Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keion!

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~~This entry was from my Facebook Notes. I just found out that I didn't post it here in my blog. This was a special day for me because I saw Alodia Gosiengfiao in person. The event was the Animax K-On Cosplay Outing from about a year ago. Exact date is March 16, 2010. It has remained unedited~~


After work earlier this day, I rushed to TriNoma for an afternoon of anime. :) Cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao informed everybody through Facebook of the said event. Animax sponsored this event as a promotion to the newest series K-On! that will be aired on March 16. And as an anime fan, I just had the urge to go. 


I waited by the Garden near the cinemas where the event was supposed to start. A crowd was already gathering by the place. 


There were cosplayers over there. One sure thing that I have noticed is that they were very conspicuous. Blond wigs, pink wigs, gothic outfit... wow! Some people who didn't know of the event said, "Why do they dress up like Lady Gaga?" Hahaha! So for sure, I would recognize the cosplayers that will play the four K-On! characters. 


There were photographers there too, and I felt a little awkward when I saw their high-tech cameras. I only had a simple 6.0 megapixel digicam that I borrowed from Tita Dixie. But I am very thankful about it. :)


Sure enough, my head turned when I saw four tall girls in school girl costumes wearing colorful wigs. The first one that I saw was the tallest girl with a blond wig, Janeena Chan who played Ritsu, and beside her were three Chinese girls. The next one that caught my eye was the other girl in a long blond wig, she was Bea Araneta and she cosplayed Mugi. Then, I recognized the taller Ashley Gosiengfiao as Mio... on her right side was her sister Alodia Gosiengfiao who played Yui.
So, I grabbed my camera and snapped all the way. The crowd was gathering and I could see all kinds of cameras... digicams, camera phones, anything. And I felt comfortable with my camera then. :)


Alodia posed for me. :) So Yeah... *snap*snap*snap*... I didn't care if they were posing against the sun or whether I was taking good angle. Woah! The crowd were pushing against me and some were stepping on my feet. :(( But all that changed when Alodia moved to the side, and a kid pushed her way on me and I gave way. The kid called on Alodia, "Ate!", and she looked and posed. Then I called her too, "Alodia". She looked at me, and posed too. :) 
It was worth it. There was a time when I couldn't get into the crowd to take pictures, I had a chance to talk to Alodia and Ashley's mother. She was in an orange blouse and she was very warm. I could see where Ashley and Alodia got their beautiful features. She explained to me about the event. And that she never expected for it to be this successful... or crowded. Hehehe.... Too bad I hadn't had the chance to pose for a picture with her. :((


I followed the cosplyers everywhere and I snapped all the way. I took pictures until 4 PM. I was so tired and hungry. And I was getting bored taking pictures. So I went home at that same hour. 


And now that I am uploading my photos here in Facebook, I have noticed how I messed up. Hahaha! Most of my pictures had red eyes that needed editing, or how I noticed that the lightning was poor, or about how blurred some pictures are. Hahahaha! But at least, I got good ones. :) And I also realized one disadvantage of being a photographer: you are never on the pictures. Hahahaha!


I'm very happy that I went to this event. This is my first time and I really enjoyed it. The truth is, I just went there without even knowing what this K-On! anime is about. Hahaha! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Active Listening

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Active Listening is the process of hearing and understanding the speaker, but it doesn't stop there. It requires you to interact with him/her. In other words, it is an active conversation where both parties exchange information from each other.

To listen and understand is a difficult skill to have. Learning to employ imagery and emotion to what you hear is even harder. These are especially true to me. Reading is no problem. I understand it to the core. But if we are talking about ordinary listening, well, we got a big problem.

When I read, I can process the whole message of the material. I could feel the emotion, think like the character, and most importantly read between the lines. But when I just listen, my brain goes blank. I can’t process it as fast as reading. Sometimes, the speaker needs to repeat the instructions twice or thrice for me to truly understand.

