Monday, February 25, 2008

Something old, something new...

How's this for a retro issue?

Several years ago, my brother started saving old photos on digital format. Some of them were even on slides (you know, the one you view using a slide projector), like the ones of my grandfather during his early 20th century sojourns and of his academic pursuits. The photo above was taken on our parents' wedding day in May 1953 -- an early matrimonial ceremony at Pinaglabanan Church, San Juan followed by a breakfast reception at the Aristocrat Restaurant which, according to them, cost P1.50/plate! And no professional wedding coordinators were involved in the preparations!

[Addendum: Not P1.50/plate, my mom pointed out a few nights ago when I asked her again about it. It was P3.50/plate] =)

I think the cover below fits them to a T, whether or not it's Valentine's month :-)

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Saw this on John Jansen's blog, Lunch Break, last week. I can imagine the scene, and I think it's funny but also thought-provoking:

A Dose of Humility

A few years ago, Jocelyn gave me a holy water font for Christmas. Since then, we've tried to get our kids in the habit of frequently blessing themselves with holy water.

Last night, five-year old Teresa got some holy water from the font with her left hand, and I gently reminded her that we're supposed to use our right hand.

"Why do we use our right hand?"

Caught off-guard and honestly not knowing the answer, I had to admit as much: "You know, Teresa, that's a really good question. I don't know why."

To which she deadpanned with the unique innocence of a five-year old: "I thought you were smart."

Coming on the eve of Lent, this was a welcome dose of humility for me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Hindi naman hadlang ang kahirapan..."

If you've been visiting this blog from time to time the past couple of years, you may have come across Sally Ruiz, a woman who lives in a temporary housing facility in one of the poorest areas of Tondo, along with her grown daughter and 3-year-old son. The widow took the 3-year-old boy, Nonoy, as her own when he was only 3 days old. Why? He was to be aborted by his biological mother, and Sally's belief that murder is wrong and that everybody has a right to be born prompted her to take in the 18-year-old mother during the last months of the pregnancy and pledge to adopt the child. Three days after giving birth, the young woman left. Though impoverished and aware that raising a child will not be easy, Sally resolved to be a mother to Nonoy. And she's been doing this since then. Her quiet words go something like, "Hindi naman hadlang ang kahirapan para makatulong ka (poverty isn't a hindrance to helping others)"

Last week I had given Sally a call to schedule a meet-up with her somewhere in QC to take photos of her and her little boy (we're featuring their story in a future issue of the mag). The Smokey Mountain area is difficult to navigate, and frankly I had wanted a better, fresher environment as a backdrop for the photos. The grounds of the Good Shepherd Convent (the Pro-Life Phils. office, where I used to work, is within the compound) would be perfect, so I asked that we meet there. Being a Pro-Life volunteer who goes house-to-house to counsel and help in whatever way she can pregnant women, Sally was familiar with the place, too. I was aware that transportation money is also a problem for Sally so I assured her that I would reimburse whatever expenses she'd incur for the trip to Good Shepherd.
"Puwede ho tayong mag-meet sa Sabado ng umaga? (Can we meet on Saturday morning?)" I asked her.

"Sabado? Sige ho... (Saturday? Okay...)" was the soft reply. "Ay sandali, (Oh wait)" she paused.
"Sa Lunes na lang ho. Wala pa ho akong pera sa Sabado (Let's make it Monday instead. I'll still have no money on Saturday)."
My heart sank when I heard this. I won't even begin to enumerate the items that flashed in my mind in the next few moments, items I spent money on and which I could've lived without. And here was a woman who needed a few more days before taking a short trip, to be able to find money for the train and jeepney ride.

Meeting her and Nonoy in person, I experienced mixed emotions. Just like the first time I had met her -- a few weeks after the Inquirer front page story came out, I was in awe. It's not everyday that I get to meet a person with such generosity. She had very, very little, but she was willing to give much. And she did, and continues to do so. I know the few cans of sardines, biscuits and Ovaltine chocolates I quietly handed to her after our photo session will not go far. And for a fleeting moment I cringed at the thought of possibly putting her on the spot or making her uncomfortable about having to rely on others for a hand-to-mouth existence. Then I told myself, generous people like her are humble and simple. There won't be any problem of feeling slighted when there's a need to accept help from others. But I sure wish there were more I could do for her and her family.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Emptying my camera...

What's great about digital cameras is that there's no film to load and reload and to take to the shop for developing. But one can easily see that deleting photos can be quite a task when one goes on shooting for months and months without deleting anything.

Here are a few shots I found in my cam.

