Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HIV/AIDS Management: preparing for ARV treatment (part 1)

First week of June, was my 3rd blood extraction for my 3rd CD4 test. 3rd week of June, I got the result and my CD4 is already at 295 from the previous count of 386. To be diagnosed as someone with AIDS, a person living with HIV must have a CD4 of 200 and below and have at least one Opportunistic Infection (e.g. Pneumonia, TB, etc.). I am already nearing the point of having a CD4 count of 200, plus I am very much prone to Pneumonia, so I am going to start taking ARVs real soon.

Yesterday (June 28, 2011), me and my dad went to San Lazaro Hospital for our ARV counseling as well as to work on my lab tests. I had a long list of lab tests that even the medical technicians at the hospital's lab department were surprised on how much tests my doctor requested. Well those were done and I will get them by next week, Tuesday. Yesterday, the counseling session between me, my dad, and my doctor; started. Topics that were discussed was what ARVs are for, the importance of, the side effects, the benefits and why people living with HIV needs them. My dad was obviously interested on the topics discussed and did ask some questions that I never thought of. Like my sleeping habits, food intake and if there are any food that I cannot eat, and is it okay if I live alone? While I asked about my weight issues and my plans about it.

Regarding my weight, The doctor said to maintain my weight even at my chubbiness level. Any weight loss will be checked if it has any connection to the medicines I will be taking or to the side effects or to the new diet I will be practicing. The doctor also said that I must be happy I have this much fat, most patients are craving to have such built. Regarding food and diet, my doctor has put me on a strict hypoallergenic diet so that when I start taking ARVs and if side effects start to appear, they can immediately rule out food as a cause.

I was also given handouts about ARVs which contain data like the suggested times I need to take them, the intervals between, the side effects and how to deal with them. All are in Tagalog.

About my dad's question about me living alone, the doctor suggests I bring a friend next time who can look after me when my dad is away. Even though my dad lives only 20 minutes away(drive) from my place, and he can always visit and check on me on a daily basis my doctor suggested to have a friend as a backup to check on me whenever needed. I volunteered a very close friend (of more than a decade) of mine as my dad's backup, Jay. The doctor repeatedly said how important it is to have a dependable treatment partner, someone who will monitor my vital stats, every body changes that may happen, and anything that can be related to the cocktail of drugs I will be taking; and someone who will make sure I will take my medicines on time. So, those people are my dad and Jay.

So that's the end of the first ARV counseling session. The second will be next Tuesday and Jay will be with us on that one. Also, next Tuesday, I will be getting the lab results. All 14 of them.

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, June 27, 2011

I (don't) like the day shift

I slept last night at around 10PM to prepare for my training class the next day in Makati. I woke up at 5AM the next day (which was earlier) to prepare for my training. I was on my way at around quarter past 6. There was already a traffic buildup a few meters away from the bus stop where I usually get a ride. The bus spent 30 minutes just crawling in traffic for a mere 5 kilometers. That was just crazy! I arrived in Timog (near GMA) at 7:30 AM. I already spent almost an hour traveling from Fairview to Timog, which usually takes only 20 minutes at night. When I got in the MRT station (Kamuning) not only were the lines in the bag inspection was long but there were layers of bodies on the platform before one can even get in the train. 5 trains past by before I was able to get a ride, and the 6th train luckily skipped one station and went ahead to get passengers in Kamuning station. I was able to sit right away.

When I arrived in Buendia Station, buses were full, cabs are hard to find, FX lines are fucking long and there are thick crowds of people everywhere like flocks of birds and hens scrambling to go somewhere. When I arrived in the building of one of our offices, me and my friend's training was cancelled for some reason. So I called up my boss to ask her if I can treat this day as a whole shift instead, she gladly said yes. So I went to another building of ours and went to work right away. The day went by, had a long lunch, and work work work. When it was time for me to go home. I walked all the way to the Ayala station of the MRT, I used to do that years back, I do that early morning and it was fine. Not during the rush hour of early evening.

At the train station, just getting inside the station itself was quite a hassle. Such long lines just for the baggage inspection. In the train, it was so packed I can barely feel the airconditioning, at all! I got off at Trinoma to ride an FX, again, long lines. Good thing that this particular alternative ride I chose has a route that was not particularly heavy on traffic, earlier.

