Nato Beach walk

5:49 PM
November 27, 2010 - It was cold and there was scattered rain all over CamSur. We planned to have a nature trip this day after the Animahenasyon week. After taking our breakfast at the hotel, we went to SM Naga to buy some food. A block away from the mall is the bus station. We travelled east to Tigaon hoping for more sunshine. Unfortunately, after a few hours of travel we reached to our destination still with a bad weather. We stopped at a place called "Bolo" where my Wella's other relatives lived. She stayed there last semester when she was preparing to transfer at Ateneo de Naga University. Her cousin, Kuya Ruel, welcomed us to thier home and was also kind to be with us during that day.

Supposedly, we will go nature tripping at Mt. Isarog where there is a beautiful falls where we can go swimming. Sadly, because of the rain, it is dangerous to go walking in the mountains and it might take us longer to go there. Another trip in our list is the island hopping at Caramoan with its luscious white sand beaches. However, we should be there as early as possible because it will take us 3 hours to go there. With all these unfortunate events, we resorted to the next best thing, beaches. Just a few minutes of bus ride, we went to a small town to have our lunch. Afterwards, via tricycle ride we went to a place where there is a lineup of resorts in a place called Nato. Kuya Ruel led us to a resort called Pier 39. Just infront of the resort is a vast rice field with Mt. Isarog as the background. There were white birds flying over the almost sunken fields and some kids happily playing in the cluster of palm trees somewhere there.

We ready to enter the resort but we learned about their rates. They are actually requiring us to rent a small cottage for 500 pesos. We don't want to spare our time and money in that resort so we decided to sneak in an open resort and went to the beach. Upon reaching the coast, we can see a huge stretch of gray-sanded beach and a vast sea. The beach resembles a huge curve where we can see mountain ranges at the sides. The beach is at the east which made me realize that we were actually looking at the Pacific Ocean! Kuya Ruel confirmed that it was the Pacific Ocean indeed. It's our first time to see the ocean so it was worth going there. Again with our cameras, we spent our time taking photos at the beach. It was kind of surreal looking at the vast ocean with a foggy horizon and grey clouds. There were some kids swimming in a small portion of the sea. We can hear the sound of the crashing waves as we feel the cold breeze in our faces.

L-R: My first encounter with the Pacific Ocean, I was blown away!

In a distance, we can see a pier/seaport where are some people just standing at the edges. I can't understand why they were just standing there in the middle of the cold. Anyways were walking to that direction when we encountered a delta where a river and the sea meet. The flow of the river is fast so we stopped for a while and rested in a small open cottage. We had some snacks and photo sessions as usual. I told them that i want to try to cross the delta and they told me not to do it. Then, out of nowhere a man crossed the delta without any difficulty. And so we moved on and tried to cross the delta. The water was above our knees so our shorts became wet. We walked more until we reached the pier.

Clockwise: Walking the beach, A bangka with a roof, the freakin Delta

We approached the silent guys at the edge of the pier. They were actually fishing. We saw little fishes down at the sea swimming in groups. Anyways, we don't have anything to do so we just joked around and had more photos. With our wet shorts and tired feet we went back to the small town. We rode a bus and went back to the city. The view of the landscapes was not very clear due to the bad weather. It was a nice time to sleep. We woke up as we stopped to the bus station and headed back to the hotel. Well, it was not the kind of trip we were looking forward to but we still had a nice time with the Pacific ocean.

At the pier

With my Ate and Wella's cousin, Kuya Ruel

More photos here!

Animahenasyon 2010 Entries and Winners

1:07 PM
My favorite part of Animahenasyon is the screening of the animation entries that will be competing for the grand prize. The screening were held at the Arrupe Auditiorium of Ateneo de Naga University from November 23-25, between 4:30 to 8:30 PM. The screening were divided into 8 competition programs. Here's the list of the competition programs and the categories.

