Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chilling Saturday At Tagaytay

Welcome to Tagaytay! Ived been to Tagaytay so many times but this trip is somehow special. This is my first time to visit the Palace in the Sky. Usually we just go to the town proper where most of the usual restaurants are found. Specially when eating bulalo. I never knew there is something more with Tagaytay. This place is really beautiful. 

This is an areal view of the Tagaytay Highlands. Its really beautiful. The fresh cold breeze just gently caresses your body. I just love the cold chilly weather of Tagaytay. Makes you wanna hug somebody. :) This is a lovely view at the viewing deck of Palace in the Sky. From here, you have a great view of the Tagaytay highlands. 

See those pine trees and wooden houses? Never saw something like this before. Only in the movies. Its just a wonderful sight to see. The greens are very relaxing to the eyes. And the houses are just..classic designs. Loving this bird's eye view feeling... (brrr and its really cold..)

The Tagaytay Highlands is one of those prestigious villages in Tagaytay. Only the wealthy can probably afford to live here. If ever i win the lottery i would never hesitate to buy a property here. Its just so nice. Very peaceful, very quiet. Away from pollution and noise. Its one of those places you would want to go home to. Tagaytay.. well hopefully someday. =)

The good thing when Abby's friends decided to go somewhere, it really happens! This trip is actually planned i think a month or two at Kaye's house. Im just happy and glad with  Abby's college friends strong friendship. Over the years, they remain intact and they are like sisters already. 

Cherwin and Justin striking a pose.  

And so as Balong and Rachel. 

caught up with Erich and Kaye at the balcony

and of course the hotness herself striking a pose with the Taal Volcano

Love this part over here where a wide variety of plants are landscaped at the park. Friends, families, lovers, they are all here having a great time. 

friends and barkadas hanging out. Having a great time. catching up stories. 

theres a huge statue of Mama Mary on top. You can see the people taking pictures of the magnificent view of Tagaytay. Most of the people here are most likely on their field trips. 

Saw this group of boys taking group shots. I think they'r on their field trip. I kinda miss school actually when i saw them. It was fun back then.. specially on a field trip! 

Saw this couple hugging each other. Huggin under tagaytay mist... hehe. sweet. 

Now this one is a surprise actually. Theres this photo booth where you can get your picture taken with this really huge python. 

Too bad this place is not the well taken care of. Its just sad coz this place is really beautiful. Its just sad coz it could have been more beautiful if the place is well maintained. I hope the government should have funds to make this tourist attraction well preserved...

 Its getting dark and we are all getting hungry. Its getting really cold as well. As i embark at this really wonderful journey, i took a photo of this pine tree and the view deck. Im a sucker for silhouettes...

Instead of riding the jeep goin down the parking lot, we just decided to walk down the steep hill. The gorgeous sun just waved us goodbye and i just took a photo of it along with the grass at the foreground. You will also see Mt. Batulao on the backround which im really proud i reached its summit. :) 

 Saw these vendors selling some peanuts. Thought of buying but instead i just took a photo.. Its time to go to Green Ats and have some bulalo!

 Green Ats is famous with their bulalo. Its really good! Cant believe this place is really booming! At first their place is not that classy., and they only have monobloc chairs., but now! You can see fully painted kubos... and the theirs a facelift on the facade. 

Time for Bulalo! Forgive me with the photo coz the bulalo is right beneath the cabbage. I was so hungry my photography powers can fight the hunger anymore...  

After that amazing dinner at Green Ats, its time for some coffee. We went to starbucks and helped our chilling bodies for some good coffee. This is my first time here. 

Abby ordered some cinnamon rolls which is really good. 

and she ordered some White Chocolate Mocha for me. My favorite. Thanks! :) 

 Took a photo of abby sippin her coffee with soy milk. :)

It was an awesome day. Its been a long drive from Manila all the way to tagaytay but i enjoyed it. Abby's friends are really awesome. They are a happy bunch as I may call them. They are already planning for another trip. Their planning to go to Anawangin, Batangas. Have some time at the beach! For now i leave you with these photos from Tagaytay. One of the places that i really love and cherish. I really do hope someday, il have a house here and just drink my afternoon coffee at my very own veranda... 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Puesto del Sol