When I got home I was very, very, very, exhausted. I feel more exhausted commuting than doing a day long photo-walk.

Actually, I did enjoy working in the dayshift, at work, I loved it. The commuting part, that's a different story. I don't like the traffic, the heat, the crowded streets, the packed trains, the people rushing on the streets, the humid air, the sunlight, the packed lunch places, the smog, the crowded streets, the fully packed buses. My daily commute to and from work during the night shift is only one and a half, during the dayshift I have to allot three hours just to commute and not be late.

What I love about the night shift? A lot: the cold and lonely buses, the lonely streets, the flickering lights from passing vehicles and stop lights, the tired crowd, the beautiful darkness and shadows brought to life by street lights and lamps, the spacious trains, and the wide open spaces of the city streets, feeling the warm city breeze on my skin, being able to walk slowly on sidewalks without being such a hassle to other pedestrians, crossing the highways with a stride, watching the sun set and watch it rise. Those are just some of the reasons why I am a day sleeper.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Songs, Music Videos, and Video clips for the gloomy and wet weather

Because it has been a wet wet wet week, I decided to post some music videos and a movie clip that I think will best fit this wet and gloomy week. Notice the similarities among the five. I hope you guys like the selection.

Back for Good - Take That

Anything - 3T

Rain - Madonna

Kung Wala Ka - Hale

So Close movie clip

NOTE: This particular scene is a favorite of mine in this movie. If you are going to attempt to do this on your date in a downpour, make sure you know where the 24 hour convenience stores are along your route or anywhere nearby. Not bringing an umbrella is a very good idea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Visiting the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)

Sometime last week, a friend of mine asked me to go with him to RITM to get his supply of ARVs (Antiretroviral Drugs). I was always curious to what the beautiful fuss is about this place, so I said yes even if I still has shift the next evening. He picked me up near work and we drove several kilometers South of Manila. After a sharp turn in Filinvest Alabang, I saw a convent like building atop a small hill. I asked my friend if that was the place, he said yes. I was excited to see what the convent like building is like. We drove past a small gate with painted letters that says RITM at one side of the it. We parked near the gate and waited a while in his car because we arrived a bit early. After a few minutes of chit-chat, we decided to go to the hospital to get his medicines. He then gave me a tour of the hospital.

I was very surprised to see how clean and calm this hospital is! As in it is very clean! Patients are few, must be because the hospital's location is somewhat hidden and very inconvenient for most people to go to because there are no jeepneys or tricycles going there except for a shuttle that comes and goes every few minutes. The hospital has wide open spaces and spacious outdoor walkways. It has a lot of greenery, a lot of trimmed grass and lush trees surrounding the site. Being there was like I was in a retreat house.

Both of us have gone hungry after the brief tour and because both of us haven't eaten yet after our shifts, we went to the pantry. It was so clean! Yes it was so clean and orderly. Afterwards we went to their lounge where the patients hangout, chit-chat, sleep, or do whatever socializing. Then we went to the clinic, I saw Shola who was a friend of Angel. We had a very short and small chat, afterwards me and my friend went on our way back to the lounge.

When we got back to the lounge, there were some NGO personnel and were distributing food and drinks. They were about to discuss condom use. So on and on and on... The discussion was fun and there were two girls in the room with us who were very shy to speak up and even shocked about the topic. Eventually the girls gave in and chatted along with us during the discussion.

RITM was neat, clean, calm, serene, and surrounded by greens. I love the place! I would love to transfer there! One major issue is, it's far. It's located at the edge of Metro Manila down South and I live at the edge of Metro Manila up North. Going there for checkups or just to get medicines will be such a time consuming travel. So if ever, I may have to file for a leave whenever I need to go there.