I found out that I have this condition when I worked for a BPO company in Makati. Life sometimes puts us in a place to learn something from it. I am very thankful that I had significant lessons during the short time that I stayed in there. One of these lessons is Active Listening. This is a vital skill to have when you’re dealing with customers.

For me to develop this important skill, our team leader TL Percy had me undergo AUX 6 a lot of times. He gave tips on how to improve on active listening:

1.       Watch movies WITHOUT SUBTITLES –(hmmm… This is very difficult. I would be able to understand the movie more if I have subtitle support T_T)
2.       Listen to E-books –(I tried this with Alice in Wonderland and I fell asleep in less than ten minutes; With reading, the opposite will happen… in fact, I won’t even feel sleepy)
3.       Engage in conversations on the phone and in real life –(well… I am a silent type of person and I have difficulty in thinking of topics to talk about)

If you are having the same problem as me, you might want to consider the suggestions listed above. Better yet, if you have more activities that improve active listening, you can share it with me. :)

Now that I have a different job as a Market Researcher, I thought that I won’t need active listening again. But I was wrong. I just found out that I will coordinate with people: my colleagues, accounting office, government offices, suppliers, and clients. And yes, interaction over the phone is also there. Of course, I would have to listen and process information fast.

 I never thought that what I learned in my previous job can be applied now in the present. I guess I will be able to use it everywhere and in every situation. And thus, I am very thankful to my friends and trainers in that BPO Company: To TL Percy and the rest of Team SSS; to our mentors Hara, Juner, Francis, Mae Ree, Allan, and Lester; and to my wavemates (Wave 30.10 –I miss you!). You guys have taught me one of life’s simple yet important lessons: to always have a listening heart.

:)

The Perfect Arch

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Two months ago, I attended the BDJ Rendevous: I Dream therefore I Can event. It was a day filled with self-motivation lessons and fun activities organized by Belle de Jour Power Planner. There were lots of prizes courtesy of sponsors. The last activity was about sharing your learnings from any of the talks, and only the first fifteen girls who could make it to the front would win. I was one of those lucky fifteen girls. (^_^). And from it, I won a Browhaus Gift Certificate of one Brow Construction service worth PhP 580! Yay!
Last Saturday, I decided that it was time for me to redeem this privilege. Instead of joining the long queues for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I went to Greenbelt 5 and searched for Browhaus. The first weekend of any blockbuster movie is said to bring people to the cinemas and abandon everything else. It was different with me, however, I skipped the cinema for some well-deserved pampering.

The concierge instructed me to go to the fourth floor, where Browhaus was located. However, I got lost along the way. Greenbelt is a labyrinth of a shopping mall. Thankfully, I found the lone escalator leading to the fourth floor. But when I got there, all I saw was a blank white space. I mean, there were no stores, and only restrooms were seen at the left side. I asked the restroom janitor about Browhaus and he happily led me to a narrow pathway, which opened up to a spot full of skin clinics. Finally, I made it to the Browhaus boutique! :)

The place was warm and cozy. It reminded me of the inside of a submarine. Doors painted with green had a ship’s steering wheel on it. Floor was carpeted, walls were beautifully painted, and the interior design was shaped avant garde in circles and other geometrical shapes. The staff was friendly and accommodating. It was a gorgeous place offering top-of-the-line services!

The receptionist gave me a warm smile when I handed her the GC. After about five minutes of waiting, I was immediately called for a session. Woah! Now that is fast service! I was accommodated by a Browhaus therapist named Venus, who was more than happy to serve. Venus was the one who started the conversation, a gesture that I highly appreciate. :) She led me to one of the submarine-like doors, which turned out to be private rooms.

Venus looked at the state of my eyebrows with a very keen eye for details. Along with it, she asked basic questions like who shapes my eyebrows and what type of method was used. After that, she let me lie comfortably on a special chair (looked similar to what dentists use) and began putting liquid solution to my eyebrows.

