Google Dennis Rito | Blog: June 2007

28 June 2007

Operation Azra: Exhibition and Online Print Auction

Photojournalists from prestigious organizations such as National Geographic, the photo agency VII, TIME, Newsweek and The New York Times donate iconic works in an Exhibition and Online Print Auction to benefit victims of acid burning in Pakistan.

World-renowned photojournalists are donating their favorite images, signed and printed, to raise money for female victims of acid burning and to raise awareness about a fate inflicted on many women in Pakistan. Marked with dishonor, their harsh disfigurement often forces them to live in the shadows of every-day life--excluded by family and society.

Here is your chance to literally change a woman's life while also owning some of the most compelling photojournalism of the modern era.

Online Auction items include never before available work by such photographers as The New York Times' Todd Heisler, whose emotional Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the return of deceased soldiers from Iraq will be available for purchase for the first time.

Auction open NOW and closes midnight EDT July 1, 2007

To know more, please visit Operation Azra

Thanks to Marvi Lacar for the heads up.

26 June 2007

Cartwheel Foundation's Raft For A Cause

I've been involved in volunteer work for a couple of groups. One of this is Cartwheel Foundation whose mission is provide education to indigenous children and communities with no access to basic services. Coleen Ramirez emailed me a while ago regarding Cartwheel Foundation's Raft for a Cause. So, in case you're thinking of a good activity, this is it!


Take a thrilling adventure and make it worth a lifetime for a child!

Cartwheel Foundation invites you to experience the renowned Cagayan De Oro River white water rapids and raft for indigenous people's education, together with The Red Rafts and Men's Health Magazine. Starting this June until October 2007, raft with The Red Rafts, Cagayan de Oro's premier outfitter, and part of the proceeds of your trip will benefit the educational programs of Cartwheel.

There are an estimated 12 million indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines and they have little or no access to quality education. Cartwheel is committed to bridging the gap and ensuring that they enjoy their right to education that is best suited to their culture. You too can lend your support and have a blast while you're at it - you might just dicover the ride of your life!

Go with your friends or even take the whole office for an outing (special teambuilding activities are included).

Reserve your trip now! Call/ Text (0922) 454-0021 or (0919) 204-3534

Note: Cebu Pacific promo of P99 fare to CDO available from June 21 to 27!

25 June 2007

Natural Lang Photo Exhibit

I was able to attend the opening of "Natural lang" last Saturday (June 26th). This is the culminating activity of an intensive five-month workshop conducted by Emily Schiffer, a Fulbright scholar and New York native. Inspired by a one-day Polaroid workshop organized by Fernando Afable in February 2006, Emily came to the Philippines to facilitate six different photography workshops in six weeks. It was the young students of one class that stood out: smart, eager, and articulate, they produced stunning images for a beginner class. The way they saw their subjects and photographed them was exactly what she and Fernando hoped for – they saw beauty in unimaginable places.

I also met some of the noted Filipino Documentary photographers including Kat Palasi, Tommy Hafalla, Raymund 'Bogsie' Panaligan, painter and photographer Ross Capili, Gari Buenavista, Emily Schiffer, Foto Baryo's Amor Rodriguez and Cres Yulo. One of the young photographer, Bea Peralta proudly pointed out her work "Bat Girl" which was shot with a large format camera. I was told that the students are mentored to assume the role of a teacher to the future students of the community which makes this project sustainable and have a long way to go.

“Natural Lang” will run from 23 June to 16 September 2007 at the Blank Space Gallery, 0431 Quirino Ave. Paranaque. The gallery is open seven days a week by appointment only (02) 851 2647.

To commuters, take an MRT and alight at EDSA/ Pasay Station. On the North bound lane of EDSA, take a jeep going to Baclaran and tell the driver to bring you at Quirino Avenue, there you may ride a jeepney going to Zapote. Blank Space is on the left, beside A Barrel of Wine.

Related post:
Foto Baryo + Blank Space invites you to "Natural Lang"

Feast of San Juan

I've been a resident of San Juan for two years now at least but it's my first time to witness how it's being celebrated. I shot some images of the festivities though am still a bit dizzy from shooting at the Fete dela Musique the previous night (too bad I don't have a pass). Just made it a point to bring a plastic bag in case I got drenched :)

Refill. Kids use water pistol and water canon made of plastic to squirt on visitors.While others use tabo (water dipper), pale, basin or a hose directly connected from their water mains to drowse passersby.

Awww!!! Some use cold water so you can just imagine how it feels!