I am still thinking if I am going to transfer or not. San Lazaro Hospital's location in the middle of Manila is very convenient for me, plus the people there has been nice to me since day 1. However, RITM's environment, as well as its light and friendly atmosphere is something that makes me want to transfer. I'm still weighting my options.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Baguio Roundtrip-Roadtrip (Baguio city in one day)

Me: Oiy, good morning, how are you?
Friend: Good morning! Feel ko umakyat ng Baguio today, balikan.
Me: Gusto kong kumain ng champorado at ginataang bilo-bilo.
Friend: Sa Baguio ba 'yun?
Me: Hindi, sa condo ko.
Friend: Alam ko, kala ko naman sa Baguio mo gusto kumain 'nun.
Me: I'd rather sleep all day.
Friend: Magpapasama pa naman ako.
Me: Eh magkano ba pamasahe sa Baguio, yung roundtrip?
Friend: I'll drive.
Me: Tara!

That conversation happened while I was in the bus going home. So I get off the bus in Shaw-crossing and he picked me up there. He tagged a friend of his along. So there were three of us in that trip. He agreed to drive to my place so I can pick up my sweater and my camera, after preparing my stuff and transfered my "kikay stuff" from my normal-backpack to my camera-backpack, off we go on our roadtrip.

Good thing I recently bought an old edition of The Lonely Planet Philippines. We found out later on that it was a very handy and nice addition to any traveller to bring along. We were already traversing MacArthur highway at around 9:30 AM, by that time I dozed off in the backseat. When I woke up, we were along this smaller highway cruising along Tarlac, I dozed off again. When I woke up we were somewhere in La Union. A few minutes later, we were already climbing Baguio through Kennon Road. This guy sure can drive fast. We arrived in Baguio city just in time for a late lunch, that was around 1 PM. So all in all, it took us four hours to get to Baguio, not including the 20 minutes we lost when my friend missed the turn going to MacArthur highway. So we took another route just to get back where we started that took a lot of time.

While we were climbing Kennon road, I was quickly browsing my book, looking for somewhere good to dine at in the city. The navigator was supposed to be in the front passenger seat, but I love the back seat, it's spacious plus I have a lot of stuff to grab, like the maps, books and my camera. So I was very comfy on the backseat.

O' Mai Khan

We ate at O Mai' Khan for lunch as suggested by The Lonely Planet Philippines. We had a Mongolian buffet for P210. Service was slow, understandable because the place was very full when we got there. As we ate, we discussed the places we would like to see. Me as it was only my second time in Baguio, followed what was suggested in the book. I would have loved to visit the Buddhist Temple, but because it says in the book that it was very hard to find in the market place, I opt not to see it anymore, instead we headed straight to Camp John Hay after lunch instead.


While we were driving to the camp, I was excited as a little kid to see the clouds touch land. When we arrived at Camp John Hay I was curious on what the Cemetery of Negativism was all bout so we looked for it. It as a mini cemetery full of life's negativity, that's about it, some were cute and interesting. While we were there I feel like I was walking in the clouds, literally. All because of the thick fog.

No Damn Way

Can't shake it

Why didn't I

Heavy rain poured as the three of us were taking pictures in the mini cemetery so we huddled in the nearby museum and former residence of Mr. John Hay.

The Rain Came

When the downpour turned into drizzle, we headed back to my friend's car and decided to go to Choco-late de Batirol. The name is already intriguing as it is and I wanted a cup of hot chocolate with all this fog and rain.


Choco-late de Batirol looks like an old shack in a garden full of plants. You will barely notice it with the little wooden signs outside the place. In the book (Lonely Planet Philippines), they just mentioned the place with no introduction or description on what the place is about, they just said it was an interesting restaurant. Well, it was. Outside are lots of plants, when I saw it, it looks more like a place to buy plants than a restaurant.

Yellow and Greens

The moment I walked inside, I noticed that the setting was like an indoor garden and I was surprised on how dry the interior was, considering there was a heavy downpour moments ago. I was all smiles while looking at their interior, furniture was all solid wood and Filipino inspired. Traditional native hats were hanging on the walls and some chimes on doorways. The furniture were made of wood. Tree trunks that look like scraps shaped into usable chairs and tables, expensive stuff. The place was absolutely cozy, it's like you're in a garden less the insects. When we went to the counter to check out their menu, we were greeted by a sharp nosed, moreno, young attendant; so it was not just the menu we can check out! The menu was short and simple, all Filipino dishes and all Filipino deserts. The attendant was simple, around 5'5", has nice cheekbones, nice set of teeth, good smile, smooth skin, nice brown color with a stunning sheen. But what we were after was the chocolate drinks. There were chocolate drinks of different flavors, they have strawberry, almonds, and the other famous flavors you expect to see in popular coffee shops. However, we ordered their specialty, original hot chocolate.


