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Buhay ay langit sa piling mo

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 8:18 am | Categories: blog, News | No comments

Pinili ko dito. Ni hindi pumasok sa isip ko manirahan sa ibang bansa. Nagkaroon ng pagkakataon, pero di ko man lang sinilip. Gusto kong umuwi. Tutulong ako – ika ko pa.

Lumaki sa mga sundalo at mga guro, may kapatid na naligo sa idealismo, higit sampung taon na naglingkod sa gobyerno, mentor ko Alpha Sigma pa – alam ko ang paglilingkod.

“Di ka pwedeng magreklamo kung di ka kikilos”

Sinubukan ko naman, di lang kinaya. Nakakapagod din kasi. Parang ikaw pa ang mali pag nagbibigay puna. Parang ikaw pa ang “epal” kapag nagbibigay ka ng mas mabilis na paraan. Parang lahat nasanay na sa sablay. Di lang naman ako puro daldal. Nakikipag usap din naman ako sa dapat kausapin. Pero yun nga, puros tango pero ala din. O’ baka kulang lang ako sa follow-up.

“Dalawang taon pa, masasanay ka din” – ika ng tropa.

Pero tanungin mo ang lahat, alam nilang mali. Alam nila. As in alam nila. Nakakalito. Di naman kailangan maging matalino para malaman na sablay. Napansin ko ng madaming beses. Pero sige lang. Andar lang. Walang tumatayo. Pag ikaw ang tumayo – ikaw ang magulo. Kultura siguro. Di ko alam. Nakakatawa na nakakalungkot.

… it seems the Filipinos love their chains – or something along those lines, ika nga nung binaril sa airport tarmac.

Minsan, nasabi ko na di magtatagal gago na din ako. Di magtatagal, di na din ako aangal. Di na din ako kikilos. Hahayaan ko na lang. Kanya kanya na. Di ba’t wala ng mas malungkot dun?

Nasa apat taon na din nung bumalik ako. Wala pa din akong nagagawa kundi para lang sa sarili. Nakakahiya.

Baka gago na nga ako.

The Script

Posted on June 1, 2017 at 6:10 am | Categories: blog, News, photography | No comments

I love watching films or maybe its the stories that I like. Not sure really, but I always find time watching them. It’s either that or photography.

Think about movies. Not the story itself but how it was built. In my mind, the script gets created first, then selection of possible actors that would fit in the movie. You see, script is king. Every decision made is in the service of the script. The dress, the buildings, the conversations, the language, the entire set and behavior of actors are dedicated in getting the feel of the script to the viewer. The actors are important, of course, they are. That’s why they earn boatloads. They are the physical form of the character. But! they have to fit in the character – not the other way around. That’s why they get called for an audition and filtered out. The actors should be able to get the message across.

How many star-studded movies have you seen that eventually flopped? And how many were just glorious! though the actors were not famous. Difference? Yes, that was the difference =)   Maybe, sometimes, directors even does it on purpose – so that the shine of a star will not blind the viewer from the story.

It is challenging to get the actors first then figure out a script that ties them altogether. I am not in the film industry so I’ll just keep my mouth shut. But I think it’s somehow safe to say that it is not so much about the actors than it is about the story.

Now, if you’ll replace the script with a project statement and the actors with photographs, you’ll have one of many ways to create a body of work.


Posted on February 16, 2016 at 9:34 am | Categories: blog, News, photography, Print | No comments

Out of obsession in creating and raising awareness in fine art photographic prints – redlab* is born.

redlab* is a highly specialized print studio; run and managed by exhibiting artist focused on Fine-Art photography and custom printing. If you’re looking for a custom printer for your artwork, give us a visit –

ILFORD Certified Printer Partner

Posted on February 16, 2016 at 9:16 am | Categories: Awards, blog, News, photography | No comments


Countless hours of testing; pushing printer, ink and paper to its limits has been noticed. I am now an ILFORD Certified Printer Partner. Personally given by the ILFORD President on January 2016. This strengthens and further fuels my passion in printing only of the highest quality.