On your mark. Waiting for the next victim.

Woossh! Motorists can't escape the wild crowd.

Stay right there. There was wild revelry along Aurora Boulevard where motorists/ passenger jeepneys plying the Cubao-Divisoria route had no escape to the heavy drenching from the mischievous crowd. The crowd even tried opening private vehicles' windows and doors.
Grrrr! This cop tried to intervene but wasn't spared from being drenched. On my way home, I met a young lady with a dipper-full of water. Knowing she would drench me I told her "Konti lang," she replied "Anong konti lang?" Good thing that my camera was now safely tucked in a plastic bag.

Amidst the revelry and laughter, I wonder if this is the way it ought to be celebrated. This is far from what I found:

All towns and suburbs named San Juan (St. John the Baptist) celebrate this festival, which involveds playfull "baptism" with ilang-ilang scented water and is meant as a coy flirtation between the sexes. It can degenerate into a free-for-all water fight with much drenching and laughter. Places to see and be drenched include San Juan in Metro Manila; Baylan in Batangas, which stages a lechon parade; Punta in Taytay, near Bacolod City, in Negros Occidental and Camiguin, North Mindanao.

Feast of Saint John the Baptist: San Juan! San Juan! Basaan!

People in Xishuangbanna, southwest China, douse one another with a basin of water to usher in spring. In Thailand, people sprinkle water on guests at a water festival in April. The Philippines has its own version of these Buddhist traditions, when it celebrates the Feast of San Juan Bautista, or St. John the Baptist.

In many parts of Europe and North America, people kindle bonfires on hilltops at the approaching summer solstice, when the days begin to grow shorter. To this ancient ritual
are added other festive activities like games and parades, street dancing, outdoor eating, carnival attractions, and fireworks. Such gaeity may well be their version of a Philippine fiesta, but for the fact that the custom coincides with the Feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24.

West meets east in the Philippines when June 24 is celebrated by dousing and sprinkling of water or by family outings to the beach or riverside. This Filipino custom is the most appropriate way of commemorating the only saint, other than Mary, whose birth is celebrated in the Christian liturgy. (Feasts of other saints fall on the day of their death.) After all, Saint John is the precursor who prepared people for the coming of Christ by baptizing them with water.

Matthew 2:11 quotes Saint John as saying: "I indeed baptize wou with water unto repentence but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he sahll baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire."

Anyone who goes to the town of San Juan, Metro Manila on the morning of June 24 cannot stay dry. neither will anyone who visits small towns near a stream, a river, or the sea before noon. The experience is supposed to remind one of one's baptism.

Small childre nuse a tabo, usually an empty can used as a water dipper, to douse strangers with water. Older perspns my fill theor ancient coconut shells with perfumed water to sprinkle on passersby. Others get their bamboo cylinders fitted with pistons to squirt water on whoever passes by. Still others use water pistols.

Unfortunately, the tradition is being threatened by killjoys or local bullies who douse car owners or jeepney riders with water from open ditches. Their actions have made others question the very idea of the festivity.

Source: Filway's Philippine Almanac Centennial Edition

Fete dela Musique 2007

Many thought there's no Fete this year. Even in Alliance's website, there was no mention of Fete until the Manila Jazz Festival at the Sofitel where it was announced. The week that followed, buzz about the event reverberated over the internet.

I arrived late at the Universal Stage where I managed to go in and shoot several bands amidst a thinning crowd. Afterwards, I moved to the Rock Stage. Apparently, I was not allowed entry (the bouncer told me that Pulp, organizer for this year's Fete, is strict and doesn't allow photographers inside).

21 June 2007

Heritage Lost

I was on my way to Makati when I passed by this old Igorot woman begging at the Cubao MRT Station. She's bathed in a beautiful afternoon light that I decided to shoot a photo of her. Her mood changed as soon as she noticed me. She even reached for her cane, with a look in her eye as if saying "Come near me and I'll hit you!"

Igorot mendicants are a usual sight in Metro Manila. Notwithstanding the negative impression they give, begging for a living is frowned upon by all tribal groups in the Cordillera. "Hindi naman talaga sila naghihirap (compared to the Tagalog beggars which you see in Manila) so I don't know why they are doing it. And no, begging is not something that they do in their own villages back home but some are also begging in Baguio. Some are angry at these beggars for creating a bad image for Igorots. Some would just shrug it off. I'm not quite sure if any Igorot would be sympathetic to the beggars. Okay siguro if they really had to beg dahil walang-wala sila pero hindi naman sila walang-wala" said IgorotBlogger.

