Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tayo Nalang Dalawa Album Review

For me a traditionally good album is one that has songs that can make you feel different emotions - from happy and dancing to one song to a bit sentimental and reflective to the next. Another criteria of a good album (for me at least) is when the artists bring in other techniques, uses other instruments and features other artists and all of this is in Mayonnaise's Tayo Nalang Dalawa album.

With 10 diverse tracks, Tayo Nalang Dalawa (or TNLD) is my favorite album of 2014. I know that this review is super late already, especially considering that we go to Mayonnaise gigs (Yellow Room Nights and Mismo Prosuction events whenever we can) I say whenever we can because of our unconventional and ugly schedules (night shift and working on weekends). 

Even before the album was released we already got to hear a few of the songs from the album. When we first heard "Parang" and "Tayo Nalang Dalawa" being performed in live gigs we were immediately hung up on the songs, they were up-beat and catchy and the memorable and playful lyrics will make sure of your LSS. 

Speaking of lyrics- let's talk about that for a while. I have heard some songwriters say that it's hard to write in Tagalog since it comes out as "too cheesy" or too dramatic. This is not the case though for Mayonnaise front man Monty Macalino who also pens the lyrics in their songs, his use of the vernacular in the lyrics have made the songs current, relatable and memorable to the listeners. Even without the use of fancy words, their well known colloquial charm has endeared them to fans ever since their break through in the OPM Scene after winning the Red Horse Muziklaban in 2004 (more than 10 years ago!). 

Allow me to take a different course in this album review as I will also be writing about the music videos that came with each single as well as some elements in the songs which I think are worth noting. 


Shot in Los Angeles, California it features the beautiful Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I admire the effort that was put into giving the music video a new flare by shooting it in a different country. 

The music video is beautiful as well as the song which resounds with a powerful and poignant message of making an effort and going the extra mile. 

The chorus goes: 

Sana malaman ng a raw at ng buwan
Gagawin ko lagi ng Paraan
Gagawan ko lagi ng Paraan 

Veering away from the usual band format, "Paraan" uses various string instruments like violin and cello to give that orchestra feel which in turn gives that extra tug at the heart strings. You can also hear the violin and cello in "Porta" and "Susan". 


Another video shot in Los Angeles this one features cute lip synching from America's Next Top Model alum Hannah Jones. A song that can get you jumping and dancing to it's up-beat catchy melody and positive vibes. 


The song features Danita Paner and Madeline Ramboyong of Paraluman, the video is from our friends from The His And Her Project. This is what I was saying when I wrote about a good album (ideally not the first album) to feature other artists as well, this is to give that extra spice and also offer diversity to the listeners and "Ayaw Mo Na Sakin" is a great dancy song that will get you shaking your shoulders and dancing to your own groove.


Another video from our friends from The His And Her Project "Dear Classmate" is a nice chill song with a message I myself want to share to our dear students out there, especially the mag-aral ka muna part. :P 

The video features a cute story of unrequited love that has a twist in the end :P The Music Video also features a lot of familiar faces such as Em Tolentino of Circa, Joyce Pring of Group Hug as well as the lovely people at The Yellow Room Music School Yup! A great music school for all your music needs :) Click on the link to find out more ^_^ 


I didn't even realize that I loved this song until I saw the video which I loved equally as well. A fun song that just makes you want to shout: Masaya Ako Kapag Wala Ka !!! 

The song is really infectious and will have you banging a beat in your imaginary drum and singing from the top of your lungs. The video itself is super hilarious with cheesy boy band dance moves, lots of pushing and shoving and the cutest cat fight I have ever seen. In a nutshell it shows what happens when you're the only girl in the band and another chick comes along.

Definitely an album to have, Tayo Nalang Dalawa is not just for Mayonnaise fans but for fans of OPM and those who can appreciate good music. The tracks are diverse enough that it doesn't feel that you are listening to the same songs all throughout. My favorite album of 2014 you are definitely loosing out if you don't have it in your collection.