Update: I am no longer an ILFORD Certified Printer Partner. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.


Posted on February 16, 2016 at 8:43 am | Categories: Awards, News, photography | No comments

Ilford Masters_comps

After being under the House of Ilford back in 2014, ILFORD Imaging has appointed me to be an ILFORD Master. Joining an elite group of global photographers and educators. (more…)

The Unforgiving Print

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Categories: blog, News, photography, Print | No comments

I have never seen a person refine faster in the craft of photography than a person who just started to print their work.

The print is unforgiving. Every mistake that you make will be seen in a print. That slight movement will produce a “ghost-like” blur. That chromatic aberration brought about by the lens you have and the f-stop of your choice will be evident. That pixel that you pushed or pull more than it can take – yup! banding. And that dust-spot that you failed to clean up will annoy you to no end.

Every little thing that you did not intend to do shall be shown to you.

So why print?

You probably know some already. The internet has a sea of reasons. From technology mishaps, to heightened value for your work, monetary gain to memories kept even if yours fail. The list goes on and on why should you print your work. But let me add three reasons from a personal standpoint in the mix.

It makes YOU sharper.
Printing makes you more aware of your every move. Having in mind that what you create will be printed later imposes a discipline that you never had before. From the moment you plant that tripod to the point you send it over to the printer – every move calculated. Every adjustment will be precise and purposeful. You will understand the meaning of adjustment in small increments. You will learn how to be patient. You’ll develop a flow of work – of things to check and double check. You will learn the value of consistency.

It’s there.
You can actually hold it. It is physical. Everybody can see it where it hangs. Everybody can hold it if you allow them to. Every hour that you spend shooting is an hour away from your home. You have decided that your photography is more important during that time. Every penny that you spend for your photography is a penny away from something else. Don’t you want something to show for? A million brushes but no painting?

A print is a tangible object created by you. There was nothing, and now there is something. And you made that possible.

It’s a legacy – yours.
With the proper care, your prints will outlast you. It will be something that you will be leaving behind. It is something that you have created out of love and nothing else. It was yours and yours alone. Dictated by no one and was a source of your pride and joy. It is the way you have seen the world – literally and figuratively. It will be something worth keeping.

I am certain that your first print will be your worst. But I also know that if you do not do it because of the same reason, you will never get to your best one. Everything grows. This holds true to almost everything that has life, unless you’re a rock. It takes time. It takes practice – purposeful practice. Do your best every time – could anyone ask for more?

As it is in many things in life, everything is not for everyone. Printing may not be for you. But if you’re serious in your photography and would like to refine your work – try printing. Best if you yourself will do it – learning will be efficient and much more faster, but it doesn’t have to be you. Take into account the economics of a printer and the regularity of printing your work. You can have a custom lab do it and, maybe ask for a feedback or a friend that has a printer. Share it with your family. Share it with your loved ones. It is the end-result of the time that you have taken away from them. What is important is that you print your work, and hopefully learn from them.  The cost will only be a fraction of your gear, and the benefits would be tremendous.

To Judge

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 8:30 am | Categories: blog, News, photography | 3 comments

Immediately after reaching home, with my shoes still on, I reached for my notepad and started clearing things up. I sent it to listeners in attendance whom I personally know. At 2AM I found myself wanting no confusion between what I truly believe in and what just happened. I wanted to explain further with gathered thoughts. I needed to clarify.

This morning, as I do almost everyday, I walk back and forth, back and forth thinking about things. But instead of concerning myself of personal matters, I have the judging scene playing in my head over and over again. I am still hearing the words being mentioned and thinking what could have I done better. What could have I done more. Or maybe, just maybe, I was in the wrong place.

Last nights judging of images left me somehow uneasy.

I applaud the participants in putting a part of themselves out there ready to be judged, specially knowing that the judges does not have a clue where they’re coming from. It takes a certain amount of courage to bare a part of yourself open for critique. It is not easy to hear things that finds you lacking but the experience, when handled wisely, can be a motivation to be more.

