a number of people. From the newly diagnosed, and those living with it for years, and to people with a more drastic CD4 count than mine. I've met a few, connections established and friendships started.

Day 1... Usually it takes about 1 week for the initial screening results to come out. When I was not able to get it within the first week, I knew I have it. So when the day finally came that I will get the document from San Lazaro's SACCL clinic, I was so damn prepared. All that courage and strength went away when I thought that everything I have is going to be gone in just a few years. That I will not live long enough to fulfill my dreams, that I will die soon even before I will be able to forgive my mom or myself for hating her and my brother; or not living long enough to learn how to play the guitar, ride a bike, go to Japan, learn to swim, become a famous writer, become a well known and respected photographer, and to know my dad more. I was scared that I will stop dreaming and will just wait for my turn to die. All of those thoughts went crashing down in me, and that was the time it all fell down. I broke down in tears on the Photographer's shoulders that day, it was Tuesday. On that day I decided I will write, start a blog, and perhaps be able to reach out to the world and show them how is it to live with the virus. It was never easy during the first day, first week, and first month. A lot of sleepless and emotional nights went by.

Evolution... The blog transformed from an HIV blog into a some sort of music and photography blog with bits of poetry and stories in between... Evidence of me being able to move on from that sick kid to the kid, living his life. As I grew with the virus, I learned to accept it. Everybody will eventually die, it is how we face and prepare for it. I am not ready to face it, yet, not anytime soon. So I decided that I will live and I chose freedom. Freedom from all the pain of senseless, emotional and fucked up melancholic episodes and walk forward to what I want to be and achieving my dreams. I've always wanted to blog and writing has always been my frustration. So here I am, still writing about my life and the thoughts I want to share. Living my life as I want it to be, and continuously dreaming and sharing them. Sharing the dramas and all the pains, the melancholy and all the happiness, the challenges and achievements, and all sorts of things along the way.

If someone would ask me, how is it to live with HIV? I would say... "It's almost the same as if I never knew, but only this time I appreciate life more than ever before."

If someone would ask me, what will be your message to all the depressed people living with HIV out there? I would say... "Being sad is such a waste of time, stand up from the shadows of melancholy and walk forward to happiness. It is only a matter of choice. Life is so beautiful to waste on such a non-productive state. Never stop dreaming and get them one by one!"

If someone would ask me, what would be your message to the world? ..."Live life, be alive."

To all the people I've met and known through this blog, may our friendship continue to grow as we move on and live. To all the readers and followers of the Bohemian Diary, thank you from the deepest depths of my heart. Thank you for all the kind words, comments, violent reactions, emails, and encouragements in all forms, I appreciate every one of them.

This is the window to my universe, unfolding itself to the eyes of the world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Way We Were (the versions, then and now)


36 years ago...

I like both versions, of course, we cannot really compare because the icon and the diva both have unique singing styles. The icon is already there and it was because of her that there are immortal songs like "The Way We Were", the diva still has a long way to go. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anatomy of a lens model name

With so many lenses to choose from, here are something crucial to learn about lenses, the model types. I have two lenses, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS and the 50mm F1.8 II, such long names for a lens, right? Whether you are a Canon user or a Nikon user, it is very important that you understand why lenses have long model names, what are those numbers about? What's an IS and n F stands for?

Let's use the Canon EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS as our material to dissect on the matter, shall we?

Anatomy of a lens model name:

Lens model (Canon)= <brand> + <generation> + <focal range> + <aperture range> <extra features>

Lens model (all brands)= <brand> + <focal range> + <aperture range> <extra features>

NOTE: any extra set of letters after the aperture range are extra features of a lens, this applies to all lens manufacturers.

Canon has two generations of lenses, the EF and EF-S, the latter being the new generations. Distinguishable marks on both lenses are their red dot and white squares near the back side of the lens. A red dot means a lens is an EF and a little white square means it is from the family of EF-S lenses. EF lenses are the standard lenses made by Canon decades ago when they launched their Single Lens Reflex cameras, or otherwise known as SLRs.  EF-S lenses were only introduced in 2003, therefore, older cameras cannot use EF-S lenses but all cameras can use the EF lenses.