That's November 2007 cover boy Jack Holland, having a blast during the photo shoot at Somerset Millennium Hotel. But pretty soon we all got exhausted from all the jumping up and down to amuse the 7-month-old into giggling.

That's another pictorial of...the mystery baby who shall grace the March cover!

While wandering around the area where the awarding of the SM Star Baby Contest winners was being held, I spotted these two kids hanging out on the floor below. The Mall of Asia is HUGE! I'm not exaggerating when I say it was a challenge to find my way out of the mall and to the parking area.

His name is Polo. Endearing little guy huh? We were goofing around one day outside the ballroom of one of the hotels where a Congress was being held. This is how he looks when you tickle his nape!

Festivity on wheels

I was driving down University Ave. this morning at the University of the Philippines campus erwhen I saw it making its way on the other lane. Have you attempted to get good snapshots of a moving subject while you're driving and trying to keep to your lane and figuring out how many seconds you have before you reach the intersection? Well, it was a bit amusing; fortunately there weren't too many other cars around.

This is probably part of some exhibit on campus, as February is Diliman Month. 2008 is the centenary of the State University, and the Diliman campus is gearing up for some events this month to celebrate.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

more Baby talk!

I'm blogging again.

Frankly, it feels strange and I actually do not know which to write first! SO many considerations have come and gone -- hitting me while driving, writing (articles for the magazine, that is), driving, minutes before falling asleep at night, driving, riding the MRT... and I failed to jot down any of them in my little notebook. So they will just have to stay in the confines of my memory; let's hope they make it out someday...

Let me share with you one of my recent discoveries: there is a whole network of mommies out there who spend a huge amount of time "promoting" their babies. This is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, I find it to be quite...endearing? After some blog-jumping and forum-hopping the past couple of months, I realized that mothers naturally look to each other for company, inspiration, comfort, fact-sharing and just good old chitchat. They discuss everything from diaper rash, feeding bottles and NFP to party clowns, preschools and the best talent agencies to bring their kids to. Then of course, there are the threads wherein moms break the news when their little ones make it to the cover of Baby magazine! Then of course being on the pages of any of the baby galleries of whatever parenting magazine is worth the breaking news as well.

So let me start off my back-to-blogging day with a little something about our current issue, which will be in stores by tomorrow (though some copies may be on display already by end of today). It's the traditional Month of Love so we made sure we included several articles pertaining to love of all kinds: the special daddy-daughter bond, loving a special-needs child, then there's a humorous take on myths about married life, and a feature on Tibbs and Vangie Evalle--26 years married and they haven't lost the humor that keeps things light. The photo shoot was a lot of fun--and difficult as Ditas, our managing editor who took the photos as well, couldn't help but laugh along with the couple as they gamely posed (and "struck candid poses") for us. Some shots were actually blurred from the shaking (we didn't bring a tripod)...

Cover girl Jayszelle Pangan was 5 months when photographer Harvey Tapan snapped her, looking all warm and toasty during a winter's day (!) -- in the tropics?? Hehe.

February fills the air with that lovin’ feeling!

Celebrate this month of love with Baby Magazine, which spreads the love through
articles about preserving marriage, common myths about married life, taking care of a special-needs
child, the unique dad-daughter relationship, and basically surrounding your little ones with lots
of love!

Other topics covered in the February issue include teaching your child morning routines (and helping himself from bed to breakfast), the basics about ectopic pregnancy, caring for a Down syndrome infant, helping a child overcome his shyness, and practical tips on on how not to lose one's child in a mall.

Baby is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is available nationwide at National Bookstore, SM Department Store baby section, Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant mall), Babyland, Power Books, Bufini and selected mag:net plus outlets. For subscription and other inquiries, call 728-3655/56.

In the name of Justice

Well, his name really is Justice but we called him "baby Jazz."

I don't understand how we could have missed this little guy's picture--he is so adorable! More so in person and after his parents shaved off all his hair on the day he turned 1 year. We would've scheduled him for a shoot sooner had the photos his mom emailed to Baby not fallen through the cracks somehow. Good thing they resurfaced and charmed us all at the editorial department!

We had wanted to photograph him riding a merry-go-round in motion; it would've been a nice shot, but Jazz didn't like the movement one bit! He scowled, frowned, whimpered and his eyebrows were furrowed the entire time. So of course we got him off the ride to enjoy the other parts of the playground. Photographer Ralph Alejandrino then captured him looking all gleeful, seated comfortably, no motion whatsoever. Hence, the charming January cover to begin the new year superbly =)

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