Our work  is a reflection of ourselves. And by the same token, the opinion of the judges are mirrors of their personal aesthetic, mindset and history. You change the judge, you change the winner.

If we truly believe that photography is an art, and this is key, then it should be about expression. Like in any other forms of art, it’s never about replication. It should be an interpretation. And to judge what is better only by technicalities is rather incomplete and somehow a path in the wrong direction. Governed by conventional do’s and dont’s, to the inexperienced, it is a slippery slope towards mediocrity.

Indeed a judge must be careful not to ‘box-in’ its listeners and allow creativity to nourish.

There is different approach, albeit not designed for competition, but a good ground for learning – a review. And a review can only be done with a dialogue with its creator. Only by knowing the aim of the photographer that we can assist in ways or methods that could be used to convey thoughts and emotions visually.

Truly that the art and the craft must come hand in hand – I have no doubts about it. A technically masterful image without a soul would make one into a machine, while a soulful image without technical mastery risks the message of not getting across.  But should one be forced to choose, I hope that we choose the latter rather than the former.

As Ansel Adams once said There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.”

With personal definitions abound, I think we can all agree that art is not a sport that a true winner can be gauged by speed, strength, height — or consensus. Its true measure is our inner voice.



Posted on May 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Categories: blog | No comments


My prints starts at  HKD5,000 [link] but tonight, together with other wonderful items, 3 pieces from my Ephemera series will be up for auction – for charity.

Alessandra Tirona was born last March 2, 2014. In two months, she hasn’t even put on a pound. The doctors have told her parents she needs open heart surgery. The good news is that they are very confident that they can fix her little heart. The bad news is that it will cost an arm and a leg. This is where she needs our help. We will be having a benefit concert and auction on Sunday the 18th of May in Craft at the Fort strip. Generous friends like Basti Artadi and Wolfgang have offered to play for us and other incredible folks have donated awesome items like a two night stay in a 5 star resort in Bohol worth $1,000USD, or super car training and a hot lap in an M5 with JP Tuason, to be auctioned off. So all you have to do is show up and bid. Simple as that. Even if you don’t end up buying something, your presence alone (and the door charge of 500 pesos) will go a long, long way. Below is a list of the items that we have up for grabs. Feel free to already start bidding as it will set a reserve price for the night. Or make us an offer we can’t refuse and you can have it before then! And don’t worry if you can’t bid or you are not in a financial position to donate. Just remember that even a simple share on your social media pages with a gentle nudge to some of our common friends is still helping. Whatever it is, as long as it comes from your heart we can fix Alessandra’s. Thank you in advance. And see you on the 18th.



Posted on May 16, 2014 at 10:03 am | Categories: blog, News, photography | No comments

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? We’ve heard so many things about someone that before we’ve even had the chance of experience, our thoughts and actions are already clouded by the opinions of others.

The same goes in photography, well in this case, paper.

It was a year ago when I first heard about Tecco paper. I did a quick google and found nothing impressive. Fast forward a few more months, I was formally introduced to Tecco,  a paper that is available locally they say. I was going to have a print workshop and I needed variety of papers for the students to see. I was quite reluctant but I kept an open mind and tested the paper anyway.

Initial test – not good. But I knew, I can tweak it more. You see, I used the canned profile from the site and sometimes, they’re crap. The paper texture and the feel looks good but it was not hitting my Black and White. So we’ve made a custom gray profile for the paper and my printer.


After a few days of testing, there you have it! I am perfectly happy with the results. I now have another paper on my arsenal 🙂

I was given more paper to test but well, you know, I tend to focus more on what initially caught my fancy. I was using Tecco PFR 295 on an Epson 3880. It has a paper texture more subtle than an Epson Velvet and can be compared to a Hahnemule Photo Rag. The paper base is warmer but not as warm as Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.

