Friday, July 18, 2014

I Heart CDO by Islands Souvenir

The brand that started it all, the Islands Souvenir by the Islands Group will take Cagayan de Oro with heights on July 19, 2014 in Centrio Mall, Ayala Center at 04:00pm as the Cebu-origin company will launch their second store in the city together with the introduction of the "I Heart CDO" Campaign featuring the company's Brand Ambassadors, a dynamic group of proud locals who will showcase their love for Cagayan de Oro.

Being the City of Golden Friendship, the "I Heart CDO" campaign focuses on the promotion of the city and its tourism most likely being the Whitewater Rafting Capital of the Philippines, the city who started the outdoor adventure way back 1995.

The launch event kicks off with a special Fashion Show that will put the brand’s bestselling shirts under the spotlight. The show features the city’s hottest models dressed in different Islands Souvenirs shirts and looks from casual to glam, sports to street and everything in between. More than just an ordinary souvenir shirt, the brand’s ‘I Heart’ line is also a fashion statement that gives the wearer the opportunity to show their pride and love for CDO. The shirts’ different colours and graphics can be mixed, matched, customised and personalised to suit different lifestyles and personalities. 

The Fashion Show and Launch Event will be capped off with the introduction of Islands Souvenirs ‘I Heart CDO’ Brand Ambassadors. Catch true-blue Kagay-anons strut their stuff on the catwalk and express their pride and love for Cagayan de Oro. 

“The ‘I Heart’ campaign focuses on love and pride of place. Cagayan de Oro is a great tourist destination with different kinds of attractions, adventures, places, flavors and colors that Kagayan-ons can be proud to call their very own. The campaign gives tourists and visitors more compelling reasons to visit, taste, experience and enjoy the best of CDO,” says Jay Aldeguer Founder and CEO of The Islands Group. 

The ‘I HeartCDO’ campaign features proud Kagay-anons, local CDO personalities from different walks of life including Irene Aserios, Joji Ferrer, Nicole Abas-Datayan, Chingkee Te, Gil Macaibay III, Maxine Monasterio, Desiree Lim, Jeminah Ferrer, Kyle Jennermann, Nadine Legaspi, Awi Chaves, Francis Velasquez and RB Banaag. Get to know your ‘I Heart CDO’ Brand Ambassadors better at the I Heart Cagayan De Oro Fashion Show. Don’t miss out on this exciting event! 

Through the years, the brand has become the leading brand of premium-quality souvenirs in the Philippines. With over 80 outlets nationwide strategically located in the country’s top tourist destinations, Islands Souvenirs continues to strengthen its brand identity and position by giving customers a vibrant shopping experience, best-quality products at affordable prices, innovative and creative concepts, exceptional customer service and exciting events. Visit the Islands Souvenirs Store along the East Concourse of Limketkai Center and 2F of Centrio Mall. 

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Friday, April 4, 2014

The Traveler meets the Photojournalist

Imagine, having a real-time contact with your favorite Photographer? And is considered to be one of the best Travel and Photojournalists in the country, thus, a renowned to this field?

Well, this is the beauty of having workshops and seminars as you’ll be acquainted and have a real-time access and add-in talks with your preferred Photographers which consequently whet your photography skills. Lucky enough, I reached out the CANON DHUB [An authorized Canon Center] to register myself for the Basic Photography Workshops led by a renowned Travel and Photojournalist, Ms Jojie Alcantara.
Having a photo souvenir together with my favorite Photographer, Ms Jojie Alcantara
and Ms Monique Purswani Libo-on  [Marketing Head for Mindanao of Canon Philippines, Inc.]

I decided to join the workshop sponsored by CANON DHUB [Cagayan de Oro Branch] last March 29, 2014 at 2nd Floor, South Concourse, Lim Ketkai Mall, Lim Ketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City because I yearn for meeting Ms Jojie Alcantara as she’s one of my favorite photographers in the country and hone my photography skills through hands-on experience. Not to mention, she is the favorite Photographer of my grandma.
Some of the official participants during the 2nd Basic Photography Workshops led by Ms Jojie Alcantara
[for Canon DHUB- CDO]
The photography workshop started at 1:00pm with 27 official participants including the members of the Light Seeker [A group of Photographers based in the city] where Ms Jojie introduced us to her photo portfolios and how she managed to shoot such images with precision.

“Ever wonder how professional photographers give the impression on capturing the perfect shot?” This is a general question always asked by amateurs and photo enthusiasts either asking the professional instructor directly or simply afraid to deliver the query and seem to conceal it as a notion.

