Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beauty Shoot

Marielle asked me yesterday to shoot her for her beauty blog yesterday. This shoot was done in a make shift studio in our dining area. Although I did not use any studio grade diffuser, I found that putting my speedlight behind my outdoor sun diffuser did the job just as well. I did not have a hard time during post process since there were very few issues to fix.

For more photos please visit Marielle's blog: http://awalkofpassion.wordpress.com/

Monday, July 15, 2013

Around Cebu: Sto. Niño Church and The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

This is the last installment of my "Around Cebu" series. The day before our flight back to Manila, Marielle and I decided to not go to the beach and instead, just roam around the city and visit its most famous landmarks. After we went to the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, we went downtown to the Magellan's Cross and beside it is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. I wasn't able to take a snapshot of the structure but I was able to take a photo of the most magnificent altar I have ever seen.

Before we left, I was wondering why there was no priest at the altar but there was an on-going mass. It turned out masses are being held at the quadrangle outside the church.

After the Sto Niño church, we took a cab to go to the Cebu Cathedral. To our surprise, the church was actually just a few blocks away. :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Around Cebu: Magellan's Cross

A Cebu trip will never be complete without visiting the Magellan's cross. A very important piece of history was embedded (apparently) inside this replica outside the the Sto. Nino Church. 

Around Cebu: San Pedro Calungsod Chapel

It was our last two days in Cebu and Marielle and I decided to just skip going to the beach and just explored the city on our own. After lunch, we headed to the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel beside the soon to rise SM Seaside Cebu.

P.S. If you are going here by taxi, it would be wise to have the driver wait for you if you are not going to take long. It was unbelievably hard to get a taxi back especially since there was no mass and no other means of public transport pass through this area.

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 Best Lechon in Cebu

Anyone who visits Cebu is recommended to bring blood pressure medications as the almost evil lure to taste the world famous Cebu Lechon will definitely follow you throughout your stay. Lechon has always been associated with Cebu. Even in other cities, there are lechon houses who claim to be authentic Cebu Lechon. So what is it with Cebu  Lechon that everyone craves about? We unwillingly (LOL) took the challenge to find out what is it that makes people crave about it so much. Also, I'm going to give you a rundown of our top 5 considering flavor, juiciness of the meat and the crispiness of the skin.

5. CNT Lechon 

We have been hearing good things about CNT's lechon and saved this for our last lechon meal in Cebu before we flew back to Manila. I have to admit that our expectations were pretty high since we have already tasted 3 of the 5 lechon brands in this review. I kinda had a feeling that this was not going to be a good experience when we went into the restaurant which looks like an old canteen across SM Cebu. As we took our first bite, the excitement in our faces were washed away as we chewed into some pretty tough pieces of meat. CNT lechon was salty but lacked flavor and some parts of the skin were already soggy. Also, the meat itself looks old, as if it was cooked a day or two ago. Do not get me wrong, this is still one of the best lechon we have tasted ever, but among the other popular lechon houses in Cebu, and with a high expectation, this came across as our least favorite. Our taxi driver on our way to the airport told us that the lechon had to be salty to prevent it from spoiling as these were prepared a day prior to serving.

Website: (can't find it)
Contact no: 032-2544249/032-2546641

4. Alejo's Lechon

*image grabbed from http://alejoslechon.com/

We did not know about Alejo's until we tasted it from Mix and Joanie's wedding reception. Even in online reviews their name would appear very seldom as one of Cebu's best. As I've learned (from their website), they have been in the lechon business for 20 years already but since I don't think they have a restaurant, they are not very popular with tourists. Alejo's Lechon was ultra flavorful with very juicy meat and very crispy skin. The meat was so tender it almost melts in your mouth. I felt though that the flavor was too strong that it tasted good on my first bite but eventually my tongue got tired of the taste since the flavor of the herbs were overpowering the pork's natural taste.