The "S" in EF-S stands for short back focus, the construction of the back end of the lens was designed to sit back deeper into the lens body, this has something to do with the cameras sensor size, which is smaller than the high end full frame cameras. EF-S lenses can only be used by APS-C sensor cameras, in other words, any camera that does not have a full frame sensor can use this lens. To see if your camera body is compatible with the EF-S and/or EF lenses, check the presence of the red dot and white square on the mount ring, it is where the lens is mounted to the camera's body.

Focal Range:
Is the focal length coverage of a lens. 18-55mm means it can cover a focal length of 18mm up to 55mm, obviously. The smaller the number of a lens' reach the wider coverage it can capture in a single frame like an 8mm, 10mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm, etc.  The higher the number of a lens' focal reach, the longer or farther it can see, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, etc. Meaning, if you are using an 18-250mm, you can zoom up to 250mm, that's pretty far.

Aperture Range:
Defines how much light the lens can take in. It also defines how much the blades inside the lens can open up, to allow light in. The smaller the number, the wider the aperture can open. The wider the aperture can open, the more light it can take in; the faster the shutter will be. You will want a faster shutter speed during low light conditions wherein it will be challenging (but not hard) to keep your subjects in focus because the shutter is slow. The shutter is low because the it needs more light to capture the subject (clearly), so it remains open for a couple of milliseconds or even seconds in a single take. So if you have a lens with a wider aperture, the faster the shutter speed will be.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS  - The widest the aperture is at F3.5, as the user zooms in a subject, the aperture changes down to F5.6 maximum.

Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM - The aperture can be wide open at F2.8 in the entire focal range.

Also, maximum aperture opening can also affect how much depth of field can be achieved by your lens.   A depth of field is the distance between the farthest and nearest objects to the sharpest point in a frame. In other words, this is the blur of the foreground and the background of a subject. The wider the aperture, the shorter the depth of field is, and the blur is creamier.

So, aperture affects two aspects,  1 is the shutter speed and 2 is the depth of field.

Extra Features:

Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM - This lens has IS and USM

IS - stands for Image Stabilizer. Most lenses that have apertures smaller than F2.8 have IS to compensate for the slow shutter speed the camera will be experiencing during low light shooting. Slower shutter speeds means that during low light, the photographs' clarity will be affected due to camera shake (user related issue), Image Stabilization corrects this.

USM - Ultra Sonic Motor, lenses with USM focuses silently and faster. My 50mm lens does not have USM, and it does focuses with a bit of noise and it takes a while (milliseconds) for it to get a focus point in low light conditions.

L - Stands for luxury. If see a Canon lens that has a letter "L" in the name, it is surely to be very expensive.

Other examples of lens names from third party lens manufacturers:

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why I don't hear mass

One day me and Angel went to hear mass in our neighborhood. In that church, most worshippers were either celebrities or members of Metro Manila's business elite. Parking spaces outside the church are as cramped as Greenhills on a Holiday sale, and you can feast your eyes with the best cars money can buy. Along the long sermon of the priest, he uttered words like... "it is unacceptable to the eyes of God to be wealthy because one forgets praising God. Blessed are the poor because they constantly pray and needs God". Does he know what he's saying? Does he see and know the social classes of those who goes to his church? Does the priest realize that the wealthy gives huge and significant amounts of money to his church? The wealthy are the ones who support the maintenance of his house of God. I get his point, but he should have said it in a unoffending way. The statement was very discriminating. 

This way back, on my way to see a friend, I went to light a few candles on the "candle praying" part of the church . There was a mass going on, and I silently lit a candle and said my prayers. All of a sudden, the priest just made a momentary comment on how catholics must not support a certain politician because that person is corrupt and and if ever that person is running again for a seat in the local politics, nobody should vote for that person. "That" politician won a seat in the past election. Isn't judging a person bad? We can accuse any politician as corrupt, but like any criminal, they are innocent until proven guilty. That priest just judged a person.

While I was waiting for a ride home, I was in front of a popular church. I heard the priest say "we are not to support the RH bill because it promotes sin! It is against the words of God, humayo kayo at magparami!" ...It was a Sunday. The church was already overflowing with mass goers, multiply that crowd three to five times, and there can a huge number of heads to feed. I made a comment in silence... "who is going to feed the children of those families, multiply, can you multiply their income?"