Competition Program - Categories
1 - A (1-5 minutes, Professional); E (Music Videos, Professional); F (Title Sequences, OBB, Infomercials, TVC's, Demo Reels 30 seconds to 1minute, Professional)
2 - B (6-20 minutes, Professional)
3 - D (full-length, Professional)
4 - H part 1 (1-5 minutes, Student); K (Music Videos, Student)
5 - H part 2 (1-5 minutes, Student); L (Title Sequences, OBB, Infomercials, TVC's, Demo Reels 30 seconds to 1minute, Student)
6 - D (full-length, Professional)
7 - I part 1 (6-20 minutes, Student)
8 - I part 2 (6-20 minutes, Student)

Aside from the competition entries, there were also 3 special screenings that were shown before the competition programs. The first is an exhibition program titled "Persistence of Vision", a panorama of selected animation from 2006-2010. The next special program are selected works from the Gobelins, L'ecole De L'image's Animation Department. You can watch some of their works in their Youtube page here. And the last is a special program that showcased the award-winning entries from the 13th Japan Media Arts Festival.

I really loved the works of the students from Gobelins which are really professionally done. Gobelins is truly a high-standard school for animation and their works are simply the best. Anyways, as we were watching the entries, i have a list in hand and i marked my favorites. Here are my faves:

When Alma Died (H)
Mystery of the 24th (I)
Mga Damgo (Dreams) (B)
Kaligayahan (A)
Smog (A)
Sulundon (Hero) (B)
Impeng Negro (B)
A Day in the Life of Inday (A)
Sabong (H)
Bizarre Love Triangle (K)
Swan Song (F)
Pasintabi Opening title sequence (F)
First (H)
Toy Bully (H)
Cogwheel (H)
Bleek (I)
Eskeyp da Peyt (I)
Nestle Smarties (L)
Leftover teaser (L)
A Tower: Techy Boy (L)
Close-Up TVC (L)

I missed competition program 6 and 7 so i can't say which are my faves on that program. But i heard that Kapitan Torpe was hilarious. Above all the entries i really salute the makers of the first seven that i listed from above. They were really exceptional in terms of aesthetics and storytelling. And finally here are the winners according to their categories:

A - Smog by Jerome Alcordo
B - Mga Damgo (Dreams) by Remton Zuasola
D - Kapitan Torpe by Antonio Jose Cadiz
H - When Alma Died by Richmond Wesley Ruiz Tan
L - Close-Up TVC by Macelo Munoz
I - The Mystery of the 24th by Julian Santiago
K - Upuan by Maureen Romero

Special Awards:

Hero TV - Mga Damgo (Dreams) by Remton Zuasola
Audience Choice - Close-Up TVC by Macelo Munoz
Lifetime Achievement Award - Roxlee (see photo above)

Grand Prize:

When Alma Died by Richmond Wesley Ruiz Tan (DLSU-CSB)

Aside from the animation competition, there was also a Poster making competition for Animahenasyon 2011. It was open to all and had an earlier deadline. I gave it a shot and I won! :D Here's my poster design titled "AnimaDreams" and a photo of me giving my speech!

Animahenasyon 2011 poster
Congratulations to all winners and all the organizers for a successful year of Animahenasyon. We are truly on the way to achieve the goals of the Philippine Animation Industry. By encourging filipinos to develop their own content, we are harvesting the best of the talents that we are really proud of. Next year will be another great year. I hope that there will be more entries, not only in quantity but also in terms of quality. Thanks to Sir Mike and Ate Jzel for keeping in touch with me. See you in Animahenasyon 2011!


Credits to Gerard Asay for the photos!

Camsur Watersports Complex Experience

12:00 AM
It is the last day of Animahenasyon and the closing ceremonies will be held at the CamSur Watersports Complex at 6PM. We decided to go early so that we can try their famous wakeboarding. Last night we were intoxicated with Starbucks coffee so the three of us woke up almost lunch time. We rushed to SM (via tricycle) to take our lunch and bought some groceries. Then, headed to the bus station which is just a block away from the mall. After a 15-minute bus ride (to Lagonoy), we stopped at the capitol and hired a tricycle from there to the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC). Along the way we saw the convention center, where the program will be held later, and a lot of cabins or containers where you can stay there. Upon reaching CWC, we saw a lake with contraptions or pulleys running wires around the lake. We stopped at the reception area, took some photos and went to the resto just behind the reception area.

It was raining hard and the wind was freezing cold so we ordered some hot choco to keep us warm. The people there were very accommodating. I really like menu which is shaped like a board. The walls were decorated with boards too and photos of famous boarders with their autographs on. The place also has a free wifi access. Good thing we had a laptop so we can update our fb's.hehe. There is also a shoppe where you can buy authentic boards, board shorts, shirts, shoes and memorabilias like CWC ballers and lanyards.

