What’s it like to work in a corporate environment? What kind of work do you do?

Being an IT professional, work is about delivering / supporting new capabilities and innovation to digitize the company’s processes. Right now, I am the “Digital Manufacturing Release and Deployment Lead” in charge of ensuring successful software change implementations to our manufacturing systems all around the globe. Working purely with a global team, a regular day at work involves being in front of the computer basically the whole day (or night!) – emails, online meetings, etc. It may not look like much, but it is more than what it seems! Leading a global team requires a significant amount of discipline, extra effort, and a slightly different leadership style. It’s a test of influence – uniting people from diverse backgrounds and with different working styles towards a single goal. Tough, but highly rewarding.


Life in the “corporate world” doesn’t always give a positive vibe these days but I believe that with right opportunities and the right mindset, it is a great place to learn and experience growth.

How often do you get to travel for work? For leisure?

I travel for work around 3-4 times a year. Mostly for business meetings, but I also make it a point to invest time during those travels to simply get to know my colleagues on a more personal level—something that is always best done face to face.

My work travels are usually jampacked, so I reward myself by planning a day or two of personal time before heading home. I’d say I’ve gotten quite good with the art of layover travel. Why stick with waiting in an airport when you can extend and make it a day out in that city? With proper research, even just a few hours in a city can be a very fulfilling experience!


I also try do personal travel with friends and family at least twice a year, which is my time to recharge and draw new inspiration outside the daily grind.


What drives you to travel to so many places?

In my room, I have one of those world scratch maps that I use to document the places I have traveled to. Even though I feel like I’ve been to a good number of places, seeing it there on a map always makes me realize how I’ve only seen such a tiny part of the world so far. There is just so much to see – each place is unique and special in its own way.

For you, what’s the best thing about being able to travel?

Most of my travels are solo and I can truly say that solo travel has done wonders for me. Traveling does change perspectives and teaches things that cannot be learned from a book. During my solo escapades, there’s always a lot of moments of self-reflection. From that, I’ve grown to know myself more deeply and I’ve learned to trust myself more. I always feel like I return home a better person than when I left – and for me that’s the best thing.


What is your favorite travel destination?

New York. It’s probably not the cleanest, safest, nor friendliest place you’ll get to see but you certainly can’t deny its charm. I believe it is a place that has it all – great views, architecture, museums, culture, parks, food, you name it! I love how there’s so many different ‘vibes’ to experience within this city – like how the craziness of Times Square is only a few blocks walk away from the serenity of Central Park. No wonder so many songs are written about NYC! *cue Empire State of Mind*

What are your favorite things about traveling?

Of course there are the things we all love – seeing new places, immersing in new cultures, all the food, etc. Another thing that I love about travel is experiencing the kindness of strangers. I’ve had a fair share of unexpected situations during my travels, and every single time there were always helping hands. Makes you believe that no matter many negative things we hear in the news these days, goodness still abounds!


But as cheesy as it might sound, my favorite thing about travel is the memory you get to keep after. These memories stick with you, and reminiscing travel moments in my mind is always enough to make me smile. Traveling made me realize that experiences are worth more than things.


What’s your dream destination?

Tough question because there’s A LOT! I’d say Finland, staying in a glass igloo while admiring the beauty of the Aurora!

What does traveling mean for you?

Traveling has been one of my best teachers.


Any future plans?

This January 2018, I will be starting my first international assignment in the United States. It’s not easy leaving family and friends behind, but this is new life chapter that I am looking forward to. I’m excited to see and live through the different seasons – wish me luck with the harsh winters! J

Karina lives in seasons of discovery, but she also keeps track of the memories so that she may continue building upon the things that she knows, the feelings she’s already explored. Whatever new experience she chances upon only lets her refocus on the good things that this world has to offer. It’s an amazing take on the act of living, to make sure she gets the most out of it as she moves forward.

And if asked? She would probably do everything all over again—only better, in a manner infinitely more rich, refined, and rewarding.