Hot Chocolate

The hot chocolate was what I expected it to be. Rich, flavorful, with bits of little bitter chocolate pieces in it; which is evidence it was made from a tablet of pure cacao and churned by hand in hot water. It was rich and delicious. The music playing in the background was a very nice playlist of Soul and R&B tracks that you will usually hear in Wave 89.1 during Sunday evenings. I almost cannot stop raving to my companions on how I love the place! Choco-late de Batirol is a highly recommended place for anyone visiting Baguio! One will have such a lovely and cozy experience.

We dropped by the Mansion on our way to Mine's View. The Mansion is the official residence of the our President when visiting Baguio city.

The Manor Gate

Street Lamp

Flowers by the walk

Afterwards, we went straight to Mines View park, but because there was still drizzling rain, we did not bother to stop and get off the car. Instead we went to Good Shepherd convent to check out the view and to buy their famous Ube Jam.

By the fog

When we arrived in Good Shepherd, oh it's my first time to go there by the way. I was shocked on how long the lines were just to buy a few bottles of Ube Jam. I went to the viewing deck to check the view, but all I saw was a foggy backdrop. When I went to fall inline to buy, I saw a sign that there was a limit of only 4 bottles of Ube Jam per customer. Perhaps to prevent hoarders or buying and selling. I ordered mine, 4 bottles of Ube Jam and 2 jars of Cashew Crunch. I did not order the traditional and famous Peanut Brittle because I thought it has more sugar than peanuts. I bought the Cashew Crunch instead because they look like bars of sugar compacted nuts in big pieces, and I love cashew nuts!

We were assisted by a lady guard while we were backing up from the parking lot. The lady guard was so pretty to be a guard and she resisted the tip. How nice of her and I will say again, she's too pretty to be a lady guard.

Baguio Cathedral

We went straight to Baguio Cathedral to hear mass. I don't hear mass so my two companions just went ahead to the church, while I took pictures around the area. I did pray and lit candles in the church's candle section.

Prayers on fire

The boy prays

After a while, I was awestruck, surprised, and my eyes grew wide on how the clouds touches everything and everyone in Baguio. Okay it was only a fog! However, I've never seen such thick fog until that night. It was so thick that one will almost only see headlights and rear-lights of vehicles as well as the lights on the lamp-posts... on most areas. I was just amazed like a little kid seeing something fascinating for the first time. I was innocent for that time being.

A foggy Sunday evening

After Mass

Lovers' holy retreat

After mass and going somewhere

After mass, it was time to go home. We left Baguio at around half past 8 in the evening. I arrived home at around midnight.

Thank you so much, friend (you know who are) for inviting me to that impromptu roadtrip, I've always wanted to do one, and you started it. I enjoyed the experience, it was tiring (you were exhausted, I know) but it was all worth it. Thank you so much for driving me home too.

May this be the beginning of many trips to come; impromptu or otherwise. After all, traveling is one passion I am yet to pursue.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


A leader not just leads, but oversees the welfare of his subordinates, he make friends with them, and caters to their needs, at the same time, his subordinates will cater to his needs and follow his leadership and will put an infinite trust and belief in his capabilities. Thus, gaining loyalty and support, not because of safety in position, but because of pure belief.

Let's call him Mickey, no, that's not his real name of course. I want to call him Mickey because of his unusually large ears and lightly grown mustache that looks like whiskers. SO he definitely looks like a mouse, of the cute kind of course.

I met him from my previous work. He's already in the fast track up the corporate ladder when I was adopted under his wing, around 5 years ago. One distinct leadership characteristic of Mickey is humility, the more he puts himself at the level of his subordinates, the more followers he gain. He does not simply tell, but ask us to do things. He doesn't simply give orders, he inspires us, so we will deliver not just what we can, but also to outperform ourselves.