After an hour or so, the weather became okay and my sister and i decided to try some wakeboarding. The rental for a board costs 165 pesos including the helmet and life vest. Then you have to deposit 500pesos which will be returned to you upon return of the helmet and vest. You also have to use board shorts and a shirt that is comfortable to use. Because it's our first time, they told that we should try the kneeboard first. They gave us a 15-minute allowance for our briefing and orientation before we could start kneeboarding.

For my first try, i was very very anxious. I was there in the launch pad when all of the sudden these flock of students appeared in the coast nearby. My anxiety plummeted as the thing (the one that pulls the cable) was drawing near me. Then suddenly the cable snapped. My heart just dropped, i thought that was it. For a couple of seconds, we gave it another try. For the second time, the thing draw closer and i said to my self this is it. All eyes are on me and they are like freakin expecting a great show. Then, the thing grabbed the cable that i was holding into and i started to move. The instuctor said that in the start i have to keep my head down and firmly hold the handle in a fetal position. The cable just dragged me all the way to the middle and curved to the right. Then i relaxed thinking that i just have to do the fetal position during the start. The cable just grabbed by upper body and I lost my balance. I released the handle and saw myself underwater. I just felt the audience's dismay and just laughed as defense mechanism.

My sister was next and she kneeboarded smoothly like she did it a hundred times before. I was like "how did she do that!?!?". So i tried and tried until i got the technique. It was really tiring especially in the upper body. I have to exercise more and life weights so next time i can ride the board all day and maybe learn how to truly wake board. Well, for my first time it was really a learning experience for me. Now, i'm a certified boarder and the next time i go back to CamSur, i will surely do it again all day!

Animahenasyon 2010: Jess Espanola

10:52 PM
Day 2 of Animahenasyon started with a Webinar with one of the most respected filipino animator in the industry. He is the assistant director of our favorite animated series, The Simpsons and won an Emmy for its episode titled "The Simpsons - Eternal Moonshine of the Simpsons Mind". He is Mr. Jess Espa├▒ola, a full-blooded filipino raised in Pampanga and finished his studied at University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts.

Mr Jess gave an inspiring speech about his life. In his childhood years, life hasn't been easy on him. He cannot afford going to school and his only dream was education. With his perseverance, he was able to graduate while working part time making drawings and using his raw talent. In high school he served as the school artist. He is known for his creativity and sheer talent in drawing. Because of that he decided to take Fine Arts in college, graduated and worked.

His big break was given to him when he was sent to America. He didn't have any type of portfolio but still worked hard to impress his boss. Indeed, Jess was an excellent animator and proved to be one through years of hard work and constant improvement and adjustment to his new home. Now, Jess is the assistant director of the show The Simpsons which is famous for depicting an all-American family with a lot of culture, social commentaries with a great sense of humor. He said that the show is very popular not because of its intricate animation and effects but because of the way how they tell the story.

We had a forum and a very interactive chat with Mr Jess while he is live in America. One of the most important discussion was about the Philippine Animation Industry. What he observed is that Philippine Animators are no doubt very talented. In fact, many animation companies outsource animators here in country for its talent and easy communication since Filipinos are English speakers too. However, it has been years since Filipinos have been working for Filipinos but we never had our identity of our own. America is known for its Disney style and other types of animation. Japan has Anime and European countries are very excellent in animation like France. Philippines is a hub of talent but we didn't have the opportunity to develop our own style of Animation. Many suggested that the government should take part like what Japan and France did. To have the top quality of animation, we should have the bests of teachers, students, artists, animators, directors, writers, and all the technical expertise. But only few companies can do that here.

Talking about developing our own style of animation, Mr Jess expressed that in order to do that, we must not copy the western style or japanese style of storytelling or animation but rather serve an inspiration or create a hybrid with our own style that we can create out of our own culture. We must start by developing the local animation industry like producing animated series or shorts that reflect our own culture and that can really tickle the Filipino audience using our own stories and talents. When the local animation is fully matured and has its identity, the international audience will soon notice and appreciate it since they always look for something new or strange to them like what we have. It our task to discover it and make it a reality but we have to really focus and commit to it. However, we cannot do it on our own because of the lack of support of our government and local investors. TV station would rather subscribe to foreign animations and the government does not really see the potential of the industry.

