Hibiscus and XnRetro App filters


The direction of sunlight is not something that a photographer can control. At noon when the sun is directly overhead is not the best lighting for photography, and there is only so much that one can do with the aperture, shutter speed and white balance settings. And if the subject is something that is only visible for a few seconds, who has the time to fiddle with the ... (more)

A good photo is like a magnet; it pulls you closer


What is a good photo? When I was in high school, Panorama, the Sunday magazine of The Manila Bulletin came out with an issue with Imee Marcos on the cover. She was leaning on a tree, lips barely apart, unsmiling with a far-off expression on her face, looking not at the camera but past it as though she wasn't aware that it was there. The photo, if I remember correctly, ... (more)

The sky, filtered


I was looking for a sky photo in my hard drive for this week's Photo Friday challenge and the most recent is a wide shot of the Victorias sugar refinery and thick white clouds in the sky. The original and unfiltered photo would have sufficed but I wasn't sure if, to the ordinary viewer, the series of buildings was more noticeable than the sky. So, I went about making the ... (more)

Solving the puzzle of Alfonso Ossorio and “The Angry Christ” mural


Except for the architecture, I'm really not into churches. But, during last month's visit to Negros Occidental, when we were told that we ought to see the church of the angry Christ, it sounded so subversive that my interest was immediately aroused. We drove to the church inside the Victorias Milling Company agro-industrial complex, there was a wedding and it was difficult ... (more)

The mangrove and the wharf in Cadiz


When my friends and I left for Negros Occidental two weeks ago, we had no idea what we were going to do there. We were four friends from the U.P. College of Law -- Laly, Lisa, Ida and myself, plus Ida's and Laly's kids -- and none of us had been there before. All we really knew was that food in Bacolod is oh, so good! We agreed that we wouldn't draw up an itinerary and ... (more)

It is a grievous mistake to call The Ruins the Taj Mahal of Negros


The Filipinos' penchant for drawing parallelisms between a foreign phenomenon and a perceived local version is mind-boggling. Although meant as flattering, the obvious irony (sadly missed by most) is that any comparison is, in essence, derogatory as it sets the foreign phenomenon as a standard and the local counterpart as a mere copycat. Erik Mana, dubbed the David Blaine ... (more)

The sun sets in Cadiz


During our seven-day stay in Negros Occidental, we spent most afternoons swimming. On one side of the pool at the hacienda in Cadiz was an unobstructed view of the horizon where the sun set. On those afternoons that we went swimming, at around 6.00 p.m., we'd be excitedly checking cloud formations and the chance of taking good photos of the sunset but there was only one ... (more)

Chapel of the Cartwheels in Hacienda Rosalia


We visited three churches in Negros Occidental. The first was the San Sebastian Cathedral. It's an old structure and has its attractions as such but the facade was covered with tarps about the Catholic Church's war against the Reproductive Health Law and I lost interest. It didn't help that right beside it was an imposing two-story brick building that turned out to be the ... (more)

Creating moods with lights and shadows


There is probably no better example of how to use lights and shadows to create a visual mood than to cite horror films. I think of Nicole Kidman walking into a fog in The Others; of Chloe Grace Moretz sitting barefoot on a swing at midnight in Let Me In; of Piper Laurie surrounded by candles in Carrie; and of Peter Wyngarde, in silhouette, standing on a tower in The ... (more)