I remember our coaching sessions over a grande sized latte from Starbucks. I remember our daily coffee sprees when he just arrived at the office and before he starts his day, he never fails to come over my at station and ask me to go with him to Starbucks to have his daily dose of caffein and nicotine. I never said no and just gave in to the splurge of such expensive coffee, all for friendship and a few minutes to bond with him. When he got promoted, one thing I will never forget are these words... "Promotion is not about gaining power, it is all about more responsibility".

I remember when you lend me your books and gave me just a week to finish each one, and we will have a book review session every week before you make me read another. I was pressured, but I learned. I remember when you were "silently disappointed" when I miss our SLA with just a few points, you put your whole trust in me not to fail, but I did. You did not talk to me for week or two. I was very disappointed at myself too, after all these years, please accept my apologies. Mistakes after all, makes us stronger if we learn, I sure did. I will never forget the lessons you taught me. On how you give importance to humility above everything else. On how not to burn bridges but rather reach out to as many people as we can. Not to destroy and put hate on the people we meet because one day and one way or another they will be able to help us or serve us in another way. I miss our coffee talks, sweaty boxing sessions, non-stop smoking until our lungs give in, the endless "panlalait and pamumuna" of strangers. Do you remember when when were in Starbucks one day and you said that you will never go abroad just to be a security guard; and you said "hindi ako pinanganak para utasan at magbantay" and there was security guard behind us. We freaked out and went to work in a hurry that night. Eventually you left us to pursue your dreams, I did understand you, but we were all lonely and lost when you left, in time, everyone left including me. Despite of your absence, we never did forget all the lessons you taught us, I still look up to you until now. You were not just my boss, you were not just our leader, you were a brother. I am not just your follower, I am a loyal friend. This post is my little way of saying Thank You for all the things you instill in me and as my dedication to a very good friend.

You are dearly missed. Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Haggling for light

Someone from our office was selling his Yongnuo 460 II for P2,500, with rechargeable batteries and a charger. Knowing the fact that the YN 460 II is a good manual external flash, I nearly grabbed the offer. I said I have to test it with my camera first. I also asked if he can lower the price. He said yes to P2,300, and I said I will check; I made a little price research after that conversation. When I got home, I immediately checked the flash's compatibility with my camera, it worked very well with all the functions working smoothly and as expected. Before I went to sleep, I charged the batteries, when I woke up the charger is still lit on red, isn't it supposed to be on green? That was after 6 hours of sleep, nothing happened to the batteries. I figured that there is something wrong with either the charger or the batteries. Back at work, I talked to my officemate and asked if I can buy it for P1,500 because the batteries are not working, he said it's too low and offered me P2,000, I said P1,700, he offered P1,900, I said I have P1,800 right now. He said "sold". I handed him the money and returned the batteries and charger. I now have the YN 460 II for a dirt cheap price and just 3 months used. I had a great bargain!

The price I bought the external flash was great, with the coming expenses of spending for additional equipment like:

1.) Light stand
2.) Flash diffuser
3.) Umbrella/s
4.) Soft box
5.) Reflector
6.) Snoot
7.) Grid
8.) Remote Trigger
9.) Extra rechargeable batteries

All of those for the art of photography.

Reviews and photographs to follow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Have (lack of) Knowledge