Follow her travels:

Instagram: @karinavelasco


While some of us would prefer the relief of the constants in our lives—the way we can stick to routines, the way we could fit ourselves into templates we are comfortable in, or the way we can rely on equations to keep some abstracts at bay—the rock-solid foundation of a planned life just isn’t for everyone. Not to romanticize a kind of easy-going freedom, but some people would prefer the exhilirating (even if at times, stressful) experience of a path littered with surprises.

These surprises can come in all kinds of tender forms—an impromptu out-of-town trip, a small unexpected gift, or even the sound of a bark that welcomes you home. This somehow paints the life of serial entrepreneur Migi Manalastas who is Chief Barkitect of Bow House and Meow House, two endeavors dedicated to providing well-designed products for our most lovable animal companions.

While conventional wisdom in this fast-paced age would tell you to slow it down and take the sure possibility, Migi has devoted his early career returns to the opposite. Instead of what he calls a “corporate life,” he took a chance by trying to merge all of his interests in technology, design, and of course, dogs, into a solid business that he can nurture. The result is Bow House, a brand that aims to satisfy the needs not only of the dogs they are bought for but also the humans which will grow alongside them. By exercising good care in each aspect of designing their products, which range from elegant dome homes to cute small beds aptly called Muttresses, the result is that of a pleasant surprise.


What made you decide to start your own business?

I think starting a business for me was something natural. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs so corporate life didn’t really appeal to me. I was trained to see opportunities to create value. In the case of Bow House, there was a clear gap in the market for high quality pet goods so it really was a no brainer for me.

What are your secrets for keeping yourself motivated?

Whenever I feel burnt out, I make it a point to get out of town and see something new. Being in a new environment and having new experiences acts like a reset button for me. I tend to nitpick on problems and I have a tendency to get stuck on the small details so taking that step backwards really helps me put things back into perspective.



What’s your favorite thing about having your own business?

I like having the creative freedom to do anything I want. More than being free from the red tape of corporate life, I find that being able to set my company’s direction and culture is the most satisfying experience. It also helps that I can travel as much as I want without worrying about maxing out my leaves.


Tell us more about your dogs!

I come from a family of dog lovers. All my 7 of my family members have their own dogs so you can imagine it can get quite chaotic. My Doberman, Brutus, actually passed away last year. I haven’t been able to choose his successor yet but among the house dogs, Beastie, the Sheltie is my favorite.

What’s your favorite thing about them?

Dog owners are scientifically proven to have longer and happier lives compared to non-dog owners. There’s really something very rewarding about the love and affection you get from a dog. For Bow House, having all these dogs means that I have the best R&D team for free! Every single product that we release is rigorously tested by all our dogs for at least a few months. If they don’t like it, we don’t sell it.


What do you think is the most important thing in maintaining this kind of business?

You have to love your brand and what it stands for. Sometimes it’s easy to get disheartened especially when you start seeing the cheaper replicas and knock offs of your products by copycats and imitators (yes, these parasites and more are inevitable). They can copy your products all they want but your brand is something that is uniquely yours.

Any future plans?

We’ll be expanding our range of products to include feeding bowls and of course, we’ll also launch more products for cats under Meow House. Hopefully you’lll also see our new collection of Dapper Dog Gear collars and leash sets with Gouache soon.


While some view risk and freedom as concepts that belong to the wilderness of the outdoors, it doesn’t always have to be that way. While Migi does show a fair love for travelling and seeing the world, the biggest gamble he took was one that lived squarely in the warm confines of a house and its residents. These residents—human, dog, or cat—are the welcome guests in Migi’s rollercoaster experience so far with both Bow House and Meow House.






Who knew these surprises would lead him home?

Join Migi and this community of responsible pet lovers by visiting them in the following:






Migi uses the Gouache x Spark for his daily needs.


If someone were to tell you that she was a member of an “all-girl indie alternative pop band” — how would you imagine her?


Let me guess: you would imagine someone immersed in a vigorous brand of youth armed with the melody of raw emotion, strumming into existence the latest heartbreak, or that time the world felt too large, or the next anthem about growing up, but, of course, all with a dash of childlike recklessness. You would imagine the electric guitars, the bubbly disposition, the catchy rhythm all set for a playful dance. You would imagine freedom, the one that’s all too ready to chase whatever the world has to offer. It’s a phrase ripe with a certain youthful exuberance, a modern creation by those who have finally escaped the confines of an old, unrelenting tradition.

