Glittering Gold

BTS backside

Last Sunday was filled with lots of glittering gold, silver, champagne, and pearl white fabrics. An old mansion where classic films were shot but has been out of commission for a few decades now, came back to life yesterday. Its quiet hallways with shiny wood flooring suddenly clicked and clacked with high heels and stilettos and the ghostly bedrooms filled with giggles and guffaws as ladies milled about putting on dresses, getting their hair and makeup perfect, and photographers investigated every spot which might have the best lighting or dramatic touch they need for their shots.

There’s something about finding beauty in my surrounding, whether it’s from nature or from something man-made, or people themselves, that brings a sense of joy and fulfilment in me. I wonder if it we ever stop to think about how we are really designed to behold beauty and enjoy it, as though taking it in completes us and keeps us healthy.

The beauty industry probably has more grime than glamour behind the scenes. It takes gumption and true grit to survive in an industry where one’s marketability and shelf life depends heavily on just how young and flawless you look-even though we all know hardly any published photo goes un-Photoshopped these days. I remember being an awkward 15-year old, sitting in the waiting room of my very first casting for a TV commercial. I was insecure about my body, my face, “was I pretty enough?” I would look at the other older women vying for the same role and I remember just being envious of their calm confidence. They looked nonplussed and there was no ounce of nerves that came through those beautiful faces. Zoom ahead 19 years later and I realise I’m now one of those older women in terms of confidence and calm.

There is truth to the wisdom of age. You get older and your perspectives change (hopefully for the better), as does your taste. You gain a better sense of self and your identity is more solid and stable than where you were 25. You realise you don’t compete (or even feel the need to compete) with others. You simply try it out, see if it goes you way, and if it doesn’t, walk away and try another door. I wish I had been easier on myself when I was younger, wish I had worried less. I wish I had enjoyed the journey more than I worried about the destination. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Yet I am filled with gratitude for the weekend that took place. I met new people, heard new stories, met different kinds of women who came together for the same project and there was no trace of ego or rivalry anywhere. It was a beautiful orchestra altogether and everyone was a beautiful piece that made a stunning photograph.

I can’t wait to share more pictures with you from the weekend. In the meantime, find your own glittering gold wherever you are–be it in a book that opens your heart to something new, or a sunset in a place you’ve been to many times before but never stayed long enough to enjoy, or perhaps it could be a conversation with a friend where time holds no authority over you. Find beauty where you are and behold it. You’ll be better and richer for it.


Up, Up, and Around!

IMG_0579The little kid in me really enjoyed the thrilling ride on the Seattle Great Wheel. You can find it at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington. It takes you 175 feet up in the air for $13 (+ tax) and $8.50 (+ tax) for kids 4-11 years old. The rides take anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes long. They have a photo package where your backdrop is the Great Seattle Wheel, but you’ll probably enjoy taking your own photos better. The view from the top is breathtaking and calming all at once.

This is just one of the countless things you can do in this ultra hip, coastal sea port city. I love Seattle. I wish I could move there!

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I look at travel as the best therapy for when the life in my home city gets a little too overwhelming. The opportunities for me to travel are few and far between due to the busyness of the daily grind. But when the chance does come up, I grab it with gusto!


Manila Jeeps


Metro Manila streets are filled with different types of public utility vehicles, one type of which, is this Jeepney. It’s a modified version of the army Jeeps that the US G.I.s left behind when they finally departed Philippine shores. Jeepneys usually bear unique phrases on their mud guards–much like this one. Perhaps he was raised by a single mother and this was his way of paying homage to the sacrifices she made to make sure he survived and thrived. That’s sweet.

Taking public transport in Metro Manila can be a harrowing and gruelling experience, given the massive volume of vehicles on the road and the elusive road courtesy among motorists of the city. It’s a real challenge to find your center in the midst of the hustle and  bustle, and takes tremendous grace to put up with this every day. But if you are able to find amusement along the way and during the long ride home, things like funny signs or interesting names of establishments or awkward billboard adverts, it can somehow alleviate the stress and trauma. You live to schlepp again another day.