I have been visiting the "School For The Gifted" these past few days and for the next few weeks. It's the time of the year, I have to visit the school every 6 months for health checks. One Thursday, there I was, sitting in one corner listening to some songs stored in my phone. I watched people as they come and line up for their check up. I saw familiar faces, but never did I talked to them. As the hours passed by, individuals merged into groups. There was this one big group, a seemingly noisy and happy group, chatting in one side outside the ward. The group composed of different ages and gay genres. They asked me some questions and I eventually gave in, so I talked and joined their noisy group. They thought I was an OFW and I contracted the virus outside the country. I said no, "local po yung virus hindi imported", I uttered. After a few moments, I was hungry and my name is far from getting called, so my turn is probably not in the next hour. I said I am going to eat and few of them said they were hungry too so they wanted to join me. So we went to the hospital's pantry. While we were eating, it was my turn to ask them questions, I asked for their "student numbers", that way I will be able to tell what year they were enrolled. One was my "batchmate", the others were just enrolled this year. Then they discussed among themselves how they were infected. I was shocked to hear when they said that it took a a week or two from their last sex that they decided to get tested and there they are. So they thought they got it from "that" last men they were with just weeks ago. What they know all along is that the virus can be detected within the first few weeks. One of them jokingly said that during January, the enrollment rises because a lot of gay men flock to Puerto Galera and Boracay during December, then it rises once again during summer because gay men are all fucking around in beaches. He was trying to point out that after a month of the fucking-peak-season, cases go up. I asked to confirm if what I heard was right. He said yes, I was shocked. I asked how is that possible? He said, because after going on vacation and sleeping with a number of men, most gays tend to be scared and flock the hospital after vacation. I said, that the virus is undetectable after the first day of infection up to 3 to 6 months. That's why the HIV/AIDS test must be done after every 6 months, because there's no point in getting tested if there are not enough virus to be seen in tests or if the window period is not long enough for the virus to multiply and be detected.

I just couldn't believe my ears from what I heard. Coming from them who belong to a group that's supposed to educate People Living with HIV, such misunderstood facts about the virus. I thought all along that people like me are suppose to know a hefty amount of correct facts about our condition and the virus that causes it. I was wrong.

I am not going to join that particular group in their little gathering and chit-chat again. After all, you are who you are with. I know I could have done something to straighten up the facts that they know about our condition, but being the closet hermit that I am, I chose to back off. I have an alter ego anyway, who is very much alive online. Canonista will continue to proliferate correct data and facts about HIV/AIDS and educate those who are in need of such, who is practically everyone; and will continue this mini advocacy through the Bohemian Diary.

I am not saying I know a lot, but what I share to the world through this blog is out of research and facts not hearsay and just from small talks. Which makes me think to create an HIV/AIDS FAQ page in this blog, and it just might be a good idea.

School = Hospital
Student Number = Patient Number
Vitamins = ARV
Enrolled = Diagnosed
Dorm = Ward

Monday, June 13, 2011

Album Review: Dualist by Taken By Cars

First of all, I miss you guys! I know, it has been almost two weeks since my last post. I was quite overwhelmed myself with the Migration Series of poetry that I posted all throughout the month of May. I never realized that I had so much poetry in my now deactivated Facebook account that it took so much space. Reading my own writings, made me spiral back in time. Well, now they are properly documented here, finally!

I have been pretty busy the first few days and the first week of June for some reason. Lack of sleep on some days and going here and there on other days, I was very busy. Anyway, I'm back. With my return to my blog-writing; I want to post my newly bought album of one of my most favorite local bands, Taken By Cars. If you are one of my Twitter followers, you already know how much I love Taken By Cars and how much I have been raving about their new album.

Dualist 6

Dualist is the band's second album. If you are already familiar with their music and you listen to this album, you will notice a few changes in their melody and rhythm. Unlike the previous album, Endings of A New Kind, Dualist has smoother and has more relaxed tracks. Nonetheless, it still possess the distinct Taken By Cars sound; the electronics, the recognizable bass and Sarah Marco's smooth melodious voice.


Dualist 2

Dualist 3

One thing I noticed in the tracks in this album is how "clean" they sound this time. Clean in a very refreshing sense without changing the entirety of their sound. You will still know it's them on how they play and fuse the music of their instruments, they still have this distinguishable sound. Cleaner in a way that this time the intros and the entire body of a song is not as "rockish" than their previous album. This one has more punk and not as instrumentally "angsty" as the previous one.

I love the way the band makes the first few seconds of the intro of each song very smooth and interesting. Most of the tracks start with a mellow tune, and then progresses into an alternative sounding-danceable beat. The transition from slow beats to fast is seamless yet surprising. However, some tracks are done otherwise.

Dualist 4

Their first single This is Our City is an example on how smooth they transition the intro from a slow electronically produced sound to fast upbeat-alternative song that will just make you want to sway your head and just dance. The lyrics are light in this one and I just want to dance every time I listen to this track, it is just full of energy.