spectacular view of the ocean! love that fresh breeze that smothers your face
It was roadtrip fridays once again as Innie, our very own travel godess at Ensogo asked me to go with her and Nikos to Calatagan Batangas for a photoshoot. How could i resist! I immediately said yes. Early friday morning, thats as early as 5:00am, I went to Trinoma to park my car then  took the MRT going to Boni Station. We all meet up at Caltex  just beside the MRT station. From there, Me, Nikos and Innie will be picked up by someone. Wanna know that someone is? Hes the owner of Puesto del Sol. Sir Ralph. He's a huge guy, he hails from spain and he speaks Filipino real good! He decided to have his own resort here in the Philippines. With his vision, he developed this very beautiful place on the hills of Calatagan Batangas. and he named it Puesto del Sol. It means a place where the sun (rises / sets). The place has the best sunset view you will ever see and im sure anyone who comes here will definitely enjoy the beauty of it. The air is fresh. Theres no noise. You have that spectacular view of the sea and the mountain side. I even saw an eagle patrolling around the area. Although its not a beach front resort, it has 2 swimming pools. It has this small pool that has the best view. Perfect place to relax and  have a sip of orange juice as you see the sun fall down. Then theres another pool, this one is much bigger. Its a lap pool. Perfect for your morning swim which is one of the best exercise anyone would recommend. If you wish to go to the beach, the resort has a service that will take you there. Its  just minutes away from the resort.  

Enjoy lounging around at these beds
The place also has lounge areas where you can enjoy your favorite drinks by the sun. The surface is actually white sand and it gives you that beach feeling. Have a great tan all over while sippin your favorite drink. Thats a bottle of tekali over there. That drink is awesome. Best with evaporated milk!

Big comfy rooms that will make your stay worthwhile
This is one of the villas. It has a huge bed. huge mirrors and huge cabinets. Its fully airconditioned and the bathroom is very stylish and modern in design. 

Bunk beds with a filipino touch! 
They also have this room by the kubo which is really roomy as well. You can actually fit six people here. Very nice for the barkada. They are planning to put a pull-out bed or a sofa bed on the side so more people can sleep on that  large space beside the bunk bed. 

Enjoy card and board games by the veranda
Outside the room is a veranda where you can play cards, play binggo or play chess with your friends. It also has a sink on the side where you can actually prepare your food.. and theres also an AC plug over there  if you want to cook food with an electric stove or plug a radio or gadgets.. Perfect as well for those "inuman" or drinking sessions =)

a full working kitchen just outside the villa. 
Theres also an outdoor kitchen where Ralph personally designed. He's into kitchen designing as well and this  one is just awesome. He also has this "pugon" oven on the side where you can make pizzas if you wish. This kitchen is awesome for cooking shows because it has the bird's eye view of the beach at the background.  

cows and goats are grazing on the valley. lovin the outdorsy feel out here. 
Theres a valley upfront where you can see cows and goats grazing. This place is so peacefull. Time stops here.  The place also has its own mini organic garden. You can see different kinds of herbs and spices planted in pots. No need to go to the grocery for your parsley, basil or mint, just pick it here fresh and onto your pan!

photo of the lap pool. look at those clouds above..good thing it didnt rain
This is a photo of the lap pool. Its not that wide but tell you it is long! 2 to 3 laps swimming in this pool will definitely burn all those calories away! Very nice pool and the view... its perfect. 

I must say, Puesto del Sol is one of those places you would love to visit if you happen to drop by Calatagan. Its peaceful and serene environment will make your stay all worthwhile. They are still building more facilities like new villas, additional rooms and they are also doing landscaping construction like amazing stone works and adding fresh bermuda grass around the area. By the time this place is fully finished, this is one of the best place to relax and enjoy...  Many thanks to Innie and Nikos for assisting me and taking me down here at this really awesome place. To Jeannie and Rose for the food. To manong Ricardo for driving us. And of course to sir Ralph for letting us enjoy the experience of his humble resort. Thank you so much!

Photography by : Mac Centeno
Puerto Del Sol, Calatagan, Batangas

Keyboard Cups

Cool keyboard cups will definitely make your coffee breaks more fun!
This is probably one of the coolest set of cups that  i ever seen. These keyboard cups is the perfect gift for someone computer addicts like programmers, gamers, bloggers or your typical average geek. Id love to have one of these actually. It is a very nice addition to your kitchen. With its stylish and unique design, drinking a cup of coffee or tea will be more delightful. Its made with high grade plastic and its dishwasher safe. This product will come out at Ensogo-Livingsocial real soon. Go get yours now. Available for pick up and delivery. For more details, go to and click on the deal.
Thanks by the way to Craig, our awesome graphic artist for helping me shoot this product. Thank pre! Yo the man! hehe.

An Afternoon with Xian Lim

A good friend asked me if i wanted to cover this event at Shopwise Supermarket in Cubao and i just said ok since im not doin anything on that day. I gathered up my gear and went to Cubao for this product launching of Myra Vita White lotion and they are featuring Xian Lim for this event. Xian Lim is one of the freshest face in the showbiz industry. He stars at this soap opera called "My Binondo Girl" at ABS-CBN.