The image should be perfectly clear. Yet, surprisingly, even that drawn-out picture fails to capture the entirety of Melissa Ramos, resident violinist of the local band Indayo, an up-and-coming five-piece indie alternative act.

Melissa is no stranger to music—she’s been taking piano and violin lessons since she was in preschool. Being trained in the classical style, she wields a strong technical foundation whenever she plays. Nourishing her hunger for this calling, her school’s symphony orchestra and music appreciation clubs were instrumental in giving her a space to practice, improve, and eventually, meet fellow musicians. By this point, she had already been doing solo violin recitals and participating in various group performances for years—a feat that is a testatement to her dedicaction and discipline. Her background was already very strong.


Deep down, she probably knew that the same club (Music Appreciation Club – Instrumentalists of St. Paul College, Pasig) would eventually open opportunities for her to join a group. The surprise, however, was this: did it ever cross her mind that her life as a clasically trained violinist would lead her to performing for an all-girl indie alternative pop band?

And thus, Indayo—Lia as both vocalist and bassist, Cha as the lead guitarist, Melissa as the violinist, Cita as the dummer, and Mela as the cellist. They are a mix of loud, quirky and altogether awkward individuals, yet are passionate in doing what they love to do– that is, to create music. To date, they have released two official singles on sound cloud, entitled “Tug of War” and “Elude”.



What’s it like being a classically trained violinist in an alternative-pop indie band?

It took some time for me to adjust to the sound after joining Indayo. I’ve only ever performed classical music up until that point, and the alternative-pop indie genre wasn’t what I was used to. I do listen to a lot of alternative, pop, and indie music though, but the thing is, violinists aren’t so common in bands (especially bands playing those genres) as they are as soloists. So it was double the struggle; crossing over to a completely different genre with virtually no one to pattern myself after. Performing with Indayo has challenged me to be creative with my arrangments, applying the techniques that I’ve learned in classical training while playing a different genre, so there’s a lot of experimentation involved.

Aside from being in Indayo, what other groups are you a part of?

I love my band, and through the years I’ve only ever performed with them publicly for gigs inside and outside school. I don’t mind playing with others though; it’s always true when they say that you discover new things about yourself when you spend time with new people, and I think that applies as well musically. If you mean music organizations though, I’m a performer for both the Ateneo Blue Symphony and Ateneo Musician’s Pool too!



How do think the violin contributes to the overall sound of the band?

I wouldn’t say that it makes the sound “softer and flowier” even if that’s the expected answer, because it really doesn’t. For me, I’d just relate it to feeling and say that it adds that extra drama factor to the music. Think about it like, if you were listening to a piece of music and the violin suddenly plays a solo, don’t you just feel a very intense sort of emotion? I’m not so sure how to describe it either, but the closest thing that I can come up with is soulful. Honestly though, I can’t call my playing “soulful” yet, but I’ll get there soon.

What do you think sets your band apart from other Filipino bands?

We’ve recently gotten some comments that we play very different music in one set. Some of our songs are very happy, energetic and feel-good pop and some are very funky and edgy, so I guess it’s the variety of music that we play. As far as I know, we’ve never really stuck to one “feel” so in a way that makes our sound more universal. Another major plus is that we’re an all-girl alternative-indie pop band, which is not very usual. Diversity in sound, and diversity in the music industry as well!



As a budding band, what is your biggest dream?

Our biggest dream is to create music that is personally and socially relevant– give a voice to those who can’t seem to transform their thoughts into words throught the music we make.

Any inspiring words for young musicians out there?

Believe that you can never do just one thing. Three years ago, before Indayo, I thought that I would be playing classical music only throughout my life, but that wasn’t the case. Another thing to remember also is that no matter how good you think you are at your instrument, you should never give up trying to improve at it because there is always something new to learn. So grab all the opportunities that you can to do that, and, in time, you’ll reap the rewards of your perseverance! Music is life.

