Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring banner 2013

Home for Spring

We left in the dead of winter and returned on the first day of spring. I can’t think of a better way to avoid the cold dreary days than to return to my place of birth where the sun eternally smiles down on its people. 

It was a heartwarming yet exhausting trip as we tried to see as many family and friends as possible. We stayed over three weeks in Negros where I’m originally from and a couple weeks in Manila where I spent most of my adult years before I moved to the States. All in all we slept in 14 different beds in 6 weeks (including a night in Guam at the swanky Hyatt Regency). Now I know how it feels to literally live in a suitcase. 

The flowers of spring bloomed in the summer
(in the Philippines!)

I can only imagine how it must have felt like for my son who saw a blur of faces – titas, titos, ates, and, kuyas. But it was a gift to see him meet everyone for the first time or bond with him again. The general consensus was that this little Lykes is a cutie, a charmer, and a smart one. Everybody also agreed that he is such a well-mannered and well behaved child. He is by no means perfect, subjecting us to a little terrible-two tantrum every now and then, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little distraction or a firm “no”.

Our little one was so good for most part of the trip.

His pediatrician said, that with our son being two, now is the perfect time to travel with him– on a long haul flight. It was meant to be sarcastic. But our little boy did very well in the flight, considering. There was a little struggle with the seat belt and electronic devices that had to be turned off at certain points in the trip, but all-in all, he was so well behaved.  My boy is definitely fit for travel.

 Travel, toddler, and the tablet:
the iPad is a lifesaver when you’re traveling 
with a little one and you’re at your wit’s end.

I think I also deserve a pat in the back for managing to travel with a terrible two alone, carting him through several major airports and bringing him home safe from halfway across the world (my husband had returned home early for work).

On top of the world in Patag, Silay.

Most of our vacation was spent in the province. My husband dislikes cities and its madness, so the first chance we got, we stole a car from my dad and went on the road. Our first stop was at the mountain top in Patag in Silay. We stayed for a few days at a friend’s vacation home on the Gates of Heaven. It was appropriately named as the place did wonders for us, reviving us from the arduous trip. Then off we went to the beach in Sipalay. Just as he is allergic to the city, the hubby also hates over commercialized places. He is forever in search of Alex Garland’s mythical beach, and for this trip, Tim’s paradise of choice was Punta Ballo. A kilometer of white sand beach, Punta Ballo is rich in marine resources. Best of all, it’s not quite choked up yet with tourists and establishments. Local children still roam the shores, building sandcastles and dreams by the water, uncorrupted by cigarette smoke and blaring music.

Before sunset (Punta Ballo, Sipalay, Negros)

The fruit bowl on the banner is a coconut shell we got from the Negros Showroom (a favorite place of mine to hunt for treasures to bring home and give as presents) as a remembrance of our days soaking up the summer under the coconut trees (yes, it is presently summer in the Philippines).

Our purple paradise (in front of Artistic Diving Resort, Punta Ballo)

My husband recently unearthed some of his paraphernalia from the past, one of which is his diplomatic passport which is featured in the banner. I’m proud I married a true wanderer. He’s already been to quite a few places before I met him -  Italy, Portugal, Australia, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Marshall Islands -  to name a few - and not only has he been to these places but he’s actually lived in most of these countries. He’s not a mere tourist after all, but a real traveler, somebody who seeks out the soul of the place, somebody who refuses to get sucked into tourist traps and commercialized cities, somebody who would choose Portugal over Paris, Punta Ballo over Boracay. The visas and stamps in his Diplomatic passport are testaments to that.

My marine has seen much of the world and yearns to see more.

Another  proof  of his intrepid spirit is the tablecloth on the banner. It’s actually a sleeping mat that he had acquired on a trip to Butuan in Mindanao years before we met. Who goes to Butuan? Only my husband, who shared a few  glasses of cheap liquor with some workers on the side of the road. He could have easily been drugged, stripped off all his dollars and clothes, and left for dead, but that’s just how he is.

playing around with the nifty fifty (Maxim's Hotel Resort World)
And in case you haven’t noticed, my camera lens has gotten a little smaller. I’ve recently purchased a 50mm prime lens for my camera as I’ve gotten into a new career – portrait photography.