So that’s that. Test and see for yourself. Do not just blindly follow what everyone else is saying. Of course feedback is  important but remember that paper choice is by preference; and that the opinion of others are tainted by what they only know – and sometimes just heard. Own your first impression. Make your first impressions YOUR first impressions.

It would also be wise to take the same approach towards a person.



Not for everybody

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 11:03 am | Categories: blog, News, photography | No comments

You cannot please everybody

We’ve heard it many times, and yet when it happens, it always feel
like our chest has been stepped on.

You see, unlike in the online world, a portfolio review consists of a body of work in printed form and your critic is literally in front of you. It’s really different. You cannot choose to delete or just ignore the comments altogether. You’ll hear every spoken word. If you’re watching yourself, you’ll probably see the point when your heart gets broken just by looking at your face. And in my early years, I sometimes black out when I don’t like what I hear and tend to hear only what I like.

Words can indeed lift your soul or crush your spirit.
I know – I have went through all of that before. I came to the gallery all excited and went home with a huge rock of self-doubt.

If you have done your work correctly; if you have done your work to the fullest of your abilities; if you connect with your work deeply, then you know what you have is a part of you. Presenting it to someone for  their opinion is exciting and scary at the same time.

It takes a certain amount of courage (or arrogance) to show someone your work.


Ephemera – was rejected for a show in Beijing but was well accepted in Macao.


In the end, it’s a learning process. It’s a part of the creative path. I have learned more on that review alone than in any of my exhibitions. It’s one of many ways to mature. You should try it even just for once. You know what they say, the winner only remembers the win; the loser remembers everything.

Should you be fortunate enough to find someone you trust, whose opinions you value to critique your work – listen. Drop your guard. Leave your shield at home. Appreciate.  Approach with an open mind. Understand that their words can be a reflection of themselves. Do not think of them as right or wrong. Only you can know the truthfulness of your own work,  instead consider them as a guide.

And if you feel that your chest is being stepped on, check again. Maybe, just maybe, it’s our ego being deflated.


Ephemera on Macao Fine Art Fair:



House of Ilford

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 9:01 am | Categories: News, photography | No comments

House of Ilford

I would like to thank Ilford for their confidence and support in my work. A brand  leader in Black and White photography, it is an honor to be among the top Black and White photographers across the globe.

Exhibition: Macau Arts and Fine Art Fair

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Categories: Exhibition, News, photography | No comments

Macau Fair

With the help of my representing gallery in Macau, my work will be among the art shown in the Venetian Macao. I am excited to showcase my new body of work, Ephemera. (more…)

Workshop: Larrios + Ognita

Posted on November 21, 2013 at 11:16 am | Categories: News, photography, Workshop | No comments

Ognita Larrios

The first collaboration of two Black and White Landscape Filipino photographers.  I have known Richard since 2006, and had the opportunity to personally meet him in 2007. Based in Singapore, Richard flew over for the 2 day workshop held in Bataan. (more…)

Workshop: La Union

Posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:39 am | Categories: News, photography, Workshop | No comments

La Union poster

In cooperation with Hukbong Litratista of La Union, I was invited to La Union for a workshop. I have spent 3 days in the company of old and new friends. Needless to say, I really enjoyed my time. From the very warm welcome to my very gracious hosts, all I can say is thank you! (more…)

Fan Mail

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Categories: blog, life, News, photography | One comment

We are all a fan of someone.

I wrote to Alan back in 2012 regarding his free workshop. Two years ago, on Ansel’s birthday, he started offering a free, yes a free 3 day one-on-one private workshop in his own home in Sta. Fe to an inspiring photographer. A $1,650 workshop value, this is his way of  honoring Ansel and keeping the spirit of generosity alive. His way of paying it forward.

Now, if you’re not familiar with Alan, Alan is a master of Black and White photography. He was an assistant of Ansel Adams for many years and was selected by A.A. himself to print his Yosemite Special Edition negatives – from 1975 until today. Exclusively.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get the spot. But to my surprise, not only did he replied to my email – twice, but also sent me something in the post.

