I stop and shoot

Bon Marco

How Bon Marco joined Bash and me as the fourth B is quite a story.  He is a gift made possible by two friends to whom I will always be grateful for the love and joy that Bon Marco has brought into our lives – Bash’s and mine – after losing the third B (Brio, June 23 to Sept. 7, 2015).

This little one is quite a bundle.  A bit older than Bash (born on my Nanay’s March 20 birthday), he is smaller but he’s more alpha: assertive and more aggressive especially when he finds a reason to bark (not always at dogs) but also extremely sweet.  He dislikes being left alone and when I’m in the house, he follows me everywhere so that I sometimes feel like I had grown a tail.  His best trait: he’d sit very near my feet and gently touch me with his paw when he likes to draw my attention.  And every single day, he must get his dose of love: he’d keep on pawing till I carry him in my arms and cuddle him till he gets enough.  I sometimes think this little guy is trying to catch up with all the loving that I have given Bash – and he pays for it with his dogged loyalty.

I love you, Bon Marco!





Sometime in 2014, Bash was left to my care.  His owner decided to transfer somewhere and couldn’t take him with her.  At first, I was hesitant.  I live alone and an additional “resident” – especially one who speaks a different language and has different needs and wants – might pose serious problems especially with respect to my ability to take care of a dog and the time required to attend to his needs.

It wasn’t easy.  Bash had separation anxiety so I had big problems getting his attention and winning his affection.  I was right about time too – he needed a lot of my time and I felt like I was being robbed of my freedom and independence.  I was about to give up when something happened in 2014.  Nanay, the woman who lovingly and unselfishly raised us as if we were her own biological children, died.  I was despondent.  Bash came to my rescue.

Long, long story.  No, stories – most of them are in Facebook under the hashtag #thelegalbeaglediary.  We’ve both gone through so much since that time but each day practically melded us until we have become what we are today: the inseparable, invincible Team B (and now, we even have another team member who I will write about in a separate post).

This is the little fella who demanded so much of my time because he wanted to teach me (and is still teaching me) so much, too: courage (nothing can bring us down), fortitude (bring on the punches), hope (never give up, tomorrow is another day), resilience (we’ll survive come what may), loyalty (together forever) and most of all, unconditional love (no ifs, no buts, I love all your cracks, no questions asked!).  I can’t ask for anything more.

I love you, Bash!





My last post was in 2013 and we’re now a few days into 2016.

So what happened in between?  The twists and turns waylaid me, that’s as simple as I can put it.  But I found my way back … and hopefully, this will encourage me to write more and shoot more.

In retrospect, the years I was most active in photography gave me many “solid” memories, i.e. I can still vividly recall some of the circumstances before, during and after the photos were taken.  And as I look at all the photos here (and some more that I have not yet uploaded), I like best those years when my curiosity pushed me to take more and more and more photos.

Here’s to a more active, more productive 2016!

Eugene Smith in Black-and-White

I think this is one of the most powerful black-and-white photos:  W. Eugene Smith’s Tomoko in the Bath. The image of Tomoko sticks on one’s memory many many years after he has viewed the photo.  It’s not just the subject itself – the tragedy of Minamata disease, it is how beautifully the photo was exposed in black-and-white.

Reading the account in that post – in Mr. Smith’s own words – about how he dodged and burned the photo just to get the right exposure makes me really thankful I wasn’t born in that era.  Digital photography is so much easier these days.  But, if you hear the anecdotes of those who shot in film (my elder brother, K, included), you’d be amused at how lowly they think of digital photography.

Oh well.


It’s been a long time since I was last here.  After taking up classes (again) at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging’s Institute of Photography, I think it is about time I pay more serious attention to my favorite photography genre: street photography.  And I discovered a new one that I think I am beginning to like, too: food photography.

Let’s see what I can do and let’s see how far I go.

Hello again!


Kulon means pot or pottery.  These are the clay pots, vases, statues made of clay and hardened by heat.  There are two places in Negros Occidental where these wares are abundantly sold – one in Pahanocoy at the southernmost tip of Bacolod City and the other one in Guinhalaran in Silay City, about 10-15 minutes north of Bacolod City.

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Dahon means leaves.

Each time I come home and it’s just before sunset, I always look up to this tree on the other side of the concrete wall.  The sun touches the leaves before it goes down as if to say goodbye.  I always stop to watch this beautiful show of nature.  It’s a fitting close to my day.

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The Onset of Summer

I know when summer is on its way.  The weather change, especially the heat, always makes me sick.   Which has given me time today to post these photos I took last year.

How good it would be to be able to go back to these carefree days – just you, the beach and the glorious sunset.

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Finding Buddha in Borobudur

My trip to Buddha in May, 2011 was an accident.  Let me rephrase that: last year, I bought a ticket to Jakarta because I wanted to catch the Maroon 5, one of my favorite groups, in a concert.  I booked my plane ticket and my hotel but when I clicked on Maroon 5’s website, horrors!  Tickets to the concert were already sold out.  So I had a dilemma: what was I going to do in Indonesia for 5 days?

I researched and only then did I remember that Borobudur, a childhood dream, is also in Indonesia.  So off I went.  The rock-concert-trip turned to a search-for-Buddha-adventure.

Borobudur is near Yogyakarta (which the Indonesians fondly call, Jogja; pronounced JOGH-jah) which is about 9 hours by train or about an hour by plane from Jakarta.  I chose to ride the train (which was a mistake – I took the 8 p.m. train and got there a little before 7 a.m. so I didn’t see a lot of countryside like I wanted to; I took a plane back to Jakarta in the late afternoon).  A rented private car took me to Borobudur which was about an hour’s drive from the train station.  My driver was nice.  Like chauffers of the genteel era, he would run around the car to open the door for me but, like almost all the other Indonesians I met in Jakarta, he could barely speak English so we communicated by sign language.  That was a pity because I could have understood and learned more from his anecdotes about their culture, the recent eruption of a volcano (Mount Merapi which, I later learned, also caused the abandonment of beautiful Borobudur) and the two other temples (there are many, actually) which are usual tourist destinations, Mendut and Prambanan.  I went to the latter but passed up on Mendut.

I had to walk some distance from the entrance to where the temple was but when I first caught sight of the temple, I had to stop.  It was a grand sight, so awesome I could only whisper, “Buddha, I have come.”  I went around not only taking photos.  Here and there, I stopped and tried to transport myself back to the time when they actually used the temple.  I felt a calming peace whenever I did that.  I can still remember how the cold morning breeze gently touched my face, how quiet it was (Angkor Wat is noisy!**), how serene and grand Mount Merapi looked from the top of Borobudur.  I could have stayed there the entire day (but, of course, at nearly 11 a.m., the heat began to bite).  It was time to say goodbye to Buddha and leave in peace with my favorite Buddha quote:  The way is not in the sky; the way is in the heart.

**I actually liked Borobudur, the temple itself, better than Angkor Wat but, of course, the entire Angkor Wat area was not only larger, it was also more impressive.

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Graffiti. Term applied to an arrangement of institutionally illicit marks in which there has been an attempt to establish some sort of coherent composition: such marks are made by an individual or individuals (not generally professional artists) upon a wall or other surface that is usually visually accessible to the public.

I am not usually amused by graffiti but this one was irresistibly cute.  Couldn’t help but wonder if my students sometimes (aah, oftentimes?) wish their school chairs were equipped with that button.


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