Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bacolod: Visiting Rapha Valley, Negros Best Organic Restaurant

Rapha Valley: Organic Farm & Restaurant

Rapha Valley is an organic farm & restaurant located in the mountains of Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental, Philippines that is dedicated to educating visitors about organic farming and healthy living. The owner, Dr. Albert Jo, is a passionate believer in organics and utilizes his farm to show diners that eating healthy can be a deliciously refreshing experience in itself. 

Birds in the field and cicadas on the trees had been whispering to me about a secret mountain retreat in the peaks of Don Salvador Benedicto recently. The whispers had been about stupendous and sometimes hard-to-believe things like an all organic, farm to table restaurant in Bacolod that served mouthwatering food without meat and artificial anything.

Interesting. I told myself.

An opportunity to visit this famed yet secret mountain retreat presented itself when some guests flew in from Manila recently. One of them was an organic nut (shout out to Monsqueaky!) and was looking for her juju fix amidst the sea of cholesterol that was Bacolod cooking. I was more than happy to oblige.

The trip up the mountain from Bacolod took around 45 minutes. (I had made sure to e-mail the owner and let him know we were coming a week beforehand. Check the 'details' towards the end of the post to find the owners e-mail). Rapha Valley isnt as exclusive as to require dinner or lunch reservations. You do need to reserve if you have a group of 8 and you want a complete farm tour though. We opted with just eating at the cafe.

After finding this 'hole-in-the-mountains' (literally), it felt as if we were transported to paradise. Organic paradise that is. I know I dont have photos of the environment and landscape surrounding Rapha Valley (I'll work on that in a future visit), let me try to describe it to you in words after the jump...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Engagement Session: Shirin & Van

Engagement Session: Shirin & Van

One of my favorite engagement shoots to date. Made even more special because of the trust that my subjects bestowed upon me as well as their special relevance to my own life. This was my first engagement session way back in April 2013. It will remain as one of my most memorable... Van and Shirin's "Post Nuptial". Read the description below to find out more. 

For this pre-nuptial, my client wanted something totally different from the done-to-death cheesy pictures of made-up couples dressed in fashion that they don't normally wear and sporting smiles that were probably manufactured in China. (Plastic). 

Instead of looking at the couple before the big day, my client wanted to offer viewers a glimpse of what the couple's life would be 48 hours AFTER the wedding. It was structured as a 'peek' into the beginnings of the newly-weds life together. 

As my client put it herself, "It’s a montage of moments during a lazy, slow and unstructured Sunday morning of a newly-wedded couple. It’s capturing the awkward yet intimate, romantic yet nervous, and simple yet compelling activities and movements that become the seeds of future Sunday morning rituals." I couldn't have said it better myself.

This has to be one of my favorite works yet and it would not have been possible without the help of a few awesome people that I would like to name now: Jake Morales, my co-photographer, KC Marcelo, the set designer, Eva Ramos Derecho, the make-up artist and of course, the beautiful couple themselves. 

Photographers: Andreo Bongco & Jake Morales 
Set Design: KC Marcelo 
Make-up: Eva Ramos 
Calligraphy: Shirin Eugenio Ramos

Read more by clicking below...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Merchant Review: Tay Hua Trading Corporation

Tay Hua Trading Corporation

My review about a recent business transaction at Tay Hua Trading Corporation, which is one of the more reputable and well known studio equipment suppliers located in Metro Manila, Philippines. 

Disclaimer: This photo is not mine. Image source: Intuition Photos -
(Disclaimer: Tay Hua Trading did not in any way pay me to do this review. I bought and paid for the item with my own funds.)

When you're a photographer based in Bacolod City, one of the most frustrating things for 'provincianos' like us is getting good quality studio equipment. Pickings are very slim here in Bacolod with almost no one offering softboxes, shoot through umbrellas or lightstands. One remedy to this is tapping photography gear suppliers in Metro Manila to ship studio equipment to you.

I stumbled upon Tay Hua Trading Corporation based on the many positive comments I read about it on a local Facebook group that was dedicated to buying and selling photography gear. People were pointing those in search of the aforementioned studio equipment to their website, which contains a full list of their products for sale. (I liked this a lot since their website has detailed product descriptions and up to date prices.)

Tay Hua Trading Corporation's Website:

Read more about how our business transaction went after the jump.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

BAPEX: Bacolod's Dedicated Facebook Group for Trading Cameras

BAPEX: Bacolod Photography Exchange

With the rise of Facebook in the recent years, groups on the social media site dedicated to buying and selling things have really taken off. Enter BAPEX or the Bacolod Photography Exchange, which is a Facebook group dedicated to the buying and selling of cameras, lenses and all other photography related equipment in Bacolod City. Find out how to be a part of this group after the jump.