This is Our City


I'll be the one who smiles at you and says
Let this be our day and the thoughts will come
Lost in the vibe that overflows in our veins

Reverse delay
My day goes on reverse delay
I'm here with you
The sun comes up at night we say...

This is our city

I'll be the one who looks at you and says
Why think about the boy who doesn't even care
Lost in this life between this road and nowhere

Reverse delay
My day goes goes on reverse delay
I'm here with you
The sun comes up at night we say...

This is our city
This is our fall...

I just cannot express enough how much I love this video. Quark Henares(Director) and Pong Ignacio(Director of Photography) you guys rock and did an awesome job on this one! I just so love this video. I love the effects, the photographic treatment of scenes, the outfits, the location. One thing I really love is that, this video is very much Filipino inspired. I don't get to see much music videos these days that inspires such nationalism. Well, primarily because the entire band is dressed up in a very Filipino way and the location is in Intramuros, perfect for the title of the song itself. The first time I saw the video, it sparked so much inspiration in me that I wanted to roam Metro Manila and shoot photographs.

Dualist 5

Lyrically the band is marvelous. They write simple and light songs to deep lyrics that may need some sort of deciphering skill to comprehend, to self explanatory poetic lines. This album boasts the same old lyrical characteristics and deepness Taken By Cars is already known for. No mushy songs in this one, nor the band is known for such. That's one reason Taken By Cars is distinctly different from most local bands... They don't write mushy songs. Instead, they make emotionally stirring songs in an alternatively poetic way. Below are some (just some of the many I love) of the lines that I love from two tracks in this album:

I'm not that into you
I'm not that into you
But I'll keep on dancing
- Track 02: Unidentified

He's out there looking for lost girls
You stand there wanting, wanting to be found
- Track 03: 34

Overall, Dualist is a very refreshing and great album from Taken By Cars. If you like listening to upbeat music, to mellow-loungy tunes (not the love song type), to alternative-punk-danceable tracks; and you love listening to songs with sensible lyrics. Then you have to buy and listen to this album! The first track is just filled with so much energy and as you go through the whole album, it will end (11th track) with a melodious song with fitting lyrics as it is the last track. Dualist has 11 tracks with different beats to suit your every mood. You will love this album! Go buy one, support our local music!

NOTE: You can buy the album from Bratpack stores. I bought mine in Bratback Greenbelt 5. You can also download their songs from the iTunes store.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Top 10s: Essential Photography Gear for Beginners


The image above was first posted here

Here are some not so expensive items you may want to purchase when you just had your first DSLR body:
1.) Pop-up flash diffusers - So you can practice diffusing the light of your camera's built in flash. You have to learn this first before you buy an external flash, those are powerful lights are expensive.  These diffusers are very useful in softening the light whenever you need it. It comes in three colors. White for just a soft white light, Yellow for that warm look, blue for coldness.

2.) Blower - To get rid of those dusts from your camera body's tight spots and crevices as well as from the lens. I had this incident when I don't have a blower yet... There was a speck of dust on my kit lens and I blew it away, with droplets of saliva included. Good thing the droplets were wiped away by #3

3.) Lens cleaner cloth/LCD cleaner cloth - Very important

4.) Remote - For self portraits and so you (the photographer) can get in the picture too!

5.) Tripod - Very important. For those light streaks at night, self portraits, so you can get yourself in the shot with the use of a remote, for night photography, and in low lighting conditions where a still camera is very essential to prevent camera shake.

6.) A very discreet camera bag: here are some brands...

  • Crumpler - Very unique and fun designs, very expensive prices.
  • Lowepro - They have a very wide range of bags for every photographer's need as well as the number of equipment. Prices are not as expensive as Crumpler's, but these bags are very durable and reliable.  
      Mine's a Lowepro Fastpack 200

7.) Lenspen - To clean your precious lenses the right way!

8.) Drybox - To properly store your camera and lenses as well as other photography equipment. Alternative to a drybox is a big plastic container with lots of #9.

9.) Silica Gel packs - To keep moisture out. There is an electric version of this stuff.

10.) Extra memory cards - Just in case.