It has been a long time since I went to hear mass, because I chose not to. I respect the catholic church and their teachings, but I hope that the priests can be sensitive enough to what they preach and how they say it in a not so offensive way. I know how powerful and influential the catholic church is, but aren't they the ones who should promote spirituality, love, and equality? Aren't they the ones who should be responsible enough to promote awareness of certain social problems, like population growth? I do hope some priests do practice what they preach. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

My First Client Project

"I am just a hobbyist" that is what I tell my friends and other people I met when they ask me if I shoot professionally or if I am invited to shoot for an event of some sort or if someone ask me to shoot a portrait of them or someone they know. One line I usually say is "I am not skilled enough". My eyes were opened and a little boost of self esteem was awakened when a client (yes my first client), liked the photographs I shot for their group.

Sometime last week, someone sent me an email inviting me to be one of the photographers for their first ever outdoor group photo session for their organization. Because of the nature of their group and their cause, I immediately said yes, I was nervous. I was never asked to shoot anything by anyone specially a stranger to shoot anything outside my office spaces. This one, was what I consider my first client. I was excited.  The email was sent to me a few days before the group activity.

A day before the shoot, I met the client in a mall in Quezon city, giving me the heads up of proper decorum and setting proper expectations. We agreed and I left for work. The next day which was just a few hours afterwards, I left our office and tagged a friend along. We walked to Ayala Triangle and had a few sticks of cigarettes with both of us sipping hot chocolate while watching the light drizzle of rain along Ayala avenue outside McDonalds. I was already tinkering my camera, making sure I had the right settings in place for the weather condition. The client finally arrived and picked us up. A few minutes after, the drizzling stopped and the event proceeded. There were four photographers, me and a friend were two of them, the two were professionals, and one videographer.

I was armed with my trusty Canon 500D and my favorite 50mm F1.8 II lens. My lens was cheap, the cheapest among Canon's lineup of lenses, but it was my favorite (well, I only had two). The other three photographers had Nikon D90s and a D3000, one had a full frame Nikon DSLR, I forgot the model name but I think it was full frame with an 50mm F1.4 lens attached to it. I was blown away with the armory of lenses and SLR bodies as well as lights the other photographers have. The videographer was shooting video using a NIkon D90.

I did my shots with the usual style that I do, shooting close to the subject, getting into the action and looking at the geometry produced by human movements and their group formations. I wanted to capture the rawness of their movements and the subtleness of their emotions. I did not use any flash and my ISO was at a constant 100. I was switching between the AV and Manual modes of my camera, AV does the work, but light changes so fast due to the moving sky, so I quickly change to manual so I can further control the image that I wanted to produce. The weather was very cloudy with the occasional sunlight seeping through the clouds, it was that moment where the magic glow happens. When that little bit of soft sunlight touches the subject's skin giving them that truly amazing glow was a pleasure to shoot. My camera's aperture was at a constant 1.8 so I can isolate the subject very easily from the background, although I had difficulty selecting the focus that I want and my lens hunts quite a bit for the focus points due to erratic lighting changes, I had the results I wanted.

While shooting, I think I already tried a lot of shooting positions. I lied on the ground, knelt, ran because my lens doesn't have any zoom in or zoom out capabilities (disadvantage of using a prime lens) so I zoom on foot, I stood, and a whole lot of other positions. The left thigh of my jeans got torn because of kneeling and I was sweating like hell. In the end, everything was worth it, because I believe in this group's cause and purpose.  After all, this is what I wanted to do in the first place. Sharing my talent and vision with other people and using it to promote an advocacy I believe in.

For post processing I used Lightroom 1. Yes, the first version of the legendary software is all my Mac can use because of its low RAM requirement. My Mac is ancient, so I use softwares light enough to run on its old but very reliable hardware. Good thing I already spent a lot of hours during my previous rest days learning how to post-process photographs. I was not a believer of post-processing before, primarily because I don't own a software yet. Now that I have one, I greatly believe in the importance of post-processing.  It greatly enhances the photograph, but take note, that a great deal of essence and soul of a photograph is still from the composition.

I was very nervous and excited to submit the photographs to my client. When I finally gave the copies, I was anxiously waiting for my client's feedback of the photographs. Later on, a judgement was made. Two words struck me... "mind-blowing" and "awesome. Words which made me sport a smile, the whole day at the office. I can't wait until their next activity and until they invite me again to work for them. This was my first advocacy related work and I am looking forward for more advocacy projects in the future.