Catch Melissa Ramos and the rest of Indayo in Rites of Passage by the Ateneo Musicians’ Pool on November 11, 2017 (7:00 pm) at Mow’s Bar,

performing alongside other new bands! Like the following pages to show your support and stay updated with their gigs:

 FB Page: IndayoMusic

Twitter: @IndayoMusic

featuredYoutube: indayomusic

SoundCloud: indayomusic



All roads lead to food—this is true, especially so, in the journey of Chef Iñigo Arenal.

While the plan right now is to eventually get to Miami, Florida, in order to immerse himself in its highly competitive culinary atmospheres, this wasn’t the original destination that Iñigo set out for himself. Having finished a degree in Economics, his first professional stint actually began in the corporate world as a Financial Analyst, which is fitting given his degree. Soon, however, he shifted from the realm of budgets and costing towards the realm of handling and being with people, as he became part of Human Resources as an Executive Search Consultant. Alongside both, he was helping out the small family business of a Bed and Breakfast named The Coffee Farmhouse.

The trigger for this adventure was simple—since he was going to inherit The Coffee Farmhouse, why not educate himself about food? It was then that all the previous stops in his career itinerary made sense. He was after all already into the world of food, being the type of person to try out as many possible cuisines and restaurants. All these, along with everything he learned about the value of money and people, about respect and investments, pointed to one direction: why not go to the culinary world?

And so he went.


What’s it like to be a chef?

It’s great! Being a Filipino, I learned that the best way to bring people together is through food. We have this unusual love and respect for food. There was a different appreciation once I got to be behind the kitchen and be the one to prepare the food. Food, no matter how good it was already, just became more awesome when you prepare it yourself.


What made you decide to be a chef?

Honestly, it was out of necessity at first. I was going to inherit a business that was related to food and I thought to myself that it would only make sense if I educated myself with the culinary arts. I started with a short course of 4 months then upgraded to 8 months and eventually got to experience a whole lot of work as a culinary student. The highlight would have to be my experience of competing as a representative of the school in the Philippine Culinary Cup. Then everything just fell right into place.

What/Who are your cooking inspirations?

When I was young, my grandmother would be the only “Chef” I loved. Eventually my mom filled her shoes and became my biggest inspiration. I think that every Filipino would say that the best cook that they know would be their mothers and I guarantee my mother’s taste. Professionaly, Chef Ferran Adria would have to be the most influential chef for me along with Chef Massimo Bottura.


What can you say about our country’s culinary industry?

Sadly, I think that the culinary industry in the Philippines is so under-evolved. I think we have leaps and bounds to go before we can say that we are globally competitive when it comes to our culinary prowess. However, it is not strange because the culture of food reflects the culture of its people. That is to say it is not our fault because we lack our own identity as a people because of the many colonizers that came before us. Our culinary practices are a combination of our colonizers i.e. Spanish, American and Japanese. It is still very difficult to say that we have our own Filipino cuisine when much of the dishes we are proud of are not our own. Adobo comes from the Spanish word “adobar” which means marinade while Sinigang comes from the Malaysian dish Singgang. I dream of the time when we develop our own cuisine and establish our own identity in the culinary world.


What do you think is the most important thing about being a chef?

I think it’s very important for a chef to never lose their craving for learning. There are millions of ingredients available in the world and even more ways to mix, match and combine them to create something amazing. It’s important to never lose sight of why a chef wanted to become a chef in the first place. And I firmly believe that no matter what those reasons may be, a chef will never run out of ways to improve their craft of cooking.


What keeps you going?

What keeps me going is my thirst of learning everything I can out of this craft of cooking. The problem about cooking is that there are no short-cuts; experience is an absolute necessity. Any kind of craft only becomes worthwhile when you put your time and effort into it.


What is your biggest dream?

I have two big dreams – one that seems impossible and one that is less impressive but equally amazing and requires time and effort. One is that I hope to be the first Filipino Michelin-starred Chef. Another is that I hope to establish multiple restaurants that cut across the different classes of society. People may think that a chef is only great when they are able to put up a fancy restaurant with their own name. I want to be a great chef that caters to everybody and that means restaurants with different business models. I want a small fast-food place that caters to the low to middle-income citizens. I want a line of coffee shops that cater to the middle to high-income class and finally I want my own fancy restaurant that caters fine-dining for the society’s elite. Food is for everyone and everyone deserves good food no matter how much money they have.