My task is really simple. Just take photos of the lucky lady who will buy the product while Xian disguises as a promodizer in the supermarket. This beautiful lady was full of surprises when she saw xian remove his mask. 

Fans were delighted to take a picture with Xian. They were all excited to see him. People are starting to get bigger when he started signing autographs and having photo-ops with xian. Good thing the big guys from the crowd control security are there to keep the event in order. 

Our friends from ABS-CBN conducting an interview with Xian. 

 a photo of the people at Shopwise wanting to get a chance to see Xian in the flesh. 

It was a long long day... but it was fun. =) Thanks to Je for making me a part of this event and also to Dondi for the support. Thanks guys! Hope to see you all once again. 

Lamborghini Superlegerra

The Superlegerra is one of the the best cars inside the Lamborghini showroom 
It was a bright sunny afternoon when my officemate told me that theres a really nice car just outside our building. Since the Lamborghini showroom is just downstairs from our office, i knew, theres a new lambo parking inside the showroom. I instantly went to the window and to my surprise, a Lamborghini Superlegerra is inching its way inside Lamborghini Manila. I took a photo from the window and im so not contented with it. The Lamborghini showroom is very strict. You must have an appointment in order to go inside. And they dont allow anyone to take photos. I said to myself, this is my chance! To photo one of my dream cars upclose! I went down along with my camera. My 50mm is mounted and i started taking some shots of the car. Then one of the guards told me please no pictures allowed. I just said ok, sorry. But i already took a couple of shots. I dunno why they prohibit people from taking photos of the car. Its a rolling piece of art that everyone should appreciate and not only for the rich people. The Ferrari showroom actually entertains people to go inside and its ok with them to take photos of the car. Im planning to go there one of these days. Anyways, i just want to share this photo of one of the most ellusive, most expensive car you'l ever buy on Philippines soil. Cars only the rich, can drive....and sometimes even photographed..

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watch Photography

Red Line Compressor. Full working chronograph. Solid steel
 bezel on black soft silicone straps

Solus Digital Watch with built in Barometer, Altimeter, Heart
 Rate Monitor and Digital Compass

I used 2 strobes for these photos. I also used a portable product softbox or a "Light Tent" to make the  light from the strobes soft and even. I placed one speedlight at the right side of the light tent. Angled  90 degrees with a stofen diffuser with a power of 1/64. Then the other speedlight is placed at the back, mounted on a tripod, angled straight up,  bouncing it onto the white ceiling. I placed my big reflector on white surface at the left-front of the light tent.  For my camera settings, My shutterspeed is at 1/60, My aperture is at f/4 and my ISO is at ISO100. I used a matrix system for my metering.   

Light Tents are very useful specially on  product photography

For so many months now, I am still finding ways on how to photograph watches with my 50mm lens. I think this is probably the farthest i'ved ever been in terms of quality. Im still looking for that sharpness, that proper lighting, that search for details within the photo... Still learning. More practice!

I really want to master taking pictures of still life objects most specially on product photography since its a big part of my job. I really have to practice more. Experiment more.. and burn more actuations. I really want that workshop from Laya Gerlock and learn some efficient strobing techniques. If i have the resources and the time., i will definitely take that workshop real soon. But for now, i just have to learn for myself. Im also planning to take a food photography workshop at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging or simply PCCI. I found out Mark Floro, one of the best food photographers in Manila is conducting the workshop and boy o boy i wanna learn from that guy. Hopefully Ensogo will sponsor me to take the workshop. =) 

The Solus Digital Watch and the Red Line Compressor
soon at Ensogo-Livingsocial

Im so proud of these photos! =)

Photography by Mac Centeno
Ensogo-Livingsocial Office
Watched by Solus and Red Line

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Food Photography Tips for Beginners

photo taken at Tea Republic, Enterprise Center, Makati

This is a post from Yahoo Answers on what are the best thing to remember when doing Food Photography. I am in that path now and Im currently looking for some tips to shoot food. I want this to be a a long time career and I do believe shooting food is a great challenge. I want to share these tips that I found at yahoo answers,I hope you would benefit from it as well like I did. 

From Tim : 

Food photography is incredibly difficult. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult types of photography out there.
There is an entire industry of food stylists that make $200 to $500 per hour just to arrange food to make it look appetizing in photos.