I'm very happy that my client is happy. I guess I've somewhat grown from being just a simple hobbyist,  I still like the term, and I will keep that way. A few more projects and more happy clients then I can consider myself a photographer, a Humanitarian Photographer. I am Canonista, corporate slave, hobbyist, advocate, blogger, humanitarian photographer.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I wanted to believe in all the words that I was speaking
As we moved together in the dark
And all the friends that I was telling
And all the playful misspellings
And every bite I gave you left a mark

As tiny vessels oozed into your neck
And formed the bruises
That you said you didn't want to fade
But they did and so did I that day

All I see are dark gray clouds
In the distance, moving closer with every hour
So when you'd ask, "Is something wrong?"
I'd think, "You're damn right there is
But we can't talk about it now
No, we can't talk about it now"

So one last touch and then you'll go
And we'll pretend that it meant something so much more
But it was vile, and it was cheap

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Quick Guide to Canon's camera line-up

I have been a Canon user since my first digicam. My very first camera was a point and shoot Minolta film camera. My point and shoots were all Canon, so therefore, my DSLR body is also a Canon. I am already quite familiar with Canon's camera lineup due to a lot of research done when I was selecting my camera body. I have nothing against Nikon, but my choice of camera body simply depends on what I have used and learned to use ion the past. I learned more about photography using Canon cameras, therefore I choose Canon cameras. It's as simple as that.

NOTE: X = number

XXXXD - 1000D/1100D
These cameras are the sub-entry level or entry level type of cameras, they are cheap and have the most basic functions of a DSLR. Canon just recently launched the 1100D that comes with HD video recording capabilities and they come in several colors! Oh by the way, I learned that the 1100D bodies has built in remote trigger functions for external flash units, no need to buy radio remotes!

XXXD - 350D/450D/500D/550D/600D
This is the entry level line of Canon. It has high definition video recording and a jack for an external mic(550D). The fps is a bit faster than XXXXD series, built-in noise reduction feature is useful, and feels more solid than the lower models.

XXD - 30D/40D/50D/60D
Semi-pro models start in this line. Predecessors of the 60D has a magnesium alloy body, which makes it more durable but heavier. 60D is the first XXD model to have a plastic body, but sports a multi swivel LCD, it has video recording too. XXD line of cameras has significant weather sealing and the 60D has built in filters as well as a built in remote flash trigger function.

XD - 7D/5D/1D
Professional line starts here, all bodies are made of solid magnesium alloy bodies and all are bulky and heavy, all are weather sealed and can take a beating in all shooting situations, specially the ID.

I read somewhere that the nature photographer cleans his Canon 1D using a water spray bottle to rinse out the dirt.

The fps are fast, video recording is outstanding, they have more focus points. The 7D has a built in level meter which is useful when hand holding your camera and knowing whether you are holding it straight enough. Full Frame sensors start at the 5D, and the 1D does not have a flash but has a built in battery grip. 6 digit price range starts at the 5D as well.

Rising numbers; population and unemployment

World oil prices also rely on political stability of the countries where it is harvested or the stability of the countries surrounding its source. Transportation of barrels of oil relies on some of the said factors, and we cannot do a lot on those aren't we? One thing most of us has control, is the country's population growth.

In the local scene, the RH bill raised(and still raising) a lot of controversy across all walks of life and across all beliefs. Personally, I am pro RH Bill. I have been ranting on the country's fast population growth ever since my mind was opened on what poverty means. I saw first hand how the masses multiply by bearing one baby after another and yet, the head of the household earns barely enough to feed all the hungry mouths of the household. In time, those hungry babies and kids will become teenagers and adults, they will either be a useful part of the country's workforce or of the growing number of the unemployed. Poverty is indeed one root of unemployment, because of lack of skill or education for those who cannot afford to; they are having a hard time getting hired.

I do believe that population control is one major key to pull our country from its third world status. We share a common factor with other third worlds, an ever rising population. We do have a lot of openings in many industries, but the lack of skill of the existing workforce makes it more challenging for companies to hire qualified personnel. However, realistically speaking, there are not enough jobs in the country for everyone, that's why many seek opportunities abroad, thus, high population finds its way in the niche of the problem.