I am humbled. I am humbled that an icon took time to reply and spent money to send me something. He may have replied and sent something to all, but imagine how many would that be. Imagine the time and the cost. He also may have an assistant – but still, you get my point.

And as I mentioned earlier, we are all a fan of someone. And as such, you probably have fans as well. People that look up to you, people that asks for your guidance. You probably have fan mails too – and sometimes their questions annoys you.


If an icon took time to answer, who are we to ignore?

So let us take time answering those fan questions that we have. Let us not keep them waiting when we have the time. We must make time. Elementary and sometimes, repetitive as the questions may be, remember that we were once a beginner. Be thankful that someone thinks of us highly enough to seek our opinion. Be thankful that we are being given a chance to pay it forward.

And as we have received – we should give.

Exhibition: Breathe

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 9:44 am | Categories: Exhibition, News, photography, Print | No comments



Interview: UNTV Spotlight

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 9:01 am | Categories: Interview, News, photography | No comments


It is always nice to share, better if you’re sharing with a wider audience. And though, it was a real challenge facing a camera with a bunch of people, I was able to do it. Not that good, but still – you have to start somewhere 🙂

Thanks to Jheanne for her patience and UNTV for the opportunity to share.

Link of the interview:


Posted on June 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Categories: News, photography, Published | No comments


I was invited to show some images on my portfolio at Foto4All is a Romanian based PDF photography E-Magazine. Happy to oblige. (more…)

Sikat sa pagiging sikat

Posted on May 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Categories: blog, life, News, photography | No comments

Galing ako ng Trinoma kanina, andaming tao. Linggo kasi at panahon ng sahod. Sa gitna ng mall ay may made-up na stage – mukang may show pa! At kagaya ng inaasahan, dagsa ang mga taong hindi umaandar. Nakatayo. Nakatingin.

Wala pang tao sa entablado nyan. Sa patuloy kong paglalakad, biglang may nagsigawan, “tili” nga ata ang mas tamang salita. May mga nagkakagulo sa may bandang harapan. May celebrity ata na parating. At ayun na nga, kasama ng apat na bodyguards, dumaan sa harapan ko ang isang lalaki. Naka salamin, pakaway kaway habang ang mga tao ay tumitili at panay ang picture sa kanya.

Mukang sikat pero di ko kilala. Pagtapos ng eksena, tuloy lang ako ng lakad. Sariwa pa ang nangyari kaya pinag uusapan pa ito ng mga nakakita. May narinig akong nag-uusap, “ang pogi nya ano” sabi ng isa “oo nga, pero sino ba yun” ika ng pangalawa. Akala ko, tulad ko, baka di nya lang kakilala. Hanggang sa may narinig na naman ako na nagsabi “sino ba yun?”

Ang nakalilito ay isa sya sa mga tumitili kanina.

Napaalalahanan ako ng isang video na kamakailan ko lang napanuod:

Ganyan ata ang buhay. Madalas tayong madala ng alon. At hindi din nalalayo ang photography. Sa panahon ng social media, madami ang nakikilala sa dami ng kakilala. Ang karamihan, tanyag pero kung iisipin, walang gawa na nagmamarka sa alala.  Pag nagsama sama ang iba’t-ibang gawa ng iba, mahihirapan maituro at masabing “ito! ito ay kay …”

Sana, pagdating ng panahon, makilala ang pangalan natin dahil sa ating mga gawa, hindi kabaliktaran. Mas magandang malaman na sinundan ang ating mga likha patungo sa ating pangalan.

At sana nga ay dumating ang panahon.


Weston – Pepper Number 30, 1930

Workshop: Beyond Monochrome

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 10:06 am | Categories: News, photography, Workshop | One comment

Beyond Monochrome

So after years of photography, I have done my first photography workshop in my hometown. Organized by friends and fellow photographers, the workshop was conducted for 2 days. I am humbled by all the participants. Some came from far away places and some are very well known photographer. All veterans in photography. (more…)