The year 2010 just ended after I took a snap of that photo above. I closed my eyes and thank God for the wonderful healthy year that was again added under my belt. I have to say 2010 is one of the most fruitful year I've had for the last 23 years of my existence. It started with me having a good-paying job (well that's because I'm in the province :)) No starbucks to drained you here, 7 pesos lang ang 3-in-1 ngarud! :D ) that allowed me to offset my liabilities versus my assets... finally.... Two, the experience I gained with my current job, processing general documents, attending court hearing, countless hours of interacting with government employees and whilst most of the time irritating, I consider it priceless. Those were real-life lessons that I have not learnt in college but will surely serve me well in the future.And though my job is starting to get really frustrating at times, I have things still to be thankful for such as the friendship I share with my colleagues/ supervisor. Which I think is what still keeps me going. 'Dahil sa kanila, nasa work pa rin ako, at sumisweldo pa rin' =)) better be frustrated lang than be broke and frustrated :))

Way back 2008 after I graduated from college, I felt lost. All I know was that I have to find a decent job, earn some dough, save up, get married, settle down and make a lot of duplicates of myself, that was the 'PLAN'. If somehow it was just that easy, but it seems that I easily get bored with stuff I'm doing. Don't mean to sound boastful but I know I have the ability to perform flexibly, I'm a fast learner and can really wow people with a variety of skills, a jack of all trades if you may (well, that's judging by previous comments made by my previous supervisors). But I think that's a problem for me. A jack of all trades, master of none is more of a con than a pro. I perform at a high level early, thus raising expectations, then I lose motivation, then SPLAT!... disappointments... :(  if somehow I can just find the passion in what I do, but it seems that it was very hard to find passion if your motivation for work is to just earn money and save up.

What Change?

Sometime in the year 2009, I bought my first (well, only) DSLR. I have always been fascinated with photography ever since my high school days, as I love seeing great photos, but back then I was under the perception that it was reserved only for those who can really afford it. To make a long story short, I started to tinker with my camera, took lots and lots of photos and started to get good feed back by just using the auto-settings of my camera (I was using it like a point-and-shoot). I was starting to fall in love with photography, and I was determined to learn more. During this time, my income was well... hmm.. tamang tama lang pangkain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw :D so when I saw that a 2-day workshop would set me back two months of dinner and about a week of lunch, the fire inside me burned out, and again lost motivation :(

Taken with auto-settings of my D40 (No Flash Mode) One of the first very few photos I'm proud off

Fast tract to 2010,(tamad na magkwento :)) ) this was the year I finally made a huge jump in terms of my photography skills ( from level 0 to level 0.5 ). I've decided to just learn everything from scratch. Fortunately, I've met people who in someway, gave me a crash course in photography without them even really noticing it. I'll take time to thank them first. SIR Estan Cabigas, I never knew he was a Photography instructor until he gave me five tips to master the art (1. know the basics, 2. learn composition, and 3. PRACTICE! 4. PRACTICE! 5. PRACTICE!); Anton Carranza, he helped me out in better understanding ISO and exposure +/-; Ada Lajara, aperture and depth of field (the two things that I was really having a hard time comprehending) and finally, the HOT team of Sir Abel Baldemor, Ms. Fay Nicolas, and Olga Villanueva, for teaching me a lot of their techniques (perspectives, styles, composition :) ) and letting me joined in in one of their shoots (great experience :D ) With all of these people behind me, I again found my fire, that now has just kept on burning and burning. I've decided that this is the path I want to follow and channel all my efforts and (possibly resources :D ) to improve my skills. With all of that said, I can now proudly say, 'Marunong na ako gumamit ng manual mode!  Ayun! :))  hahaha...

Finally learned about lighting... next is to learn better casting of models :D

One of the highlights of 2010 for me was probably the West Pangasinan Blogger's tour. This is where I met the likes of Estan, Anton and Ada (thanks due to Micaela Rodriguez for this, whose as of this writing, is going gaga over Croatia :D ) and other bloggers that played a key part in tapping into a deep sleeping passion of mine, travelling. This trip opened up a lot of things for me, learning how to socialize with new people (I'm naturally shy, though hindi halata :)) ) and now look at me, I've got travel plans for 2011 other than the usual home-office-mall-beach routine! :) you can read my experience about this tour here, kung gusto mo lang :D

New blogging buddies at Bolinao
And finally to sum it all up, 2010 was so great for me because it was all about Friendship! Rediscovering old ones, strengthening the current ones, and adding in a lot of new ones. I would like to thank all of the people who in one way or the other, touched my life in this wonderful year one-by-one. For my friends way back in high school, Leo Calulut, Jim Mark Tiu, Wise Lee, Steve Lui, Ferdie Tinquico, Princess Dee, Jan Cua, Shaira Go, and Hazel Dee; to my college buddies whose always there kung kailangan ko mag palibre, Dr. CJ Vidal, Myk Sison, Lee Soriano, Jim Hernando, Bhel Malicdem, Dodie Fernandez, Vijay Lalangan, Angel Ferrer, Bevz Macalanda and Randz Ubando; to my previous colleagues na laging handang samahan ka sa inuman, Fred Fajardo and Marichu Callejo; to my current colleagues that make work life a lot less tolerable, Maam CJ Carreon, Sir Jon Mark Marbella, Butz Rodas, Alvin Tamondong, Xestra Pantalleon, Ferdie 'Gumy Bear' Bergonia, and Sir Jhe Enriquez. And last but not least my new found friends, Micaela Rodriguez, Ada Lajara, Cai Abbass, Gael uhmmm..  'the Pinay Solo Backpacker'! Peace te Gael, hindi ko mahanap apelyido nyo :D Marky Go, Estan Cabigas, Darwin Cayetano, Robbie Bautista, Anton Carranza, Fay Nicolas, Olga Villanueva, and Abel Baldemor! wooott!.. that's about everyone :) application for next year's list is now open! :)) Here's hoping to learning more, travelling more, meeting more, and earning more, cheers for an even better 2011! woooooootttt!!! :D

College Friends from left: Jim, Vijay, Myk, Angel, Sir Randz, Sir CJ, Dudz, Lee's Friend, Lee, and Bhel  

Fred and Chu: perfect example of why opposite sides attract :P

Check the hair: Gummy, me and boss Mark (photo credit to xes)

From left: Angel, Xes, Alvin, me, Sir Jhe, and Maam CJ (photo credit to xes)
My first wedding shoot experience with the 'HOT' Team
First photoshoot complete with a MUA and costumes :D Models: Shaira and Hazel :)