The method that Venus used was Threading. It is called such because a thread is literally used to remove hair. Venus told me beforehand that it entailed tolerable pain. Fortunately, her hands were gentle enough that I felt lesser pain compared to what I expected. The whole process took about ten minutes or so. At the end of the threading process, Venus handed me a mirror and I like what I saw! There were two perfect arches framing the windows of my soul! (^_^) Venus then put cold gel to my eyebrows to relax the muscles and the pain immediately disappeared. She also told me that threading is recommended every three to four weeks to maintain the shape. That concluded the eyebrow construction session. My therapist did an excellent job!

I will never forget what Venus’ compliment before I left the clinic. She said, “Ang ganda ng kilay mo!” (Your eyebrows are beautiful!) (^_^) Here is a closeup photo of my newly shaped right brow. See the perfection that Venus did. It is arched just right and it is not overdone.

Before I left Browhaus, the receptionist gave me a business card and told me that I am welcome to go back. I also have the option to choose the same therapist. With the speed of service, cozy place, and friendly people, for sure I will be back.

:)

Home

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The next step in my pilgrimage is the church closest to home. The beauty of this church is it simplicity. San Agustin Parish Church, manned by the Franciscan order, has served the people for a long time. It was named after St. Augustine. This is my home church, and this is the reason why I chose this to be a part of my journey.

Unfortunately, the church is closed until late in the afternoon. I couldn’t get in to pray at an earlier time. It was a problem because I didn’t want to go home late. But one afternoon of May 4, 2011, I didn’t have plans to visit the church at all. It was about 3PM and I went out to buy food for merienda. :P When I passed by the church, I noticed that the gates were open. Yay! So I happily went inside to pray. :)

There was a small group meeting taking place in there. That was probably the reason why the church was open at an earlier time than usual. Other than that, someone was also cleaning and polishing the floors, making the place smelling like paraffin wax. But I didn’t let it ruin my excitement to pray.

First, I prayed in the Adoration Chapel located at the west wing (photo shown below). The quote at the left side is a Biblical passage written in Filipino. It is translated as, “I am the Bread of Life”.

Then I meditated at the church Altar. The time was already 5:30PM and the spectacular Altar lights were on to prepare for the 6PM Mass. The interior became lively at the still brightness, which made me more than eager to continue with my prayers. The digital camera failed to capture the fullness of the place. But I still opted to take a photo of the Altar, though the colors fell short. :(

San Agustin Parish always reminds me of home. It is a place of happiness and security –two things that I hope to find at the end of this pilgrimage.
:) 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lady Shutterbugs

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Venice Piazza was the perfect place for a photo op. The European inspired architecture could bring out the creativity from anyone. The building had Roman Pedestals, Turkish arches, and English towers. Cobblestones lined the floors which made it more reminiscent of Europe, along with a modern twist. Venice Piazza is a beautiful shopping mall. This is probably the reason why the June/July Passion Series of Belle de Jour Power Planner was held there.

Themed as Shutterbugs Unite!, it was about learning basic photography and further developing our interest towards it. The speaker was Ms. Angela Nina Barcelona of MediaWorld Creatives Co. (http://www.images.mediaworldcreatives.com/).

I was one of the lucky fifteen girls who got an invitation to this exclusive event. The organizers instructed us to send an email of the best photo that we took. I personally didn’t expect that I would be chosen. I only have a digital or also known as point-and-shoot camera. Surely, other girls  owned a DSLR camera and they could take better photos with it.

But then, I thought that I won’t hurt to try. So I sent out this photo (shown below) of a white rose. This shot was taken using 6MP Canon Powershot point-and-shoot camera in digital macro mode. Afterwards, I edited it using the autocorrect  option of Microsoft® Picture Manager because I am not familiar with Adobe® Photoshop®.

About a week later, I received an email from Tonee of BDJ saying that I was chosen. Yay! I was very happy! I started to believe that anyone can be a photographer, whether they own a simple digital camera or a professional DSLR.

True enough, I saw other girls in the event using point-and-shoot cameras too, though the majority had DSLRs. Ms. Barcelona shared some techniques and tips on how to improve our photos. She discussed the most relevant topics while making it fun and interesting at the same time.