If you have to do it quick, cheap, and easy, here is what I recommend to start:

-Get a spray bottle filled with 50/50 glycerin and water. Spray it on things like meat to make it look like it is sweating. Also, use it on the outside of glasses to make it look cold.

-Get at least a single spot light. It doesn't have to be expensive. A light from the hardware store is fine. Place the light above, behind (shining towards the camera,) and at a 45 degree angle to the food so that the light sweeps across the surface of it. Use a second light or reflector for fill light.

-Get the camera low. Food looks the best when the camera is close to table level. Google "Food Photography" for examples.

photo taken from Tea Republic, Enterprise Center, Makati

-Take your time. Food will stay photographable for longer than you think. Pay attention to what you are doing. Shoot tethered to a computer for instant feedback.

-Use a fast lens with a shallow depth of field. You should be shooting at f/2.8 or wider. 

-Use a tilt shift lens or fake the effect in Photoshop.

-Charge appropriately. A professional food photographer would be charging in the realm of $5,000 to $10,000 for a one day shoot. You might not be a pro, but your time is still valuable and so are the photos you are creating.

photo taken at Crave Burger, BGC
From Jeannie :

I've shot a lot of food, and while I find it preferable to shooting say, weddings, that's mainly because the food can't complain. 

Tim's advice is pretty good. If you do the hardware store route, get a full color spectrum light with a big reflector dish - like for plants. You may have to jury rig a wire frame onto it so you can place diffusion material in front of it but still leave room for the heat to escape. Clothes pins are your friend. The bare light may be too harsh and create too much contrast, especially on the edges. Be sure to use bounce cards and/or reflectors. Look carefully that the cards, the camera, you, your client and anybody/anything else is not reflected in the silverware, glassware or plates. 

Be sure all glassware, silverware, plates, etc. are sparkling clean. One tiny smudge will stick out like a sore thumb. Wash everything well, then rinse it in vinegar water. Cut out aluminum foil or a silver card to just fit the back of the glasses behind the liquid to bounce light back. Otherwise the stuff will look deader than last years leaves. Then put the glycerine/water mixture on, but spray lightly. Don't touch the glycerine after you've applied it - handle the glass from the back. Small make up mirrors are also really useful - the kind with the little feet so you can stand them up-the light is brighter than a bounce card and has an entirely different quality and you just aim them where you need them. If you need to elevate cards or the mirror(s), books are great if you don't have stands. 

Do not shoot it outside. You can't control the light well, and the food will get cold (or stale) quickly. As a poor student I once did a pizza shoot outside in January. It was a real trick keeping the cheese runny enough (hand held blow torch). So stay inside. 

photo taken at Ilocos Empanada. Katipunan Ave.

Keep your set simple and keep it clean. Make sure the dish is the star of the photo. On every shoot I did for my own clients, and for everyone I assisted, there were two copies of the food. One was for focusing and lighting set up, then the "hero" was placed in the set just before we took the real shot. It depends on what you're shooting if you need two or not. Ice cream, you need two. Burritos and beans, maybe not, but bring the blow torch and keep an eye on the cheese. It will look bad first. Have the chef/cook make the plate as pretty as possible, clean the edges, make sure the plate is balanced. The important thing is get it as perfect looking as possible, and if you're going to break it, do it attractively, and biscuits, rolls look better if you break out 1/3 rather than 1/2. You may need more than one just to get that right. Get close to the food and down low then shoot wide open. Look at high end food and wine magazines, the print edition not the online. I looked at gourmet's site the other day and they are obviously accepting photos from the general public, which should be a crime. 

Steam: the way we did steam was to fill a tampon with water, microwave it and hide it behind the food, which of course is not edible. Works great, but there is an ewwww factor, and believe me NOBODY will try to sample anything if you do this.

To tilt the plate, which is great if you don't have a tilt shift lens, buy some small wooden wedges when you're at the hardware store getting the light. Have them cut them for you from a 1 x 1 if possible. Tape these to the back of plate and viola! you have no tilt problems. You can put small ones under glasses, but disguise the base of the glass with a napkin or the edge of the plate. White matchbooks work too.

Keep the background simple, plain and stay away from blue. It doesn't do anything to help food look better. The hue is just wrong for food in most cases. A white tablecloth will act as a mini fill card and help fill the black holes under the plates. 

Blow the set off with canned air just before you shoot, and make sure if you are going to strategically
place crumbs you do so after, and don't do too many. 