Website: http://alejoslechon.com/
Contact no: (032) 261-8575 / (032) 261-1086

3. Zubuchon

Anthony Bourdain dubbed Zubuchon "The best pig ever." and they are mighty proud of this distinction. They even have this posted in their store in Escario Central, Cebu (and I heared in all branches as well). As we walked into the restaurant, very eager and friendly waiters greeted us and catered to our orders. Fresh from our flight, this was our first lechon meal in Cebu so we were really excited to finally taste Cebu Lechon. We were not turned down by this tasty lechon and I would say, the skin on their lechon was the crispiest from all that we tasted. There were some parts that were a little bit chewy but over all the meat was tender but not soggy. It would have ranked higher for me if it was not too salty. There were several cuts that I think were part of the pig's inner cavity where the stuffing were that are too salty. This might be the reason why the waiter was recommending the Kamias Shake but I went for a can of soda to negate the oiliness in my mouth.  Also, the boneless variety was not available when we dined in and the part given to us had a lot of bones in the serving.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zubuchon/187045978068913
Contact no: 032-2365264 / 032-2547342

2. Ayer's Lechon

*Photo grabbed from http://www.ayerlechon.com/

Since we were already out of time, we decided that we will just bring Ayer's Lechon home as pasalubong. We bought the lechon at 3 pm but because of a 5 hour delay in hour flight, we arrived home by 1 am. To our surprise, the skin was still crispy! Ayer's had almost the same flavor as with Alejo's but milder thus allowing the natural flavor of the lechon to bind with the spices. The meat was juicy and even after 10 hours, it was still delicious.

Contact no: (032) 268-0327

1. Cebu's Original Lechon Belly

We certainly did not expect that this would be our absolute favorite. Cebu's Original Lechon Belly is the best in Cebu! To start with, they have two variants for their lechon, original and spicy, and both are equally scrumptious. The flavor was not too over powering. It was like a delicate mix of the spices merging with the pork belly's natural flavor forming a very unique taste. The spicy lechon added some kick to the already tasty lechon. The meat was tender and of course the skin was perfectly crispy. Eating this by hand with "puso" rice or ketupat was one hell of a great meal.

Contact no: (032) 232-1155 (Cebu) / 0907-751-9340 (Mall of Asia branch)

The lechon experience in Cebu was certainly memorable. Some of you might raise an eye brow as to the arrangement of these five but collectively Cebu Lechon is... (channeling my inner Bourdain) the best pig ever! It is not the mix of onions, garlic, leeks, pepper, fish sauce, star anise, etc.. that characterizes the Cebu lechon but moreover, it is biting into an important piece of the Cebuano culture that makes this "pig" extra special.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Around Cebu: Tops

I think one of the nicest places we have visited in Cebu was Tops in Busay, Cebu city. It would have been better though if I had my DSLR and my EF-S 10-22mm f3 5-4.5 USM with me so I can have a better shot but I decided to travel light (and safe) and just brought my Sony Cybershot DSC-N1 for Cebu. The best time to go here is definitely before sunset. As the daylight looms, you will see the city lights turn up one by one. And the view gives a feeling of looking at a miniature model as the city looks so near yet so far. Unlike the views from Antipolo and Tagaytay, and maybe because of less polution, you'll get a spectacular and clearer view of the city. Here are some of the shots grabbed from Marielle and my friend Ernest Uy's Facebook pages.


I remembered I did took photos for stitching which I did in Photoshop. Though this is not as clear as a DSLR shot, this is the image I was able to come up with.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Around Cebu: The Taoist Temple

It was a fine day in Cebu and after a filling lunch at SRP Kandingan, we went up to the Taoist temple to light some incense and make wishes. Below are some photos I took with my handy yet reliable Sony Cybershot DSC-N1 camera.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mix and Joanie's Prenup

We had a great time shooting my very good pal Mix and his lovely wife Joanie for their Prenup. Make up and styling was done by Marielle Diaz and I was being assisted by my nephew PJ Panganiban. The shoot was done in the Batangas Provincial Capitol Grounds and at Ponte Fino Hotel. Here are some of the photos... :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Who ever said a guy can't bake? Part 2!