Regarding population control, the clash between the so called "conservative" part of society and those who are sane enough to promote what is practical and realistic, are such amusement and annoyance; can't we all just pass the bill (RH bill) and get on with our lives? I am not writing to promote that said bill (yes, I want that bill to be passed), but to rant my feelings about how ignorant or close minded some people and sectors of society can be on the consequences of improper family planning, unsafe sex, and the ballooning population of our country. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Audio-Technica ATH SJ11 (review)

I am a big fan of beautiful headphones. Although I have owned quite a number of different earphones ranging from the native Apple iPod earphones to Sony's to Sennheiser's. My first great pair of headphones was Sennheiser's, it lasted more than two years before it finally retire when the right cup was not playing a sound anymore, then the left cup followed.

I bought this baby a couple of hours ago in SM Fairview's Podworx. It was the replacement of a pair of Skullcandy in-ear earphones I bought last December, lasted less than 3 months. Not durable at all in it's price range.  It has a warranty, but unfortunately no model has been shipped for the past couple of weeks. So they gave me a discount on any brand of headphones or earphones I want.

I have a limited budget of P2,000; although I do intend to charge it using my credit card, I will not buy a pair beyond the budget I had in mind. So I scanned the rack for any pair that I want and set my eyes to the Audio-Technica section. The models on display are blacks, and whites with pink bands. The picky me wanted a white pair, pure white. So I scanned other models that I later found to be beyond the P2,000 mark. I went back to the AHT-SJ11 rack and browsed each pair that was on display looking for any pure white pairs. Gladly, at the very end of the stacks of headphones and behind all the hanging plastic cases, hangs a pristine white pair. The one and only pure white pair. I quickly stashed all the hanging headphones aside and grabbed the white set. These pair are so pristine and clean.

The headphones are so white that I'm afraid I'll be having challenges keeping it that way. I don't have a car and I have a long commute to and from work. Pollution and dirty sweat might ruin its whiteness. The cups are padded with smooth and soft white synthetic leather. The headphones' body are made of matte finished plastic and the cups are topped with a glossy center on the outer part. The cord is of standard quality and texture as compared to most Sennheiser's models, it is pure white all the way to the plug.


This pair is super light, it's so light it feels cheap. Actually it does feel cheap, but it does not look like one. When I first picked up the pair out from it's meticulously sealed plastic encasement (one sign a high end product), I asked myself, "what am I paying for this pair"?  I never owned a pair so light! My last headphones were such a heavy bulk to carry and wear. For P1,999 and just P1 below my budget limit, I sure wanted to know what I paid for.


Hear we go... This is where I realized what I paid for. This is the clearest pair of portable audio listening device I have ever owned! Ever! I was drowned in beautiful music streaming from my Samsung Corby Qwerty. While I was walking away from the Mac store and along the mall aisles, I listened to different genres of music I have and using different listening modes of my phone's audio player. From the rock setting, to dynamic, to surround, to everything else. It delivered exceptionally clear sound. The best setting that I now prefer is the "normal" setting.

When I say clear, I mean sound clarity. Unlike the previous pairs I owned, that has powerful bass sounds; this one has too, however, it does not overpower the other instruments specially the vocals.  The bass is there, but only when there is actually bass and it does not concentrate on delivering just that.

I listened to different music genres I have in my phone to check just how well this baby will deliver clarity of sounds. 

When I played Underoath's  Reinventing Your Exit, I can hear all the instruments and can tell them apart; the drums, the cymbals, the lead guitar, the bass guitar, and the keyboards, and the rest of the electronic effects. I also have a new level of appreciation to the growls in this particular song. Even if the singer growls so loud, it does not overpower the other instruments in the song, I can even understand the growl. Even at extremely high volume, the sound is exceptionally clear.

Switching to pop... I played Utada Hikaru's Heart Station, goosebumps swelled up on my arms. The sound is just so clear! I can actually hear all instruments, a good bass, the smooth keyboards, and the rest of the instruments are all in harmony. I can hear them all! The vocals are clear too! It was such a very beautiful listening experience.

I don't have r&b tracks in my phone, closest is the Jpop group M-Flo with their track L.O.T. that sounds R&B-ish, but not quite. It has a lot of bass 'though. Listening to this track, the strong bass really showed in this track, it was strong; but not overwhelmingly strong that it drowns the other instruments.

I played Fall Out Boy's Sugar We're Going Down. As expected, it delivered clear music. I can tell the difference between the lead guitar and the secondary guitar and all the other instruments. Playing Radiohead's High and Dry drove me nuts(in a good way).

