More often in our blogs or social media, we highlight our stories on the journey and destination. My photos revolve around the place and the travel. This time we go behind the cameras and share our stories on what gets us excited to go places. In the June 2017 issue of Going Places Magazine, I’m humbly included in the feature story “People of Travel“. I share the pages with some of the people I respect and look up to in the field like Yoshke and Vins of the PoorTraveler, Kara of TravelUp, Estan of Langyaw and Melo of OutOfTown Blog. Groups like Trails to Empower Kids and celebrities Wil Dsovich and Nicole Cordoves are also there.
I have been following Jacob Maentz‘s work at his website/blog at www.jacobimages.com for a few years now. It always amazes me how it could take a foreigner to truly appreciate the significance of our indigenous people’s culture and he does this with keen observing eyes and moving images captured in sincere perspective and beautiful light. Jacob is not the usual tourist who would go to a place only for a few days and take pictures. His Peace Corps background in the country has helped him learn to blend in and become part of a community. Jacob would usually stay for weeks with a community of indigenous people, live with them and more often befriend them. What results are stunning captures of these people’s lives from a vision of an insider. In his first solo exhibit Forgotten Ten , Jacob shares his work spanning a year and a half of documenting the indigenous people of the country (from the Mangyan, Agta, Tagbanua, Kalinga and more) which makes up about 10-20% of the country’s population, hence the title of the exhibit.
It’s not really my thing to take Street Photos of people living in harsh conditions like the homeless, street beggars or other people in deplorable conditions. I always thought taking photos of them just glamorizes the idea of poverty and can easily be misconstrued in pictures. It’s a sensitive issue that delving into it requires caution and care. But I keep an open mind in these things and when I was asked if I can accompany Karl’s group one morning to the site they took pictures somewhere in Sta Mesa, Manila, I obliged as it would be interesting to explore this kind of photography.
I watch as he pause for a moment midway his speech. I was standing close on the side taking his photo and saw his face, suddenly overcame with shadow, I noticed he swallowed deep, trying to keep steady in front of a crowd of 30 plus people, trying to hide what he was feeling at that moment. For what looked like he was having a hard time reading his speech, little did people know he was grimacing in pain. In just a few seconds he got his composure back, smiling, while he deliver his speech as if nothing happened.
Such is the man named, Winston Maxino, a family man at his late forties, who is literally in constant pain after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). But despite his condition, he chose to show his sunny disposition and inspire others to be happy.
Winston narrated how as an asthmatic child, he was regularly an outcast but his persistence on trying to belong despite his condition still paid off. His scout master saw his other skills like excelling in knots or other non-physical aspects. Being diagnosed as an AS didn’t stop him from being happy, aside from wallowing in self-pity, he chose to accept his condition. But his trials didn’t end there, he received another blow in his life when his daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome. But his daughter’s frequent declaration of loving her life and the future made him realize that he has a lot to be grateful for no matter his life condition is. His body may be broken but that wouldn’t stop him from being happy as it is the choice he made. He enjoys making children laugh with his balloon knotting talents and tricks. He is also involved in helping the down syndrome society of the Philippines.
I was riding at the back of a habal-habal while riding in the dirt road of Pandan province. We caught sight of a pumped-up crowd gathering at a street and decided to stop by and see what was happening. It was a couple of kids doing street boxing complete with boxing gloves. At first it was an amusing sight and I’m sure the spectators thought the same. But it drawned on me how early kids nowadays are easily caught up into violence. Not to belittle Pacquio’s noble efforts to fight for our country, the exposure to young ones can lead to disturbing moral questions. Especially these kids who are just caught up in the emotions that its becoming more than a play but a competition.
Makati’s Caracol is the city’s Mardi Gras which aims to celebrate love and awareness for Mother Nature. Most of the costumes revolve on earth themes like animals, underwater creatures and reptiles. It’s been years since I last saw this celebration which usually was held on the third week of January coinciding with other Sto Nino festivals. Now it was held on the third week of February 2012. It’s not the grandest of festivals but the effort in terms of costume design and make up is commendable. In this series of photos, the spotlight is on the Make Up artist and custome designers working behind the scenes to make the performers as presentable, photogenic and in-character with their performance.