Leveling up my skills at the Winston Baltasar Workshop
Model: Joyce Irene Quizon
HMUA: Colleen Foerster De Guzman
Mentor: Winston Baltasar
Studio: Winsam Studio

I know I’ve said this before, and I’ll say this again – I’m not into gadgets or electronics. I admit I have a couple of Apple products, but I would rather line up to check in at the airport than queue up to buy the most recent iPhone (and really, don’t you get it by now? Soon as you’ve finally figured out how to use your iPhone 5, they’ll release the 6th version). So buying a new lens is painful for me. I’m a firm believer that “it’s the Indian and not the pana” as my photographer mentor would say it. But since I’m going pro (ehem), I conceded and invested in a few accessories including the nifty fifty. Some may argue that the 50mm is not a portrait lens, but I am very happy with the results so far. The sharpness and bokeh quality delivered so far is remarkable.

Playing with light and water at the Winston Baltasar workshop.
Before we move on, I know you’re still stuck on the words “portrait photography” and “pro”. I don’t know how it happened myself, but not long after I got my dslr, people started asking me to take their family portraits and document their events with pictures. This year started well for my photography with my first paid gig in January.  I also now have a booking for March, April, and May.  I hope this will be a regular thing as photography has greatly contributed to my creative life. It won’t hurt to earn some green bucks for creative expression.

my first portraiture gig for 2013

In case you’re wondering where all these interest for photography came from, I'll have you know that I’ve always been interested in the visual arts even way before I started writing. I was no Picasso, but I do remember winning 3rd place at a school contest for a poster in pastel with a patriotic theme (that amounts to something, doesn't it?) and pages and pages of sketches of clothes (I did dream of being a fashion designer once, and this was when I still thought pedal pushers and leg warmers were très chic – and another btw, I have gotten into wearing leg warmers again for winter!).

I’m a little wary about calling myself a “professional” or even a “photographer” when I have so much to learn, but like I said, I’ve already had paid gigs and my pictures have already been published by magazines and broadsheets like AsianTraveler, Leisure+Adventure Travel, and the Tribune. Surely, these should earn me the title?

I can wear this bag around my torso and just forget about it!

Along with the new lens, Santa got me a new camera bag (among other things, of course!) that I am very happy with. I’ve always been on the lookout for a great camera bag, one that is functional but at the same time stylish – one that doesn’t look like a camera bag. Most of the ones I like are leather. The problem I have with leather is that they’re too heavy. Faux leather is an option, but I find it too cheap looking. Ona’s Bowery is the perfect option for me – its waxed canvass is lightweight and compact enough that I can sling it around my body and forget about it. I also like the look; it has that hip European backpacker vibe, I think. 

St. Patrick’s day is a big deal for this part Irish family. Unfortunately
we missed it this year, because we were on vacation,but to commemorate it,  
 meet Finnegan the Leprechaun,a present from my son’s grandparents 
from their last trip to Ireland.

Finally, the book for the season: Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian, a collection of ficto-journalism that is supposed to examine the afterlife in his fictional interviews with the likes of Shakespeare and Hitler during induced near-death episodes. I think it’s more of an examination of life from the perspective of the afterlife, an evaluation of one’s existence. It’s a funny read that I believe shouldn’t be taken too seriously but will bring you to ponder, after a few quiet chortles, about your own existence.

Another version of the spring 2013 banner.

Lying opposite to the book is a notebook, a green archer notebook, another addition to my collection of notebooks, and one of the many gifts that I received from dear friends during my homecoming. I feel so loved.

and off we go to another adventure

It’s almost a week into spring and the temperature is still dancing around the 40s. The flowers haven’t bloomed yet and I am still wearing my husband’s Irish Wrestling sweat shirt over 3 other layers. But spring has sprung in my heart. It’s good to be home.


As the seasons change, so will my desktop banner. I will be adding little touches to it, moving the items around, and customizing it for the season. I will archive its transformation on My Desk. 

Read more about how I put the banner together and how my real writer's desk looks like at My Desk. And tell me how your desk looks like, and I will tell you who you are.


The banner posts is a creative way to blog. I want to read more! Your pictures are gorgeous and your baby is a charmer for sure! I think that hat is adorable. By the way, where is your summer banner? Summer is here girl.

Nice work!

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