By simply introducing us to her own image compilation, she let me see the world through the eyes of a well-known Professional Photographer. I reckoned, “this is a good way to develop my digital photography proficiency and artistic vision” as we have some sort of similarities.

Right image shows 2 Canon EF-S Lenses recommended by Ms Jojie Alcantara.
The small lens is the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II (A Prime lens)
The taller lens is the Canon EF 70-200mm F4L IS USM (A Telephoto Zoom lens)

Talking about parallels:
Since I was a child, I already have a bad history of asthma. You can check my “Traveling against Asthma” article HERE. Similarly, Ms Jojie had an awful account of asthma too.

“I had bronchial asthma since 7 and have been to hospitals in and out since my childhood years. It was frustrating and I was really very sickly”- Ms Jojie Alcantara

With such ghastly narration of the past, I established a positive inspiration to others through traveling. This may be the reason why I considered Ms Jojie Alcantara as one of my favorite photographers.

After the photo sharing and enlightenment, the half-day workshop continued by an individual contest using all stages of the art and science of capturing an image through digital camera such as lines and patterns, big smile, up high, down below, reflection, portrait, frames, and even the rule of thirds. After getting our own shot [single shot] given a timely allowance of 15 minutes, she then critiques the images.
Participants from CDO Light Seeker Group as they registered their images as an entry.

We were given a choice to consider what guide we are using for the picture. My entry is more into combining the up high with lines and patterns to showcase an idiosyncratic image and decided to set it on the up high category.
Image above shows my entry- Combining the Up High with Lines and Patterns while manipulating the Colors.
The image above supposedly my entry but i decided not to submit this picture because I used the Tamron AF Lens 70-300mm Di LD Tele-Macro instead of a Canon EF-S.

Each picture was carefully evaluated by Ms Jojie Alcantara together with Ms Monique Purswani Libo-on [Marketing Head for Canon Marketing Philippines, Inc. in Mindanao]. Ms Jojie then commented to every entry and shared her knowledge on how to improve the image by just cropping some part of the picture. She explained and even expounds her photography skills to us on how to make a great photograph by finding and using the right composition when framing a shot combining it with natural light as a great avenue.
Above image is my entry for the main challenge
Then we came to the main challenge- an on the spot photo contest with a theme “It’s More Fun to shop at Canon Dhub”. The challenge is about capturing a happy customer inside the Canon DHUB store. The competition was somewhat-like a bit challenging simply because we only caught one walk-in customer while buying a camera and was given at least 15 minutes. With a single subject, all our entry would somewhat be alike to each other. Then I learned that you just need to maximize your subject to create a distinct image. Some even customized their entries by using alternatives.

On-hand insights during the Basic Photography Workshop:
After event, i tried to combine Colors and Contrast with the Lines and Patterns and above image is the result. I used the Canon 600D with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II.
- For Amateurs: Not because the workshop is “basic photography” does it mean you won’t gain anything from it. Every step starts with the basic program.
- For Beginners: The workshop is not really for beginners but more likely for the Advance Beginners as the speaker portrayed an insider tips and personal viewpoints of the art and science of photo taking while using information such as “basic” guidelines. It is more on how to make a great photograph rather than how to use your Digital Single Lens Reflex [DSLR], which is fortunate enough.
- Jojie Alcantara’s images portray existence while using foreground, background, and subject all together in a much distinct manner- Often than not, breaking the rule of thirds while presenting a better alternative queue.
- Rule of Thirds can sometimes combine with Lines and Patterns and Color composition. Just make sure you know how to manipulate each guideline.
- Never assume you know everything about your photographic forte. Even a great photographer can sometimes misled with this initiative scheme. Knowledge is consistently revolving.
- Photography Workshops either for Basic, Amateur, and Advanced Professional are great avenues to learn the field. Educating yourself is a must for the niche.
- Just be happy and take photos more often to create memorable experience. Life is short. Take the journey and document it.

The half-day workshop ended successfully with a group photo.
Photo credits: Ms Jojie Alcantara

You may check the pictures during the workshop by clicking HERE.

