Sunday, October 27, 2013


Tonight life ended. Not in the biological not sociological way, rather in the way that one would stop and think about the the moments, the time spent and the time wasted with the memory of who was. 

Yaya Flor was more than just someone in our lives. She was part of or lives. Something like this, her stroke and her passing isn't something that acceptable would happen... Her life is thought of in a way that says "she will raise my kids too"... 

She was taken away down us today. I feel wretched. Cheated on. I feel terrible and miserable. 

We will miss you. You are loved yaya flor. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The University of the Philippines Photographer's Society

The University of the Philippines Photographer's Society, also known as the UP PhotoS was an idea that was brought up and thought of way before the name for an organization was even conceived. Right now, on its way to its 10th year of existence our place in our community could not be any better.

Almost all of those who were there since the organization was built from scratch have since left the University. We have all started the rest of our lives outside the hollowed halls of UPLB and our respective colleges. Our bond is evident, our history is unforgettable and our future ever brighter.

It all started when Rommel and I met at the Carabao Park grounds when I was a freshman in College. He invited my friends and I to be interviewed that night on his radio program with CDC. After that night, Rommel and I stayed in touch mainly online and when we see each other on campus. We would run into each other on MiRC (a very crude chat service) and had, at times talked about a photography club. This was 1999. Cameraphones were unheard of and digital cameras sported 1 Megapixel resolutions (that is if you are fortunate enough to have one).

During the 1st semester of AY 2003-04, we decided to sit down and finally talk about forming an organization. Rommel and I were active in our respective "orgs" then and brought on the table our issues about them. We outlined certain things that we did not want to see in the organization.

After agreeing, we started to look at the possibility of resurrecting an old camera club or the "Samahang Manyunyut". We spend some time in the Office of Student Affairs combing through old records of recognized photography organizations. Manyunyut was the closest thing to a club. After discussing its merits, we decided that we must start from scratch.

On an agreed night, we planned that we must bring recruits that we would deem as our charter members. The first batch, truly that we will indoctrinate. Rommel, being an instructor at Pahinungod had the larger number of recruits.

The first few nights of meetings at the Pahinungod office were discussions about the name, the logo, the seal, the nickname etc. Night upon night upon night, we started to form the foundation of the organization. The preamble, the constitution and the brotherhood. This was our baptism of fire. Most stayed till 4am in the morning of the next day. Some spent weekends with us. By the end of the 2nd semester of 2003-04, we were almost an official organization with an incoming set of officers and pieces of paper that said we were ready.

The organization was formed to have Photography as a common single factor that binds us as members. Members were not required to have cameras, background nor prior experience with photography. All that was needed was that passion to learn about it, be intrigued by it, to see it power as an artistic medium and a scientific and technological outlet.

The goal of the organization is to mold its constituents to be better better members of their community. To be leaders and organizers for the improvement of anything and everything they are involved in. We did not form the organization to create photographers, rather to use photography as our common bond to have a meaningful life in UPLB, to have the skills to face the challenges of life after college and to provide a structured course to turn the shy to extroverts, the meek to leaders and the troubled into inspirations.

We are far from perfect, but much like a photograph or any image, there is beauty in imperfection. We had our growing pains and issues. Members not getting along with each other, quorum or the lack of being at an all time high, activities not pushing through etc. etc. But we soldiered on and here we are.

Now on its 10th year, the UP PhotoS is a decade deep with history, achievements, countless adventures and a family that is ever growing.

Fiat Lux,

Jab Buhay
Founder, UP Photographers Society

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Guiding, Unifying Principles

All great institutions and all great organizations have always followed strict adherence to principles that they hold true and expect that their members recognize and practice daily. 

Nations have sworn oaths to their principles, great men used these as the engine that helped them etch their name in history. 

On our 10th year as an organization, we can look back at what we've achieved. See what kind of members we have contributed to society and say that with all our heart, we've done right. 

At this point, it is also proper that we recognize the values that we, collectively had held dearly to have pride in where we come from and optimism to where we are all going. 

I've outlined some values that I think we can all agree we should use as a guide. Not just for the great many things we will do. The professional lives we will and already have. But also in the little things. Our homes, our families, our friends and the stranger next to you. 

In all things, small and great. We exercise and expect this from the people we call brothers and sisters. We exercise this to those who we don't call brothers and sisters so as to show them that in all things, small and great, we value every single person, every single effort and idea. 

Honesty and Integrity
One will not work without the other. You cannot make a thunderous clap with one hand. Nor can you have Integrity and not Honesty. Honesty and integrity takes the internal and external form. One must be honest with himself or herself to be honest with another. The integrity powers the will to do the right thing and always side with the right idea. With Honesty and Integrity, we will achieve many great things and avoid many great disappointments.

Commitment to Honor and Excellence
A great institution have entrusted with us Honor and Excellence before our metal has been truly tested. That great institution is our Alma Mater. Her dedication and commitment to Honor and Excellence is recognized by others who were not blessed enough to be under  wings and even more so by those who have toiled years with her. Honor and Excellence provides for a standard for everything we do, everything we create and do, everything we say and everything we dream for. 

Positive Attitude
Pessimism never created nor has it solved anything. In this ever complex and fast moving world of ours, attitude remains to be the glue that keeps great people together and great individual-together . A positive attitude is a must when faced with problems from a personal level, academic level, organizational level and professional level. A positive attitude also brings that smile that we, as photographers, ask for from most of our subjects - it's just right that we should posses a smile too. A positive attitude is also contagious. If there is something we must spread and share - it is this. 

Respect starts with ones self. Respect is can easily be earned but will never be given to anyone who does not have respect for themselves. By practicing the first principles before this, we can easily earn respect for ourselves. This allows us to give respect then to others. Respect is not limited to age, nor authority nor experience. Respect is warranted in effort, opinion and intention. 

We are where we come from. Our community molds us but it is us that keep the community together. Paying it forward to our community gains dividends in the long term. Investing in our community with deeds, actions, effort and resources allows for a healthy future. This is symbiotic - it's natural. It is unavoidable. Foster a sense of community from the home to the nation and the world. 

Guiding principles are designed to not just be a benefit to the individual but with everyone else that person interacts with. We ought to be examples to our fellowmen. We ought to be the people we can and others aspire to. We ought to instill these in ourselves and maybe one day the difference we make will not just be confined to us, but to many others as well. 

- Jab Buhay