That's me in blue jacket. haha

Mr. Jess admitted that the local animation is still way behind in terms of story telling and technicalities. Even the first few full-length animated films that we had is not quite "there" yet. He even had criticisms about some details but still he is trying to be positive. He is very supportive of the industry here and is very willing to spare his time whenever we need it.

We really had fun during the talk and he said that he was really enjoying having the conversation with us. Even though he stayed in US for years he was speaking Tagalog with us and he admitted that he still finds difficulty in speaking English. He is also a great sense of humor which his boss and colleagues really like about him. Though he cannot deliver an American joke, they still find his filipino jokes funny. What is great about the Simpsons is that it reflected the multi-cultural aspects of America.

One person asked about his success. He said that sometimes success is measured through money so he said that he's not quite successful yet cause he is not yet a millionaire. But being an award-winning animator is the pinnacle of his success. Because of it, many recognized the amount of contribution that the Filipino talents shared in this great tv series. Some even don't know that there are Filipino animators, too. Before, he was just a poor boy whose only dream was just to have an education. Now, he is the first Filipino Emmy winner.

Mr. Jess is such an inspiration to all of us. I am glad just to be there and be filled with all his wisdom and insights that he shared to all of us. Thanks to Animahenasyon for making this possible and it was really a one of a kind event. I hope that there will be more Filipinos who will reach this kind of success including myself. So to everyone, keep on dreaming and persevering so that someday you will find yourself in the pinnacle of success.

Here are some links that you might want to visit:

Jess Espanola - Internet Movie Database
Jess Espanola is the first Filipino to win an Emmy award

Thanks to Gerard Asay and for the photos :D

My first time in Naga

10:54 PM
Naga City, 11.23.10 - Located at the southeast tail of Luzon is the Bicol Region. Me, my sister Eldee, and my cousin Wella is currently in Naga City to attend the annual Philippine Animation Festival called ANIMAHENASYON. It's me and my sister's first time here in the region. Last monday, we went here by plane via Manila. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by Wella's cousin and travelled to the city proper by bus. We arrived at SM Naga and did some errands for a while. Then we hired a tricycle to bring us to the place where we will stay for the week. The fare here is much cheaper than in Zamboanga. Our boarding house is just near Ateneo de Naga University where the festival will happen. It is a boarding house where Wella stayed for one semester when she studied there. We left our bags and went back to SM and spent the rest of the night shopping and eating. We went back to the boarding house and rested.

The next day is the Opening Program of Animahenasyon held at the Arrupe Auditorium of ADNU. I was with my buddy-buddy Coline during the whole time. The opening ceremony was very different compared last year. Before, we just had dinner, opened the exhibit and had a short program at the cinema followed by the screening of the opening films. Now, it was formal more like the programs we had in school with keynote speakers, cultural and national dance numbers, awards and more. Every year Animahenasyon gives a lifetime achievement to a personality who had contributed or influenced a lot in the Philippine industry. This year, the award was given to Mr. Roque Federizon Lee, better known as Roxlee, pioneer of independent film animation. His style is known for his spontaneity and surreal sense of humor. Although he haven't worked as an animator for a company, his independent approach to filmmaking has influenced a lot of animators. During the whole week of Animahenasyon, his paintings will be exhibited at the Arrupe Auditorium. His book "Planet of the Noses" is also up for sale.

In the afternoon, we had a conference with the department head of one of the best animation schools in the world, Goblins, l'ecole de l'image, France. Mr. Eric Riewer talked about teaching animation in Gobelins and showed us the works of their students. Gobelins is known for its competitiveness and quality in choosing its students. A three year course in Animation includes 2 years of 2d animation and 1 year of 3d animation. Every year they have hundreds of applicants but only the top 25 will be allowed to study there. These students should be excellent in the basics of drawing. Usually, they are graduates of fine arts who has the expertise in drawing anatomies and perspectives to name a few.

Aside from its excellent students, they also had the best teachers, none other than the best professionals in the animation industry. Gobelins is known for their affiliation many animation companies in the world. Mr. Riewer showed us a lot of their student works and my favorites are the opening bumpers that they make for the animation festival called ANNECY. They were truly the best not only in drawing but also in story telling, design, technical aspects and more. How i wish to be one of the 25 students who will be privileged to study there. But i guess i have to take courses on Fine Arts and learn French first. Oh yeah, they use French in school.