I suddenly remembered I have a 5 year old iPod in my closet, so I quickly stood up, and charged it! Now I can listen to all the genres of music I have in my extensive and ever expanding music library. In my iPod are all the R&B tracks I have as well as the Jazz and Bossa Nova songs I collected through the years as well as the gay songs that most you already might have an idea of who the artists are. 

R&B part 2
Playing Usher's Confessions, I don't only hear the bass, I can actually feel it! The power of the headphone's bass delivery is greatly shown playing bass heavy R&B tracks such as the one mentioned... 4 Minutes by Avant,  and the bass laden tracks of Maxwell. The song Fortunate by Maxwell is heavy on bass, and I can almost feel bass speakers inside my head through this magnificent baby.  Mariah Carey's squeals sounds delightful; Erykah Badu's Bag Lady has  a lot of percussion instruments sounding clearly and distinct.

Leif garret's When I think of You, the saxophone just sounded so sexy; then I quickly played Lee Ritenour's Dreamwalkin'... jazz never sounded so good.

Bach To The Future by BNM Corp sounded amazingly clear, high on bass and smooth keyboards and electronics. Breathe by Telepopmusik is wonderful.

Playing Coldplay songs(the song In My Place in particular) with this new pair was an ecstatic experience, my hairs stand on their ends! 

As of this writing, the headphones have been on my ears for a solid 4 hours, and my ears are not sweating at all. The Sennheiser HD 201 (my previous headphone) made my ears sweat during several hours of use, mainly because it is that tight on the ears to prevent sound leakage and to cancel the noise from outside sources. The soft interior of the earcups are very comfortable for hours of music playing. The lightness of the headphones' body is a great plus when doing a music marathon. The headband is not too tight that it stresses the earlobes, but tight enough not to leak the sound as well as to solidly deliver the music directly into the listener's ears.


The headphones can be folded for portability and the cups fold out when resting on your collarbone, making it easy to move around and to turn your head left and right without any obstructions from the resting earcups.


This pair is just so easy to recommend. If you are looking for a not so expensive pair of headphones that delivers exceptional clarity, simple zen-like aesthetics (applicable only to the pure white models), ultra light body, comfortable cups, and portability... The Audio-Technica SJ11 is the model to get. Perfect for the audiophile on a budget.

You can also check-out myAKG K518LE (review) Here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Top 10s +2: The Beatles (part 1 of 2)

Plus two tracks to make it 12 of my favorite Beatles songs. I just love their songs! Enough said. I just can't help it, I'm a Beatles addict and I just want to share.

Music Playlist at

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Top 10s: Most favorite movies of all time.

I have a lot of favorite movies. Ironically, I am not a movie type of guy, at all! I rarely like to go out and watch the latest movies, or watch movies, period. To the few movies that catches my interest, one thing important to me is cinematography, then the plot and acting.

So here are 10 of just some of my most favorite movies, with 1 liner comments from yours truly.


A story about war, love, hate, and revenge; a movie of visual feasts of colors and moods.


A colorful sci-fi drama of characters with broken hearts and broken lives.

Bangkok Love Story

Love knows no boundaries, and transcends through time, undying.

Cape No. 7

A light, feel good movie to warm your heart, make you smile and feel mushy inside.


A movie about heroine addicts and the choices they make.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

An extraordinary drama about two brothers; this movie broke my cold wall between me and my younger brother. I can relate so much to this movie.

Dancer in the Dark

You will love your mother more after watching this film. Warning: this movie is very depressing.

Letters from Iwo Jima

I never appreciated such talent and drama in a war movie until I have watched this film.

House of Flying Daggers

How far will you go for love, how will you fight for it?

Across the Universe

A feel good musical that will leave you singing to the songs of the Beatles.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To my brother...

I never talked about you to anyone. I never was proud of you. I never wanted you in the first place. Everything was full of hate. I was full of hate, all I've given you was hate and pain. As you grew up and as I become older, I was not any bit wiser.

I hated you for all the wrong reasons. It wasn't your fault that our lives were in the dumps, that we grew up not knowing where our next meal would come from. It's not the son's fault that his Father was a sinner (after all, we all are). It's not your fault that we had to suffer from your Father's carelessness or lack of care and responsibility in the first place.