It’s very clear that Chef Iñigo sees food not just as a utility and human need—food has the capacity to satisfy more than just hunger. When a meal can bring something out of a person, especially feelings of happiness and satisfaction, that is the experience that Iñigo wants to create. It’s that connection between chef and customer, customer and everyone else. Good food is not just about taste—it’s also about the person appreciating that taste, relishing that experience, and looking forward to the next one. That is indeed a special place of food appreciation.



If Chef Iñigo can take you that place, his trip may be very well worth it.

You can visit The Coffee Farmhouse at:


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For advertising student Blew David, the world is half-adventure and half-enlightenment—while some may be quick to point out her interest in all things fresh and bright (imagine: a beach bathing in the shine of a summer sun), she’s also an avid reader and learner (imagine: how much Youtube can one really binge on?) Whatever she takes from the two, whether it’s the wonder of curiosity or the thrill of it, it becomes something she wants to share to the world.

As if it couldn’t be any more perfect, the thesis she’s working on marries the two sides ambitiously—she’s tackling the promotion of the growing creative(s) culture here in the Philippines, all via an event that aims to bring different circles of people together. With her, it’s always about passionate learning. It just happens to be much more exciting if people are learning together.

As a student, what aspect of your college life is your favorite?

As a student, my favorite is getting to widen my circle and meeting other people.


Why did you choose advertising as your college degree?


I chose advertising because it offered a lot of courses that I could work on to help me find out what I want to focus on and get equipped with the skills I need in the professional world.




What are your extracurricular activities?

Extracurricular activities involved joining organizations and being involved in the local art/media scene.


Aside from schoolwork, what other projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on illustrations, and an event called MAKA which will happen on December, check it out at


For you, what is most important in being a student?

I think what’s most important is being able to listen and absorb as much as you can, so when you need it most, you’re prepared in life.


How would you describe your college life so far?

So far, it’s just awesome. I get to be involved in all the different scenes that I wanna be in and it helped me grow holistically.


Any plans or dreams after college?

Plans after college? Travel around the Philippines, and then the world!







Being connected is the over-arching philosophy in Blew’s journey—she would admit as much that she spends most of her time in social media, anyway—but this need for connection is not merely technological. It’s a desire to see various lives intersect, to see people form genuine bonds over the common language of beauty. Whether it’s the way we talk about art and creativity, or the way we find ourselves in awe of the world, it’s always a step forward.


For Blew, living and being in this world is always the blooming of a new discovery.




Follow her discoveries at IG: blewdavid / crazyfemalebrain

Gouache Featured Artist: Paola Santiago- Clarito

Mother, Artist…

A year ago, Paola Santiago Clarito was a housewife who was managing her home and taking care of a daughter. In her spare time, she would draw and paint and she would share these in her social media accounts, but she did not know what she wanted to do with all her finished artwork.
Then one day, a friend tagged her on Facebook which led her to a page on adult coloring books. It was a “lightbulb flashing over her head moment” because it gave her the direction she needed for her art and it helped define who she wanted to be as an artist. Paola released her 1st adult coloring book, Nostos, last August. It was one of the first few locally produced adult coloring books and it instantly became a big hit. It led to a featured segment for Paola in the TV5 show Happy Wife, Happy Life and a live guesting on CNN Philippines. It also landed her a feature in the Expat Magazine.

Paola Santiago Clarito is a 27 year old graduate of Physical Therapy from the University of Sto.Tomas. She started her career working in hospitals as a licensed PT, but there was always that lingering feeling she was meant to be doing something else, something that would stir her imagination, something that would unchain the limits of her fantasies and creativity. She eventually found her real calling not in the confines of a hospital but in the less constricting world of the arts.

She started doodling back in college when she had classes that bored her, but she began to take her craft more seriously when she became a mom to her daughter whom she named Lilo. She taught herself how to draw and paint, often turning to Youtube to watch instructional videos and practicing the things she learned during her spare time, which was usually after midnight when her little daughter and her husband would be snoozing in dreamland.