Our speaker:

I would like to share to you the discussions that we had. These were taken from our speakers slides. I had to be fast in taking down notes. (^_^) Ms. Barcelona started off with the Ten Photography Techniques:

1.       Move in Closer –subject should fill the frame to understand the photo better.
2.       Be quick –shoot right away to capture fleeting emotions
3.       Compose with Care –strive to lead the eye along an interesting path through the photo with the use of strong lines or patterns
                                        -The Rule of Thirds –is to put to use by dividing the rectangular shape of your scene into nine smaller rectangles and to avoid putting the subject at its center

Ms. Barcelona showing us an example of The Rule of Thirds:

4.       Be selective –discern your interest and center your efforts on getting the best photo of the subject
5.       Focus on the Subject –incorporate a good depth of field
6.       Experiment with Shutter Speed
7.       Look at the Light
8.       Watch the Weather
9.       Be bold -...but be wise! Use the right camera for your trips
10.   Keep it simple! –Remember, you’re making memories to have fun

The next topic was the kinds of photography. It was very generous of our speaker to give us three tips on how to improve our skills in taking photos of each type.

Kinds of Photography:

A.      Landscape Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Foreground interest –include a subject to add appeal
2.       Rule of Thirds –helps achieve a balanced composition and makes the scene easier to the eye
3.       Lead in Lines –compose the scene so that features like railway lines, shorelines, etc., run from the foreground interest towards a main focal point

B.      Portrait Photography
 Three Tips:
1.       Change/ Consider perspective –you can take a full body, face, etc.
2.       Create a candid look –gives a more mysterious nature and quality to the subject
3.       Observe your subject –keep him/her relaxed and watch out for unique, interesting gestures and expressions

C.      Sports Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Know the sport –so that you can have effective camera angles
2.       Capture the interactions between teammates
3.       Look for the unexpected

D.      Still Life Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Composition and background –should be one or two subjects at a time
2.       Lighting –still life photos use the play of light and shadow effectively to convey the ‘story’ of the picture.
3.       Fill the frame –to avoid cropping valuable pixels later on

E.       Food Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Shoot from a lower angle so that food looks more majestic
2.       Crop in tightly –simplifies the shot, makes it more tactile, makes it easier to see the details, and lessens the need for props; compose in the camera as much as possible, don’t rely too much on Photoshop®
3.       Take a LOT of photos –is the best way to ensure you get the perfect shot

F.       Street Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Be observant of your surroundings
2.       Be ready with your camera because events won’t repeat themselves
3.       Street Photography etiquette –respect the privacy of the people, always ask for permission if you want to take photos of them

G.     Architectural Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Read between the lines –look for architectural symmetry to tell the story of the subject
2.       Waiting for the weather –try different times and weather to see what works most
3.       Take time to get the best angle

H.      Events Photography

Three Tips:
1.       Know what you’re going to shoot before you shoot it –visualize; have a general idea of what shots you would take before the event
2.       Capture the story of the event –get behind the scenes; take shots of before, during, and after the event
3.       Get as close as you can to the action –shoot fast

I.        Travel Photography
Three Tips:
1.       Be prepared! –with SD cards, batteries, etc.
2.       Explore the area –get oriented by taking a  2-3 hour guided bus tour of the major sightings; or read online reviews prior to going there
3.       Shoot people pictures –take photos of people, along with architectural buildings and landscapes

Ms. Barcelona gave us extra tips on how to care for our cameras. She suggested to handle it properly and buy cleaning kits for it. “Cameras are expensive”, she said, “so we must all take care of this valuable investment.”

We then proceeded with the workshop. Darlyn of Belle de Jour gave us five topics: Venue/Banner, The Speaker, BDJ Girls, a new friend, and something interesting. Ms Barcelona further told us to also take five photos from the kinds of photography that we discussed.

The pictures that I have shown so far in this blog entry were my workshop photos. But there is still one more that I haven’t shared to you. This next photo is something interesting that caught my attention:

As seen in the photo above, a gray dove is perched on a very tall pedestal. I was inspired by its majesty –for it to be so high and unreachable was amazing!