I love cakes and Marielle introduced me to the Red Velvet Cake and it was AWESOME. I really have no words to describe how much I love this cake and so I decided to try to bake my own. Armed with some knowledge in baking, the ingredients, the recipe I found off Google and some enthusiasm (of course), I was able to make the best ever Red Velvet Cake (that I have tasted). 


Marielle (not a cake person) loved it. My mom (who has no appetite for cakes anymore) loved it. Everyone loved this cake... so I guess I'm not biased in saying this is the best. :P

Friday, May 31, 2013

Take your Time, Check Your Gear and Shoot in Raw.

The photo above was part of the Intramuros photoshoot we had last year. Since it was my first time to shoot with a model and on location, the excitement took its toll and made me forget some essentials. I forgot to bring batteries for my flash, forgot to change my ISO setting from 6400 and I was shooting on JPEG mode. This resulted to poor quality and should I say, grainy photos. Luckily, we were shooting in a periodic and historically significant location that the photo grain kinda worked to my advantage and helped me achieve the vintage feel I was aiming for. This will not be the case all the time. Please do me a favor and do not make the same mistake I did. Always remember to always take your time, check your gear and shoot in RAW! :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Silent Prayer

Shot this image of a Palawan Bearcat during a tour at the Zoobic Safari in Zambales, Philippines.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Selective Color Technique

Selective Color is one of my favorite techniques in digital photography. I just love how this draws the eye to the subject while the black and white background adds to the dramatic feel of the whole picture. While different photographers have different ways in achieving this look, I processed the photo below using only Adobe Camera Raw.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Biggr, Bettr, Flickr!!!

I was so thrilled when I opened my Flickr account and saw the great news. Flickr is giving every member a 1 terabyte free online storage for photos and videos. This means no more re-sizing! Everyone can upload their full resolution images and share photos the way they were shot. I am especially happy since the old Flickr had a small storage limit that will hide all your old photos into an archive which you will never see unless you upgrade to pro. Browsing through the newly redesigned Photostream has brought joy to my eyes since it was the first time in years that I was able to see the old photos I uploaded years ago. I think this is a bold move by Yahoo and hopefully traffic will start pouring back or else. 1 TB per user is a huge investment and if this does not turn out well, it might join the other Yahoo acquired sites that are now deep under the grave... (remember Geocities?). For now, let us all take advantage of this and upload photos for the world to see.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Pork Chop Steak

Me and my siblings have always loved this sinfully tasty (and oily) pork chop steak that my Dad cooks. My sister especially has been whining about not tasting any that comes close to how Dad makes this. Since he is always out of the country, we have been trying to copy the recipe down to the taste, tenderness (and greasiness). This is my latest try in perfecting this dish. :)

Friday, May 10, 2013


Applied some techniques I recently learned on this shot of Marielle's pendant.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good Morning

I looked up and was amazed to see this beautiful sky today. :P Good morning everyone!

RE-Learning PS

I have been trying to learn how to edit images properly on Photoshop. I know some photographers would say a true photographers do not do post processing but I believe PP (post processing) is essential especially when doing portraits.

Above is a before and after of the shot I made with Marielle. Clearly, post processing has helped in hiding some skin imperfections as well correcting some mistakes I made when I shot the photo. I must admit, I am one of those who uses Orton effect to make my images more soft as well as make skin look smoother. The downside to this is color saturation tends to look over exposed and overall the photo loses sharpness (which is then compensated by increasing contrast). 

Both photos above came from the same shoot but the photo on the left was processed before I took some online tutorials. Photo on the right would still not pass as a magazine cover in my opinion but as how the old cliche goes, practice makes perfect.