Related post:
Igorot Beggars: The Skeletons in our Open Closet

18 June 2007

On Photography Restrictions

It's easy to understand if it were on a privately-owned commercial establishment, museums, military installations, penitentiary and the like but photography restriction in a public park? That I can't comprehend. This is exactly what happened last Saturday (June 16th) while am with a group of photography enthusiasts in a park fronting University of Makati in Guadalupe, Makati City. We were apprehended and told by the security guard that photographing within the park is prohibited and to do so, we have to secure a permit from their office (it's 5:00 PM)!

I remember the time (though on a privately owned establishment) when I tried to secure a permit from Ayala Land management to photograph Greenbelt 3 – particularly the area fronting the Greenbelt Chapel and two other separate areas in the same establishment. In my letter, I clearly stated that my shoot will be for my portfolio only and images will not be used commercially. What I got in return was a billing amounting to P10, 000.00! I called them up and explained that it's not for commercial use. A staff who received my call told me that she can’t do anything since she's just following her boss' instructions. Fine. However, I still find it odd (as many photographers can attest) that, while they are so strict with locals (especially those with pro-looking DSLRs), yet quite ironically they’re so lenient with camera-totting foreigners (even those with DSLRs). I tried Google-ing and found some images of Ayala Mall’s Greenbelt area shot by bloggers and foreigners alike. Hmmm.. I wonder if they had sent them the billing. I don't have against restrictions (if that's the rule) but please just be fair enough.

‘Nough said, anyway. Here are some photographs made last Saturday.

One of the images I managed to snap. Taken across the Park fronting University of Makati.

Mango vendors at Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

I did an experiment on this one. I set-up the camera on a tripod and used the self-timer (in lieu of a remote trigger) and while the shutter was open, I fired the flash manually set at 1/4th power.

Thanks to Ching, Jenny, Jessie and Jet of LakbayKlik!

Conflicting realities

This lad make rounds selling roses in Manila's club joints 'till the wee hours of the morning while in the foreground are guests having a drink with some of their friends.

12 June 2007

Update: Foto Baryo + Blank Space presents "Natural Lang"

Foto Baryo + Blank Space presents "Natural Lang"
Opening Reception: Saturday, 23 June 2007
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Blank Space Gallery, 0431 Quirino Ave., ParaƱaque City

“Natural Lang” celebrates the honesty of introspections and interactions at Tropical Palace. The project captures the natural ability of children to embrace love, fear, pain, and joy, unimpeded by mental and emotional boundaries that adults set. It also parallels the experiences of the students as they learned photography and immersed themselves within the community, that the audience may share their clarity of vision. “For us, the images are not about poverty; that would be superficial,” shares Emily. “They’re about these children as individuals. We hope that people will appreciate the complexity of their situation, and the elements that come into play in their lives.” The dynamics between all participants provided the project its wings. The quality of interaction allowed a natural and intimate engagement in community life. Young children constantly surrounded and played with the artists and students as they photographed. Residents proudly display black-and-white prints on the walls of their homes. They have also become comfortable enough to acknowledge their emotions in the presence of the group. The teacher-student relationship evolved to co-photographer/colleague, as the group shared experiences and perspectives with one another. The entire spectrum of vision is captured by the project, with each participant contributing his or her unique set of values and level of understanding. Students who consider Tropical Palace home provided insiders’ perspectives, while the others were encouraged to invest five months of time and effort to gain trust and acceptance from the community.

“Natural Lang” will run from 23 June to 11 August 2007 at the Blank Space Gallery, 0431 Quirino Ave. Paranaque.

Read more about the collaborative project on Ms. Cres Rodriguez-Yulo's site.

09 June 2007

Compagnie 9.81

Eric Lecomte's performance last night at the CCP's Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino was truly superb and left the audience wanting more. It was indeed "an intimate and poetic journey of aerial acrobatics." His movements are fluid which mimic a winged creature, a reptile or a feline. After his performance, an open forum followed where some funny questions and comments were raised: "Your are so agile. Do you have any relationship with Spiderman?" "How do you keep your body fit?" "What food do you eat?" :)

Eric Lecomte was the founder and interpreter of his own Compagnie 9.81 and this performance is part of the French Spring Manila 2007. Thanks to Marie of Alliance Francaise De Manille.

WHO Photo & Video Contest: Images of Health & Disability 2006-2007 - Announcement of Winners

World Health Organization has announced the winners of the recently concluded WHO Photo and Video contest 2007 "Images of Health and Disability" featuring the theme "Health and Environment." With this, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all who had supported me and voted for my entries.