You were born when I was 7. I had to take care of you while mom was out looking for a job, or when she finally had one, I had to stay home and look after you. As you grow older and we continue to move from town to town, city to city, looking for cheaper houses to rent; I had to juggle being your older brother and earning from the streets. It was hard, the long walks, the hot sun, the shameless yelling and peddling, carrying that basket of good from across town. It wasn't easy being the eldest, and you know what? It wasn't easy to hear you cry because you don't have any milk. It broke my heart yet I can't do anything, kuya was not able to sell enough goods to buy you milk. Whenever you had asthma attacks, it was never easy to see mom burst into tears not knowing where to get the money to buy your expensive medicines. It was never easy for me thinking that you would suffer and die just because we didn't have any money. If kuya have been older that time, I might have crawled my self into prostitution, but no, I wasn't. I was only a kid and I didn't know what to do.

Your father died when you were only a baby. Mom was devastated, but I was happy. It was one of the happiest moments of my childhood life. We did survive without him, and was happier, at least I was.

You grew up like any ordinary baby to a toddler, to a young kid. Until I noticed you can't speak well. Mom never knew regarding my thoughts about the matter, but I was worried that you were sick. As you grew up, the manifestations of your mental shortcomings began to show. Not long, you were diagnosed with MID (Mild Intellectual Disability). Mom purged all her money to your checkups and schooling. While I... In silence and in my head...  Wanted you to be as normal as you can be. 

You gained medals in school that your kuya never had in his academic life. I am proud of you for taking care of mom as I went away at age 18. 'though you did ran away when you were younger and was lost for three years, you were miraculously brought back knocking to our tiny apartment's door one day.

How I wish you can read well, so you can read this letter of mine. Telling you how sorry I am for not being a good brother to you. I am proud of you, bro. You and mom will never go hungry again, neither of us will. We will lead better lives and you will be a better boy. Kuya will always be here, as I learn to let go the of the hate I had and learn to love you more.

I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused.

Andito na ang kuya.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4:59 A.M. April 05, 2011 Tuesday

Yesterday, after reading several blogs, browsing photographs and reading stories about Humanitarian Photography. My passion to reach out and give back to society is further fueled. Even back when I was still in college, I have been wanting to somehow give back what I can to society. Back then, I would volunteer to teach for free to computer illiterate adults and teenagers in the towns surrounding our school. The most fulfilling moment at that time when this mother approached me and said how much she appreciates my time and effort in teaching parents like her, her kids wouldn't help her learn the basics on how to use a computer, but I did. I usually taught a class of 15 to 20 heads per session, I did this in between classes because I had a 2 hour gap from one subject to the next one. When my friends go to the mall and hangout, I chose to teach in whatever subject I can, that time was about computers because I was a Computer Science major. It was a small thing compared to what a lot of dedicated individuals do for their cause and advocacy, but it was a small step to touching the lives of others and helping the illiterate become skilled individuals, or simply, how to use a computer and to do productive things on it.

Now that I have something to use as a tool to reach out and show the world, my craft, photography... Will be the catalyst for reaching out. Reaching to those who are in need, to see their lives, to see their happiness in spite of their struggles. For me to let those who can help, help them lead better lives. By showing them the beauty and the brokenness of the hearts and lives of those in need. I am not visioning this endeavor to someday become famous or to profit from it, no. Simply because it has a personal impact on me. I witnessed and experienced poverty first hand. Now that I have something to give, I want to help those living in poverty, to be helped at, to be heard, to be seen, to dream, and to fulfill those dreams.

When I was diagnosed with HIV, and finally came out from a short stage of depression. I wanted to reach out to other newly diagnosed individuals, that this condition is not a death sentence, but a new lease on life. During my first few trips to San Lazaro hospital, I saw in their cramped rooms in the H4 ward, dark faces and fragile souls. I saw how heartbreaking the final stages of AIDS were. I saw people in beds so fragile and thin, it's like their soul was taken out from them. I cannot bare to look at them in the eye. As my visits to the hospital became regular, the sight of the sickly people became normal to me. I wanted to talk to them, I wanted to reach out. I want to hear their voices and their stories, the battles they fought through the stages of this condition. I know that someday I will be in one of those beds, so while I am this strong now, I want to hear the stories and share them to the rest of the world. For the uninfected to understand,  and see what we are going through, most of all, that many of my co-infected are living in poverty, that they have no access to medicines; because not all medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS are free. I want the world and  the people of our country to know that they need help, and we need prevention.