After the very inspiring talk, we went to the auditorium to watch the screening of the competition entries of Animahenasyon. We saw the best works from the previous years and also the entries in the professional division. I will talk about it later and i may give some reviews about the films.

 Tired and hungry, coline and i went to the centro from ADNU through a tricycle for only 7 pesos per person. Ate and Wella was waiting for us so we could have dinner together. As we were walking in the centro grounds, we took some photos at the church and plaza where a rally was ongoing. It is the anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre which is sad and i clearly remember a year ago where we were at Manila attending last year's Animahenasyon. It was a sad feeling watching the news at the mall when we were having dinner that time. Anyways, going back to our dinner, we had a yummy dinner at the Bigg's Diner just beside the plaza/park. The restaurant is beautiful, decorated with vintage stuffs like old bicycles, vinyl records, gramophones and Elvis Presley posters. It is a place that you should really go when you're in Naga especially if you love vintage and retro-pop art.

Then we headed to Starbucks to have some frappes and update our facebook accounts. This day is really fun, inspiring, and nostalgic. The week is still long and we still have a lineup of activities ahead. As of now, i will enjoy my stay in Naga and whenever i have the opportunity, i will write more about my experiences here. Dios Mabalos!

Why don't you read my next post! Read it here!
Thanks to Gerard Asay for some of the photos!

ANTM Cycle 15 Winner is Ann

4:03 PM
Congratulations Ann! First time ever that a model got top photo 5 weeks in a row! You totally deserve the title!


9:23 AM

This is just a short post that i want to share. Last week me and my high school friends decided to make an exclusive FB group for our batch. I made this for our group profile pic. Colors are inspired by glee :D

Planet Photography Tutorial

10:31 PM
It is another trend in panoramic photography. Planet photography is also known as Polar Panoramic Photography, Mini-Planet and Stereographic Planet. It uses panoramic shots, digital manipulated, to make a photo of planet. I find it very amusing to see what we can do with photos these days. I'm really into it so i tried to make some with the use of panoramic shots i found in the internet. For educational purposes, i grabbed some photos and tried which works best for this technique. Here's one of my favorites and i decided to make a 3-step tutorial out of it.

First, you have to take a nice panoramic shot of your subject. This works best for 360° panoramas like this photo by You can see the photo here. Disclaimer! I don't own the photo so don't use it for commercial purposes. :D Download the image and open the image in Adobe Photoshop. Or, you can copy the image below (right click > copy image) make a new document (cltr+n > OK) and paste (ctrl+v).

Next, resize the image so that the width is the same as its height. Go to Image > Image Size or press Ctrl+Alt+I. Uncheck "Constraint Proportions" and change the width and height to your desired size. 600 will do for now. It will look like this.

Rotate the image 180 degrees (Image > Rotate > 180°). By now your image will look like this.

And finally, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Make sure that the "Rectangular to Polar" is selected and click OK. You will have the final output like this.

Awesome, right? You can try doing this to other photos by googling "Panorama" or "Panoramic Photos" or you can be more specific. Not all photos are perfect for planet photography, though. You have to consider some these things. Take the image below as an example.

As you can see in the center, the edges were not seamlessly stitched. So to fix this, you can do some improvisation. Below is the original photo of the panoramic shot above. I copied the image and pasted it in photoshop so it will be a separate layer from the background.

First, i used the rectangular marquee tool (M) and selected a portion of the left edge. You can also do it in the other side.

Then, i cut the selection (ctrl+x) and pasted it above the layer (ctrl+v). It will look like this.

Next, i moved the original image to the left so it will touch the edge. Then, i moved the pasted edge to the other side covering the edge of the other layer like so.

Then i used the eraser tool (soft round 100 pixels) to blend the top layer.

Afterwards, i cropped the white space.

Then, i did the three steps to make the "planet." Here's the output.

However, the shape is irregular and the clouds are not clean. I used the liquify tool to fix it the shape and brushed the clouds. And finally, i added some air balloons and a plane with lens flare for a dramatic effect. :D Here's the final output.

Here are more of my experiments of photos i found in the web.

And here are awesome works i found in the web:

Thanks for reading my post. Here are some links about Planet Photography that you might want to explore:

Stunning Planet Photography by Best Bookmarks
Tiny Planet Photography
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