Images below shows the winning entries of the contests. Please be advised that I took the initiative of capturing the winning photo entries as part of the article.
Ms Jojie Alcantara evaluated and explained the concept of the image as per registered by one of the participants.
This image entry is the  Winner of the Main Category Contest- "It's more fun to shop at Canon DHUB"
One of the winning entries of the first challenge while using a portrait type of pattern combining it with a "Happy" smile.
This image was captured by a Light Seeker and was one of the winning entries during the first challenge. The image shows the "Reflection" Category.
Winner of the "Up High" Category.
A winning entry for the "Color" Category.
A winning entry for "Framing" Category.
The winners together with Ms Jojie Alcantara and Ms Monique Purswani Libo-on

Sunday, March 23, 2014

MEET THE RIDERS: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha

As what Kawasaki Ninja [Forever Fearless] stated during the introduction of the new 2014 Ninja 1000, “Fearless Innovation starts with an attitude”, I decided to join the Original na Bida campaign of the 4 Big Names of the Motorcycle Industry in the Philippines- Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha last March 14, 2014 at Event Center, SM Cagayan de Oro City.
Ms Greanne Mendoza with the BIG 4 Representative [Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha]

Imagine owning a genuine motorbike designed with precision, power and efficiency with instant torque and smooth acceleration as you throttle? Isn’t that self-gratifying compared to obtaining a copycat motorcycle? Most often than not, people are intend to purchase with no-specific assessment replicating the original one. Yes, first, it will catch someone’s attention because of such cheaper price but sooner than you think, the value and worthiness might be compromised.
Above image shows the Original Yamaha [left image] with the Copycat Motorcycle [right image].

This may be the reason why these big 4 motorbike names converged to push [the Orig na Bida campaign] for high quality, safety and original design campaign henceforth, reiterate the wise choice of buying original motorcycles and spare parts for a more pleasurable riding experience.

The Original na Bida [OnB] campaign is on its 3rd edition [year] and successfully celebrated in Cagayan de Oro last March 14, 15, and 16, 2014 from its traditional Manila base. For three days, the OnB offered safety-riding seminars, recreational activities, press release, and most of all, educating motorists [riders] that [somehow] the Japanese Manufacturers makes the best motorcycle units and spare parts as these makers underwent systematic studies using the latest research and development of motorcycle technologies in order to assure protection, high performance and premium design consistently than other low-quality motorbike brands. The OnB is strongly suggesting the general public to patron buying original motorcycles and spare parts.

During the event, OnB showed an interesting video called “Bida vs Napapakabida”. The video clip gave emphasis to the promotion and value of using authentic brands compared to the brand mimicry.
A representative from TEAM SUZUKI shares his knowledge on Safety Riding 

Safety Riding Seminar conducted by TEAM SUZUKI.
On personal note:
Owning an original motorbike is one thing however, discovering the thrill of modern and revolutionary technological modification is an extra farther. Yes, I considered myself as a Motorbike enthusiast and even owned an original Honda Wave (Black Edition) also known as NF Series and Innova in Europe and Supra X in Indonesia. Together with my brother [as the co-owner], we decided to lift the original design to ensure better and innovative pattern [like adding various features and accessories] with much sophisticated appearance and to fortify the security of the better protection against theft.

On a personal note, modifying your own motorbike is one way to enhance and advancing its physical chemistry. Some might add frames and accessorized the motorbike for great look by adding designs and patterns, and even redefining the contemporary look while other would optimize the wheels and brakes for maximum efficiency. Furthermore, customization is better, just make it sure you don’t extend too much of your “modifying capabilities” because a lot of something can be risky.
Me with the Original Cast of the "Bida VS Nagpapakabida" Movie Clip by the Original na Bida Campaign.

To know more about the Original na Bida campaign, please check

For more images during the event, please click HERE.
This image shows the original Suzuki Raider [left image] and its copycat [right image]
Ms Greanne Mendoza with the "BIDA" cast.
Ms Greanne Mendoza with the cast of "BIDA VS NAGPAPAKABIDA"
The original Honda Wave
The copycat of the Original Honda Wave
Meet the participants [riders] during the event.

Friday, March 21, 2014


“You have to consider your health before traveling.” “You’re just too weak.” You are not fit to travel”.

Those words struck me before, having wondered if I can even see the world despite my condition.

Having an awful history of Asthma and almost died when I was a kid, traveling is not a simple subject for myself to think about as my existence was concealed with too much precautions and reminders. I resent the sentiment about me being too weak and sensitively fragile. I was diagnosed of a chronic asthma at a very young age.
[Right image shows me having a nebulizer treatment so I could take my breath back]
When we were kids, we traveled with my own family. Every month, we visited my old grandparents who live south of my place. I could just imagine how difficult it was for my parents to assist me every time I was attacked by asthma, the sleepless nights and pain they experienced seeing their child breathing difficult breaths.
Meet my Family traveling at Baguio City.