Storytelling through photography will be my medium for my vision.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A practical guide on choosing a DSLR (Canon bodies only)

There so many options for potential buyers out there, whether one is a beginner or an advanced enthusiast or perhaps a professional. So many brands and models to fit a lot of budgets. For me, I chose an entry level body that fit my budget that time, with features that I think are enough for my needs and a camera body that will grow with me as my skills improve. I will definitely buy lenses in the near future, but a body? That will depend if my shooting style will be more demanding.

Here are things to consider before swiping that plastic card or withdrawing a hefty amount of bills from your stash. The tips are more focused on first time photography enthusiasts and first time DSLR buyers.

1.) Why do you want to have a DSLR? - This is something that you may want to think of first before buying one. A DSLR body ranges from prices of around P25k for a sub entry level body, to around P35k-P45k for an entry level body, around P50k-P60k for a mid level DSLR, and P70k up to P400k for professional levels. Why you want to have this type of camera is important because you don't want to spend a significant amount of cash for something that you will just use occasionally. Unless, you have very deep pockets.

2.) What and where are you going to shoot? - This will be more about lenses, but camera bodies will have something to say too. If you are going to shoot sports or you want to freeze a single moment out of something that is happening very quickly like in sports, rallies, performance, festivities, or anything that involves a lot of action, you may want a body that shoots a lot of frames in a single second. 3.5 fps(Frames Per Second) is enough to freeze a moment in most parties, but that is significantly slow in sports and capturing news as it happens. You may miss a lot of good shots with only 3 frames per second, some entry level cameras are like that. The higher the level of the camera, the faster they shoot, meaning the more frames they can capture in a second, except for the case of the Canon 60D. the Canon 60D's fps speed is slower than it's predecessor the 50D, slower than the 7D (of course), but a bit faster than Rebel cameras (like what I have). Another thing to think about in what do you want to shoot is outdoor exposure, how often are you going to shot outdoors? Are you going to shoot in the moist outdoors of the mountains, or perhaps in any extreme weather conditions of any given place? Then you may want a body that is weather sealed. The more expensive cameras in the Canon line with 1 digit model numbers are the cameras for you, the bodies are made of magnesium alloy and are weather sealed, meaning you can take photographs under a drizzle, out in the fog, and the body is not afraid of a little splash here and there, but take note; being weather sealed is different from being waterproof.

3.) Budget - How much are you willing to shell out for a DSLR body? Remember, prices go down as the years go by and as new models come out. If you want a camera now or sooner, consider your budget.

4.) Usage - Similar to some statements in numbers 1 and 2. Usage is something to consider. Are you someone who can see something else in a particular scene that nobody else does? Do you like pretty pictures and wants to have his own set of pretty pictures too? Do you see photography as an art form and you want to express your feelings? Are you a photojournalist? Does your job require you to have a camera that can take a lot of beating through rough assignments? If you are new photography and looking for your first DSLR body, do you see yourself as an advanced hobbyist or an enthusiast sometime in the future or perhaps a professional photographer somewhere in the future? If you are not new to photography but considering your first DSLR body, what's your budget and what and where are you going to shoot?

4.) Read reviews - You can learn a lot and compare . Below are some websites that offers excellent camera gear reviews.

However, with all the above statements, it all boils down to skill and talent. Having the best DSLR body one can buy does not usually equate to great photographs.

Here are some resellers of photography gear for your guys to check out.


DP Online/JT Photo

Henry's Camera

Remember, it is not always the tool, but how you use it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Binondo - Intramuros (Solo) Photowalk (part 2)

Here is the second part of my Binondo -Intramuros photowalk. I started at 2 PM, walked around Binondo, got lost, found my way, and then walked to Intramuros until I exited near Manila City Hall. I was done with my photowalk around past 7 PM. My legs and feet were so tired that night. I ate dinner in SM Manila, watched a movie (I forgot what movie that was, it was an action movie), then went to see a friend afterwards. When I got home at around midnight, I was so tired I slept on the floor.

Fort Gate
Fort Gate

Sigaw ng Bayani
Sigaw ng Bayani


Black Sky
Black Sky

Sky Blue
Sky Blue

Street Walkers
Street Walkers

The Spanish House
The Spanish House

Night Walker
Night Walker

White on Black
White in Black

Manila City Hall
Manila City Hall