She has sold paintings, shirts with her own designs, and 3D butterfly clocks. She has also done commissioned artworks. But Paola has established her mark in line art and in the designs she has made for adult coloring. She even has gone international. She recently signed a contract to be a guest artist in the online coloring pages service Blue Star Inspire where her designs will be made available to subscribers. Blue Star is the San Antonio-based company that publishes the number coloring book in the United States and the top selling line of coloring books in the world. Paola also recently released a follow-up book, Nostos 2: An Out of This World Coloring Adventure, which she released this March and is available on her Facebook page, Art by Paola Santiago Clarito. Check out more of Paola's work: ART BY PAOLA SANTIAGO- CLARITO

Gouache Featured Artist: The Bloomfields

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Feature Article by: Viktor Austria

As our generation’s iPods and music players swarm with the newest tracks, it’s refreshing to listen to a band like The Bloomfields. Listening to their rendition of classic 60’s music always feels like home during the holidays – stirring, pumped, but at the same time cozy and comfortable. It used to be so taxing to find worthy old songs; good thing the guys of The Bloomfields are here to save our young necks from the chore.

The Blooming Years

It was back in their third year at De La Salle Green Hills that a group of friends thought of forming a band. Like every other band, The Bloomfields started small, playing in fairs and events within campus. Over time people saw how they clicked, like cogs would when they fit perfectly. That clicking sound grew to a shot that’s heard around the world, developing a loyal fan base within, and beyond, our nation’s borders. They have, in fact, played on stages set in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuwait, and even in the US. You can’t contain great talent to one place anyway. To date, the band has released a self-titled album and the latest all-original album entitled Hit The Ground Running. They also contributed a track alongside other local acts in Kami NAPO Muna, an album paying tribute to local legend, The Apo Hikings Society. Be it a cover or an original song, The Bloomfields will never cease to gift us with catchy tunes and even catchier eye candies, which we can see offstage with their quirky music videos, and onstage with their powerful live performances. Now, more than a decade later, after a small roster changes and a big frog leap towards refining their music and image (they’re actually a corporation now!), The Bloomfields continues to tear through the fabric of rock and roll with their energetic tunes with dashes of mesmeric ballads. If you see a group of charming individuals wearing the 1960’s chic of tight coat and ties, rallying a thrilled audience, there’s a good chance it’s these guys up on stage.

Excelling Across Fields

The local music scene is thriving with great bands, but being dubbed as “The Beatles of the Philippines” means that you don’t just play great, but you also come just as rare. To wit, you don’t often see a band in which every member can steal the microphone stand. Yes, while they can all play their gears effortlessly, each of them can also sing, and greatly, at that. You come to see one man singing and you get a show; you come to see four, like the men of The Bloomfields, and you get no less of a spectacle of sounds none else can replicate. If there still aren’t enough things to laud these guys for, maybe being social advocates can put the last feather on their caps. Senyas Kamay, a non-profit support organization for the differently-able and the hearing impaired, has worked closely with The Bloomfields. This is where music transcends its medium, and serves beyond pleasantry. By holding a benefit concert for Ondoy victims thru Senyas Kamay back in October 2009, the band solidified its commitment to help those in need, and when most needed. Indeed, a musician should be as eager in spreading his music as in instilling social awareness and responsibility to his listeners. And the best part is, everybody wins in that setup: the band gets to help people in dire need, and we, as their audience, get to fill our ears with infectious music. Nobody but The Bloomfields to thank for that!

Who Says Daddy’s Music are No Fun?

With Lakan Hila on keyboards and lead guitar, Louie Poco on bass, Rocky Collado on drums, and Dino Pascual on rhythm, any listener, no matter how old or how young they may be, can now enjoy the good old tunes of 60’s. Only difference is that, the guys of The Bloomfields are alive, complete, and they’re conveniently closer to home. If the classic tunes won’t convince you, go to their show, get your fill, and be part of the standing ovation, that is, if everyone wasn’t standing yet.