Delicious Gyoza taken  from Atzu Atzu in Araneta Avenue.
If at first you don't succeed, shoot it again. Food is really, really hard. You need a million little things besides the camera. But, it is doable. Charge them for every minute you work, and charge them well. I charged $1000 bucks for that pizza shoot and the guy was glad to pay it. Knew he was getting off cheap (1996, '97.) If they went to a pro with a studio and lots of experience, a single shot is 5 to 10 K. Seriously. Food is the hardest subject in photo and you get paid accordingly. (At least there is no mother of bride along!)

from Yahoo Answers Link

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Hot-Air Balloon Festival

What a beautiful saturday morning as me and Abby went to the 17th Hot-Air Ballon Festival over at Clark Airfield Pampanga. We are so excited for this event that we took off Manila as early as 2am. Cruising without traffic, we arrived at Clark at around 3:30am! We had some coffee first at Petron to waken up our senses. 

The moon is really beautiful that morning and i cant help myself taking a photo of it. Using my 70-300mm lens, i captured this really nice photo of the moon. Its still dark when we arrived at our post, just in front of the steel fence. Since there are no balloons at sight yet, i got bored and took this photo...

An awesome view of Mt.Arayat. Its really breathtaking! The clouds are very nice as well. I used my tripod and my shutter release cable on this one.  I used Bulb mode on my shutterspeed at ISO 400.  Its actually dark when i took this photo Thanks to my trusty old tripod i made this photo possible without any blurs.

At last! One of the balloons arrived and they are fast setting up their gear. I am really amazed when they do that. That blazing fire. Like a really strong blow torch.. I was actually wondering if you can put on some marshmallows beside it.. hehe. That would be fun!

And then the National Anthem played. We saw this sky divers descending and one of them has the Philippine Flag tied on his foot! Slowly waving the big flag for everyone to see as the National Anthem plays. Such a thing of beauty.

More flames! More fire! Lets light this baby up! Look how intense that is! Amazing! Gimme some marshmallows and throw in the BBQ! hehe. 

People are actually in awe with the power of the torch! This guy over here is witnessing it all upfront. He is definitely in heat right now.  I hope next year we already have photographer's passes so we can go inisde the fence and take closer photos of the people., the balloons and the drama.. and probably ride one of the balloons! 

The sunkist balloon is already up and thank goodness it showed us her pretty face! We had a sunkist deal at the office and theres big big picture of that balloon at the office. I witnessed it live in flesh  here at the Balloon Festtival.

Asked Abby to take a pose at the balloons. Slowly, one balloon at another is raising up. The sunkist balloon at the back is slowly coming to life! Abby is like a little kid with so much excitement in her eyes. This is her first time to witness the hot air balloon festival and she really liked the experience. Probably next year we will ride one of those balloons! =)

 My good friend Pads came at the event as well. He used his new Lumix GF1 camera. I was kinda surprised he didnt used his D300s! Well the GF1 is an amazing camera as well so i think he got good pictures with it as well. The good thing about it, his camera is really really light and not bulky :) 

This balloon just gave me the smiles. Its really cute. Its like the flower power from Super Mario. This is my favorite balloon design at this balloon festival.
  Last year, my favorite ballon was the Darth Vader head. Sad thing, i wasnt able to go to the festival. havent seen it live. Thats an awesome balloon. Hopefully next year that balloon flies again at clark airfield pampanga!

Now this balloon is really cute. It made me hungry as well. Never seen the biggest ice cream cone ever? Now here it is! hehe. 

Paragliders flocked the airspace as they graze the skies in groups. This is actually dangerous coz they are so close together and theres a possibility they could tangled up together. Its great watching them flying all together. 

Another view of the balloons. I so love this picture. I actually submitted this one at the Caltex on the spot photo contest. Its like im close by as the balloons are slowly ascending one by one but actually im quite afar. I just used my telephoto and zoomed onto the balloons.

Pads had the courage to as ask this girl to look onto the balloons and take photos of the reflection onto her glasses! I also took a shot of it. The lady obliged and just smiled at us. =)

This cake balloon is really awesome. Very creative! 

the balloons are not the only attraction from the festival. There were also drift cars parked and displayed. I love this skyline! Thise deep dish rims are insane! I love it.
I saw this photo of the Hot-Air Balloon Festival from Cheyz Pedragosa's blog and i was shocked by the sea of people who witnessed the balloon festival! This is a really great photo and if she actually submitted this at the Caltex Photo Contest, she might probably win! 

It was a really great saturday morning. Me and abs had a great time. Till next year's balloon festival.. hope to catch and witness the balloons again. Hopefully we can ride one of them as well. =) Thank God also for the great weather!

Photos by: Mac Centeno
Thanks to : Ms. Cheys Pedragosa of 
and to  for the extra photos. 

photos taken at Clark Airforce Base , Clark Airfield Pampanga.