Me at Boslon Islet [Island], Britannia Group of Islets,
San Agustin Municipality, Surigao del Sur
But something in December 08, 2009 changed me. I met the girl in my life, my girlfriend and now my wife. I could remember that was April 2011 as part of our 1st year anniversary being a boyfriend-girlfriend couple when I visited their place, Brgy. Puyat, Carmen, Surigao del Sur- a twelve hour drive by bus from Cagayan de Oro City. I've ventured through that place and even sojourned the Boslon Islet [Island] which is one of the 25[26] Islets of Britannia Group of Islets located in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. It was that time when I was attacked with the same battle. I almost couldn't breathe as I gasped for my life. I fought as I knew I would eventually win in this ordeal. I was about to give up but I was flabbergasted in the end thinking I made it somehow. Without that inspiring experienced I had, I would have given up traveling years ago. It gave me a new meaning- a new perspective that anyone could pursue their dreams no matter how tough the roads are. It's like what Paulo Coelho's book the Alchemist stated, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

All I want is to realize my dream- To travel. I want to take my own journey through traveling and push my own limits, though for some, it could somewhat sacrifice my physical condition knowing it’s not easy for someone so delicate like me to explore the wonders and to create my own path despite all the voices telling me how impractical it would be. But I am determined not to give up this passion as life begins at the end of one's comfort zone. I can't control my past but I can control where I go next and it's on my list.

In my twenties, I have traveled my own country- The Philippines with Cebu Pacific Air, namely, Cagwait White Beach, Turtle Island, Lanuza Surfing Grounds, Cantilan, Campamento Cave [Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte], Boracay Island, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Honda Bay, El Nido [Palawan], Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Conservation Centre, Panglao Island, Baclayon Church, tried the Loboc River Cruise, Blood Compact, Bilar Man-made Forest, and Butterfly Garden [Bohol], tried a world-class rapid of Whitewater Rafting Adventure, River Trek at Indahag, Caving at Macahambus Cave, Heritage Walk [Cagayan de Oro City], Waterfalling Adventure [Iligan City], Tagaytay, Baguio City, Metro Manila, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu City, Cordova [Metro Cebu], Cathedral Falls, Sta. Cruz Waterfalls, [Lanao del Norte], Davao City, Samar and Leyte, Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte [del Sur], Butuan City and Gingoog City. I never thought life could be that exciting and fulfilling.
Me at White Beach, Boracay Island

Me trekking at Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City

Me doing one of my favorite flex moves at Star Fish Island, Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Do you think I am suffering and/or have some history of Asthma? :)
"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and trodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."- John Hope Franklin
Me with the World's Famous Chocolate Hills located in Bohol

Me at one of UNESCO's 7 Wonders of Nature, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan
Thumb's up from Me with this simple yet amazing background- The Puerto Princesa Airport. And yes, I love EL NIDO.

A Salute to this wonderful place- Tagaytay City!
During those years of traveling, I have taught myself about my medication on having an asthma attack. Despite having caution on anything, I still have few nasty attacks. This condition has not always been controllable and there are times, still isn't. But since then, the quality of my life improved immeasurably and I have now good asthma management. As what Howard Thurman quoted, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it."
Me at the Philippine Taoist Temple, Metro Cebu

Me at Lanuza, a Surfing Destination in Surigao del Sur
DAJON KAMO is a Surigaonon phrase (A native dialect from Surigao) which means Welcome.
Me carving the word "I love Ainee" at White Island, Camiguin
Me at Initao National Park, Initao, Misamis Oriental
And this is Ainee, my friend, girlfriend, and my wife at Dahilayan Adventure Park, Dahilayan, Bukidnon
Looking back, I could say that it really made a huge difference in my life. I still dream of traveling the world, see all the wonderful creations God created, helping people I'd meet along the way, experience different cultures and understand them. How amazing it is to survive the pain! Indeed, He has a reason for everything that's happening. It's all up to us if we simply just give up or continue the fight.
Me and my wife at Bell Tower, Benguet

This article is an official entry for the WEGO Philippines "Your Life-changing Travel Story- A Blogging Contest". 

Me at Tagaytay City

Me taking a selfie at the Paradise Island, Garden City of Samal Island

[Below image shows Me giving a salute at General Head Quarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Quezon City]

[Below image shows me at the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation, Manolo, Fortich, Bukidnon]

[Below images from Left to Right]
Left image: Me giving a thumb's up for Binondo Church, Metro Manila
Right image: Me inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Palawan
Below left image: Me with the Katibawasan Falls of Camiguin Island as a background
Below right image: Me snorkeling at Duka Bay, Medina, Misamis Oriental

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