Handbrake turn

Not another long overdue update. Well, yes and a complete content overhaul.

For a quick recount of goings on in the last 3 months,  I was away mostly on multiple, consecutive shoots around and outside the country. Much of the work was anthropological and sociological, visiting indigenous communities and digging into ethnolinguistic cultural norms. Personally, I think this has been a privilege and one of the most fulfilling components of what I do. It is delicate, it is sensitive, and (I think) requires some  integrity, ethics and empathy. Being in this industry (the media) has kept me constantly in self-check; how do I dig without being intrusive? Is my presence imposing? Who exactly benefits from this story? Is the angle presumptuous? Although many would say these questions are more self-questioning than necessary, I like to think these help keep my work clean and grounded.

I’ve also recently picked up on yoga again and committed myself to consistent practise. By committed and consistent, I mean, making it a job and working in a studio. To push myself further, I took the early morning shift, which means getting out of the house before sunrise. The work itself is part-time and a composite of studio management and an apprenticeship. Someone suggested that I blog about this experience, this not-so-convenient route to a life in yoga. While I try to refrain from posting “dear diary” accounts on this blog, I agree that keeping track of my progress and thoughts on the mat could be interesting.

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Another Office. Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Another office: Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Lately, I’ve been saying the same thing over and over again.

An instant snapshot of today’s office (atop a mountain or in the middle of nothing but water) aptly titled, “Today’s Office”, followed by a brief paragraph on how much I owe this blog a proper entry. Well, this post has no actual plans of breaking the pattern—just intentions, yes.

In the last month and a half, I’ve been: filming all over two provinces (both of which are currently deep in post-production; the scriptwriting far from done), busy with the launch of a regional passion project—which is now mainstreamed into my daily grind of editing work, and managing another team in redesigning and soon to relaunch another website-slash-online publication. In between all that, I’ve been shuffling the Social Media Community Manager hat for three other projects. While this listing may subtly read as a complaint—especially for those of you who’ve seen me scutter around in confusion, halting in mid-sentence or starting two incongruous thoughts at the same time, I must say that I have never seen this grease monkey of a work machine more oiled than ever. To call it a rough road is an understatement, but the right road nonetheless, with minimal detours and distractions. And perhaps it was this new control-ridden-driver on the wheel that switched gears and propelled things out of haziness. Yes, I’ve been frustrated, obsessive, methodological (*gasp*) more than ever. But as I allow myself to take a step back and sit along the roadside of this winding dirt road—I can’t help but feel grateful. To be busy doing the things I’ve always wanted to do and work on things I believe in. To be able to work with such dedicated, talented, and good-natured people. That I am constantly learning from each task and each person I encounter/work with each day. I know I haven’t actually expressed this gratitude—with the exception of grumpy grunts and nods. But I mean it: Thanks.

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All this recent obsessive cribbing and planning seem to have just led me to a deeper rut of frustration. Slowly unweaving myself from this mental pattern, I am taking a few steps back and just…recalibrating, reorienting. More than anything, I am appreciating the value of simplicity. With regard to all aspects, but in this specific context, simplicity in perspective and simplicity in approach. I’ve been meeting people who seem to possess this uncomplicated and uncluttered orientation AND mental disposition, and for that I am really grateful.

So before this rambling plummets to full-on feelings spelunking, I am excited to wrap things up and launch these projects soon. Then, maybe a vacation, or more likely a relocation—but that’s for another post. :)

Last week


Good morning, beautiful.

This was shot along Halsema Highway in Benguet province, on the highest point of the Philippine Highway System.

I know I’ve been posting snippets and snaps here and there, instead of the proper longform entry. Most of my long writing energy has been spent on work (after all, the one funding all these travels) and a new project. But more narrative updates soon, I hope.

Now ish.

It’s that moment of pause; perched right on the edge, neither standing or sitting, breath-held; the dreadful pause before taking the plunge and the only thing you can hear is, “am i ready am i ready am i ready am i ready am i ready am i ready am i rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddyyyyyyyyy” interrobang interrobang interrobang


Still scenes behind moving scenes

On top of everything I’ve been working on is a documentary profiling and chronicling a simple yet profound symbol of cultural tradition in the Philippines. I am honoured to be writing it and to have had an in-depth look into the story of one man’s half-century dedication to giving the joy and spirit of Christmas—even just in the form of animated mannequins atop a window—to the Filipino masses.

And in the past couple of days I’ve been diving into the raw material which, I must say, has been a pleasure and great work booster. Here’s a bit of a sneak peek:

Scenes Behind the Scenes


Scenes from the most recent shoot. This one was in Don Salvador Benedicto, a municipality in Negros Occidental. I had been to this part of the Visayas before, mostly around Bacolod and Mount Kanlaon, but I admit I had never heard of this cool, mountainous ‘holiday getaway’. Unlike its warmer neighbours, Don Salvador Benedicto is known and oft visited for its crisp cool mountain air. It is compared to the more famous chilly vacation spots of the country: Baguio City and Tagaytay City.

These images barely capture the never-ending visual orgasm I was having. I was like a child high on too much candy and thrown in a carnival. The cloud porn was crazy.

Nature—in all its gritty glory/glorious grit—simply never fails.