After the short workshop, Ms. Barcelona then showed photos and asked us to compare our perspective of it before and after the seminar. To my surprise, she called me to answer…

(Photo courtesy of Ms. Lovelin Tiongson)
….but all I could say was, “Sorry I was late so I don’t have any idea…” Wehehehe….(^_^)v

She also gave constructive criticisms to the photos taken by the BDJ girls who volunteered to show it. Ms. Barcelona shared tips on how to improve each photo and along the way, gave us a sound advice: TO BE ALWAYS PASSIONATE AT WHAT WE ARE DOING, NOT JUST IN PHOTOGRAPHY BUT IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE.

It was Darlyn who ended the day by giving us a homework to upload our photos in the BDJ Facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/BelledeJourPlanner) and to add another photo to answer this question: “What is your Plan B?”

Hmmm… it was a difficult question. I didn’t have any idea, and furthermore… I was busy taking aftermath photos –of my fellow BDJ girls and of the organizers too. :)

Yay! A group photo! I will never forget this event. I'm sorry I can't give the proper credit to this photo. It has been circulating in a lot of photo albums. Thanks to the photographer, you know who you are.

All of us didn’t go home empty-handed. Belle de Jour gave us goodie bags –or envelopes –containing FMN notebooks, a L’oreal sample from Regine’s Salon, a BDJ notepad, and a White Hat® coupon. :)

And my plan B? Hmmm…


I have decided to have a simple one: to save up to buy a DSLR camera and let’s see where that will lead to…

I’m very thankful to the Belle de Jour Team and to Ms. Angela Nina Barcelona for inspiring us to believe in our talents. I love Belle de Jour!

:)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rejection

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Rejection. It is a bitter thing. As abstract as it is, no one can deny it's sting. I, for one, have been rejected... my love unrequited. 


Now here comes the question: my intention was good... but why?


I know that this doesn't happen once... but a lot. However, it seems that the frequency is high for me. 


Three months ago, I loved this coffee shop. I have always dreamed of working as a barista in there, to see myself sporting that black apron. I have been a loyal customer to that store. The baristas became my friends. They would smile and serve me with care. I really felt that I was welcomed there. 


I really want to know more about handling and making coffee. For me, it is a form of art... of flavor, of aroma, and of playing with the senses. But I never had the opportunity to learn that. Working for that beloved coffee shop was the only way. 


So when the time came that I decided to be a barista too, I sent out my resume to them. I had all the hopes that I would at least be called for an interview. But no. Just a day after, I got my rejection letter. Sigh.


Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I thought that they would still treat me as their beloved customer. Maybe all their smiles and care were all fake. :(


Maybe. Just maybe. Or maybe not. 


And now, another rejection comes. It is painful. Crazy. Rejection is always painful. But it is more so for me because I don't understand the real reason behind it. 


The question is "Why", as it has always been. 



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grand Toy Con 2011

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 This year’s Philippine Toy Con was the grandest that it had in 10 years. Not only did it showcased Hollywood’s biggest upcoming movies but it also hosted the making of the movie entitled Cosplay Nation. But apart from that, the highlight of it all was the grand display of toys, from anime to action figures. This big event was held on June 18-19, 2011 at SM Megamall Megatrade Halls 1, 2, and 3.



As I am a big fan of anything otaku, I went there on the Saturday event. The opening ceremony featured a Star Wars theme with Darth Vader leading an entourage of clones, as shown in the photo below. They assembled at the back portion of the mall.  I was one of the lucky few who were able to take a photo of this remarkable view. I decided not to enter the queue at Megatrade Hall 1 as I have to put on an anime headdress. Sometimes, not being to first to fall in line has its advantages.