Know more about the band


Check out the videos:

Photos from:

Gladymae Angela Barañao

Tonchev Caballes

Gouache Featured Artist: Louie Arcilla

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We love engaging with extraordinary artists who channel passion and energy to their body work. Moreover, we love listening to their back story. We sit down with one of our favorite lifestyle photographers , Louie Arcilla, to learn more about his craft, tools and style.

What subjects inspire you the most?

I've definitely grown to love photographing people for weddings and lifestyle portraits, but my favorite subjects of all time are landscapes and seascapes, and the little things you get to observe while traveling--local culture, strangers and their habits, unique architecture, the colors and textures you find in markets and on the streets.

Being a part of someone else’s “Legacy”…

I got into photography because of curiosity (I got curious about finally owning a DSLR 6 years ago), and it's what drives me to this day. I'm curious about how things look from different angles, curious about how people are really like, curious about what beautiful scenery is just up ahead if I continue walking a bit more, curious about what I can shoot better, so I just keep shooting and trying out different things to shoot. I also love the perks that go with photography--not so much the "likes" and "follows" one gets on social media, nor being able to brag about the latest gear or having a "cool" job, but being able to explore new places, meet new people, work with talented individuals, and in some cases, be part of someone else's "legacy" by capturing their wedding and family photos. Such a great feeling!

What are some of your challenging photo shoots?

My first shoot with Maggie Wilson, because I was photographing Maggie Wilson! A sunrise shoot in Keelung, Taiwan in 2013 with a group of local landscape photographers I met online, because at 4am, we drove from one spot to another, got out of the car, trekked a bit up and down hills and forests in the dark, in search for good spots to shoot at. I did not know where we were going, and only one of them knew English. Then when we were shooting, they were all using a technique called the black card technique to take sunrise shots, which I wasn't aware of at that time, and I was just trying to play it cool and "trying" to copy what they were doing. Pa-simple! haha!
Portrait sessions with 2-3 year-olds, because they can just be all over the place! You not only have to be a good photographer, but you also have to be a playmate, a guardian, a clown, a yaya, and one that's physically fit and patient at that!

What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

I never intended to be a professional photographer. Being one was never part of my "What I'd like to be when I grow up" list. In fact, I only first held a DSLR 2 years out of college. Back then, I was doing corporate events as well as managing a band. When I got my first camera, a 2nd hand Canon 400D, I got hooked instantly. I'd stay up all night reading how-to's on the internet, and when I'd finally go to sleep, I'd have my camera beside me on the bed! I started out like most newbies do--bringing my camera wherever I went and taking photos of all sorts of things. I'd bring it to family gatherings, when going to the mall, to dates with my then-girlfriend and now-wife. When I'd travel for leisure or for work I'd bring my camera with me, until on work trips, I started staying a day or 2 more just so I can explore new places with my camera.

I eventually wanted to get better and so I started a 52-week project, which required me to shoot every week and compile 52 favorite shots over the course of a year. It was while doing that 52-week project that I believe I started getting better skills-wise as well as attitude-wise--being more persistent, patiently setting up or waiting for the right shot, being more disciplined and working through snags, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to become better. I did my first photo exhibit featuring my 52-week project photos in front of family and friends, and upon seeing my collection of travel shots, landscapes, street photos, portraits, and even still life shots of items around the house, I realized I can do more with my new-found passion, and that's when the thought of doing weddings popped into my head.

Luckily, I had friends who previously had a photography business, and we got to talking about getting into weddings. We started by just doing a couple of weddings for free, or by being backup teams, until we gained enough experience to market ourselves. Eventually we got more and more gigs, and 3 years after our first paid gig, I think we're doing more than okay. 🙂

Now a full-time photographer, aside from weddings, I've also gone into family, baby, and maternity portraiture professionally. I'm also trying my hand in fashion and sports photography. 🙂

Keeping it light and simple…

...I use a Canon 6D. My favorite lenses are the Canon 50mm f/1.4, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, and the Canon 85mm f1/.8, whether I'm shooting weddings, exploring a new place, or covering a UAAP game. For landscapes, it's got to be my Canon 6D, a 17-40mm f/4, my Benro tripod, and some ND filters since I like doing long exposure shots. I use just Adobe Lightroom to catalog and process my images.

See Louie's Portfolio


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