My entries "Life Under the Bridge" and "Slum Dwellers" placed 3rd (black & white category) and special mention (colour category) respectively.

Thank you everyone!

To view contest results, please visit WHO website.

07 June 2007

PhilPhotography Network - Today's Photography Portal Showcasing Filipino Photographer's Excellence

OWG Creative Centre had just launched a new photography portal - PhilPhotography Network. I was also pleasantly surprised and felt deeply honored and humbled when I saw my photographs featured in the newly launched site.

The site features a forum where photo enthusiasts can discuss almost any topic regarding photography- from photo gears, photography genres to the business side of it. Registered members may also contribute articles on its photography blog and announcements section.

Register now.

Special thanks to Mr. Ross Capili.

04 June 2007

Kinabuhayan Cafe: Where Dishes Has No Name

Dolores, Quezon - Have you been to a cafe bereft of menu and where dishes has no name? Then Kibuhayan Cafe in Dolores, Quezon do just that. "Guests don't order food- they book for lunch, dinner or bed and breakfast. Unless they have specific requirements such as: chicken, beef, lamb, pork, duck, veggies, or seafood, I'll surprise them. Those that don't eat certain foods must let me know otherwise, it's what I have. That's why no need for naming my dishes. Trust me, you'll like my food. If you don't, go to a fastfood restaurant" said the well-known Production Designer turned Entrepreneur Jay Hererra (right), owner and chef of Kinabuhayan Cafe. Beside him is Desiree Ching, host and producer of Gourmet Everyday which is aired every Sunday at 10AM in ABC Channel 5.

Kinabuhayan Cafe is part of Viaje Del Sol.

Special thanks to Desiree Ching.

02 June 2007

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom vs. Aperture

I was able to attend the last of Ynzal's Free Mobile Studio Seminar Series: Modern Tools for the Digital Photographer which was held at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging in Makati City last Thursday (31 May 2007). The seminar was conducted by two renowned experts in their field, fasion photographer Dominique James (Apple's Aperture) and Jun Miranda (Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom).

Aperture and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom are the two leading all-in-one post production tool designed for professionals and serious amateur photographers. Both are not just raw file converters but these applications boasts intuitive features, non destructive editing, advanced raw processing, seamless integration of IPTC/ Metadata, keyword tagging, and a whole lot more!

While I haven't tried using either of the softwares mentioned, I personally liked Aperture's loupe tool and its feature where you can layout your photos side by side. I maybe an old school but this is especially helpful when you're grouping photos or when you're trying to figure out how your photos will look like on a page - very much like the traditional editing process.

Here are some site's you may visit to know more about these applications:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Learning Center
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips
O'Reilly Digital Media: Inside Lightroom
Luminous Landscape Review Learning Resource Center


Apple Aperture
Aperture Users Professional Network (AUPN)
O'Reilly Digital Media: Inside Aperture
Aperture Tricks- All about Apple Aperture
Apple's Review on Luminous Landscape

There's even a Flickr plug-in for Aperture plus an Automator if you want the downloading, naming, backup, importing, and tagging of your latest shots done automatically. The choice is yours.

Thanks to John Mateos Ong & Bong Almonguera of Ynzal Marketing.

Update: Silent Auction at Silver Lens Gallery

On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, the Silverlens Gallery will be hosting a Silent Auction of Philippine Photography 1970 - 2007. Bidding will begin at 3pm and will close promptly at 6pm. The auction will feature prints by more than twenty established photographers of diverse reputation and renown, including Jes Aznar, Alex Baluyut, Claro Cortes IV, Jimmy Domingo, Albert Garcia, Nap Jamir, Ronnie Lazaro, Luis Liwanag, Isa Lorenzo, Rolex dela Pena, Ben Razon, Dennis Rito, Ed Santiago, Fernando Sepe Jr., Nico Sepe, Angelo de Silva, Jose Enrique Soriano, Wig Tysmans, George Tapan, Dennis Sabangan, Ernie Sarmiento, and Stephen Wallace. Proceeds of the auction will go the medical treatment of photojournalist Mon Acasio.

Silverlens Gallery is located at 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Warehouse 2, Yupangco Building. Gallery hours are 10 to 7pm Mondays to Fridays and 1 to 6pm on Saturdays. For more information, call (02) 816-0044 / (0905) 52650873 or email

Thanks to Ben Razon.