The grand entrance of the Toy Con 2011 was filled with people that there was not enough space to pass through.  I took this picture while following the army of clones to the ribbon cutting ceremonies:



Then, it was time to fall in line. It was so long! The Megatrade Halls were located at the 5th floor, but the queue was spiraling down the stairs all the way down to the first floor! I didn’t mind waiting. I was filled with the energy that was in the air. I could feel the excitement and determination of my fellow otakus.

When I finally had my turn of entering the venue, I was greeted by the overflowing number of toys! Most of those toys were on sale from the different booths. The toys ranged from cute anime stuff to tough action figures. There were Iron Man, Son Goku, Plants vs Zombies, and a whole lot more. Other booths sold art materials like resin for those who are into toy-making.



As I mentioned earlier, Cosplay Nation held its shooting in this event. The photo below showed the stage where it was held. Alodia Gosiengfiao greeted everyone a few minutes after the opening ceremonies and welcomed us to the event. She graced the event cosplaying Mirai Suenaga of Culture Japan (http://www.dannychoo.com).




It’s as if Alodia started the cosplay mania of the day! After the short photoshoot, other cosplayers began entering the scene. Reborn (Katekyo Hitman Reborn), as shown in the photo below, was the first that caught my attention. Wow! With a big head like that, how could I not! The costume was very well-made and it overflowed with cuteness. I was more than glad to take a snapshot of it.


Cosplay energy then flooded the event. There was Miho (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece), Kagome (Inu Yasha), and Sakura Kinomoto (CardCaptor Sakura) among others. The crowd favorite was the girl who cosplayed Lara Croft (Tomb Raider):


These were just at the start! More cosplayers came in during the course of the day. They were very creative and artistic! It was an amazing sight to behold as fictional characters are seen for real!

Cosplayers also graced some booths, just like the Harry Potter 7 place. There were men and women in wizard’s and witch’s robes with logos of the four Hogwarts houses. The Harry Potter  booth is my favorite because it featured the costumes of the film characters. The next photos were taken at the said booth.

The Harry Potter 7 booth:

Bellatrix’s costume on display:

Other Hollywood movies were also in the event. Transformers 3, Green Lantern, and Captain America had awesome booths to show. They featured unique toys and collectibles for sale. The complicated mecha features of the Transformers toys were inspiring.

Green Lantern toys are as hot as the hero!

Captain America never looked so cute!

The event also featured Alfredo Alcala’s works on exhibit:

There was also at toy exhibit which featured a wide diorama of military bases and Aliens vs Predators:


After checking out the different booths, I went to an extraordinary one. The Maxicollector booth sold photos of Alodia and Ashley for only PhP200. What was more special about it is that you could have it signed by them. These were all the prints on sale:

When 3PM came, Alodia, Ashley, and other celebrity cosplayers entered the Maxicollector kiosk. It was then that the photo frenzy started. Photographers gathered all over the booth that the boundaries were about to fall off. Hahaha! All that to get that perfect photo of Alodia and Ashley.

Ashley posing for the cameras:

Chienna cosplaying as Rei Ayanami (Evangelion):

And finally, I got the opportunity to enter the booth and have my poster signed by Alodia and Ashley. Alodia happily posed when she saw me talking out my camera for a picture (photo shown below). Thanks Alodia! <3

As seen in the photo above, the Maxicollector manager on the left side takes my poster on the table after Alodia signed it. Thanks Maxicollector!

That photo and fan sign session in the Maxicollector booth left me exhausted, so I decided to go home. But the energy in the Megatrade Halls was never ending. More and more visitors and cosplayers were coming. The excitement overflowed outside the walls of the hall. I am glad that I was able to capture it on camera:





My favorite cosplayer of the day is this female SIth warrior from Star Wars (photo shown below). I am still admiring her passion for the craft. She had her entire body painted with red and black. Furthermore, she completed the look with an aura of the dark side.  Way to go, girl!

Toy Con 2011 proved to be a special event, not only for the guests but also for the cosplayers and sponsors. It led to the influx of positive energy for all the toy, comic, and anime fans. It makes me proud to be an otaku! I look forward to the next Toy Con and I expect it to surpass this year’s grandiose event!

:)

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