Speaking of 2014 - Mayonnaise also came out with an EP Mayonnaise 2014 during the last quarter of the year. EP Review on that on the blog soon! :)  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vanity Riots Acoustic Set At Zili's

Vanity Riots 

We were invited to cover another acoustic night at cozy Zili's and this was no ordinary acoustic night since Australian Glam Rock band Vanity Riots was also set to perform an acoustic set along with some of my favorite local female led bands, namely Save Me Hollywood and Talata.

We've been covering a lot of Save Me Hollywood's gigs around 2013, we were at the launch of their debut album Your Story To Tell, album review here, unfortunately we missed a lot of their gigs in 2014 but with our renewed endeavor to cover more gigs and music this year, we'll make sure to be around more often especially since Save Me Hllywood is coming out with their sophomore album in a few months (Yehey!) and I got to hear a few of their new songs last night and they sound goooood.

The band also has been nominated for Favorite Rock a Video for Happier This Way for the upcoming Myx Awards 2015 (More Yehey!) 


As for Talata we started the year right when we covered their self titled EP launch -> review here by the way. You can still vote for their current single "Fed Up" on Myx. 

It was a good thing that the invite came in in advance, so Paul and I were able to file leaves since it was a Thursday night. :) 

After getting the invite, I did a little research and I really liked what I found out :) 

Vanity Riots is a 5 piece rock band from Australia, described as "a young, determined DIY band with a heavy yet catchy original sound" which I got to see and hear myself albeit in an acoustic set. They were recently on a tour in the Philippines, as my research (AKA Facebook) unearthed some of their stops which included Laguna, Olongapo, Metro Manila and even Boracay. Big thanks to their official sponsors Macbeth Footwear and Pulp Philippines. That 3/4 Macbeth top on vocalist Monica really looked cute too :)

Save Me Hollywood 

As vocalist Monica Strut said it was their first time to do an acoustic set and that it was fun, and I have to say that I was impressed with her vocal range as an acoustic set can bring out the raw prowess of a singer and we heard that in their set as they performed their original songs as well as some oldies but goodies such as Skidrow's I Remember You and Guns And Roses' Sweet Child Of Mine and as anyone can bear witness too- you definitely need a some guts and a pretty wide vocal range to pull that off. 

These choice in songs to cover shows the 80's glam-rock influence that the band has which they juggle with their young and current energy. Even if we weren't able to catch them as a full band I know that this band has a lot of potential and I'm really happy that they made their ways to our shores in this Philippine tour - hoping to get to see them as a full band and to see and hear them unleash their true potential - mosh pit and everything. Maybe the next time you guys come and visit us-yes? 

I got a copy of their EP Ambulance, I don't really do foreign EP reviews but I'll make an exception for these guys :) 

I admire bands who work hard and I can tell that Vanity Riots is one of those bands and I know that their music will make it's way to a global stage - really soon.

Vanity Riots with Reyg Linao of Talata 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Merry My Great Food In 15 Seconds: Coffee Cream Brownies

So Paul and I worked on a different kind of project this long weekend (it was a long weekend for us since it was President's Day in the US) and we'd love to share it with you guys! :) 

People know us as the too lazy to cook couple I'm famous for only knowing how to cook anything fried. So we're really excited to share this simple project that we did - and you can too! :) 

It's a simple recipe for Coffee Cream Brownies and what I love about it is that you don't really have to go out of your way to make your brownies a little special - all you need is some coffee, all purpose cream and chocolate chips (buttons in this case) and viola! You have Coffee Cream Brownies! 

It's so easy and simple just check out the 15 second video! 


Magnolia Fudge Brownies 
Magnolia All Purpose Cream 
San Miguel Original Coffee 
Chocolate Chips 

 Bake Magnolia Fudge Brownies (just follow the instructions behind the box). 
Mix the San Miguel Coffee and Magnolia All Purpose Cream (use about half of the cream, you can use two satches of San Miguel Coffee). 
Melt butter in a pan and melt the chocolate chips in the pan. 
When the brownies have cooled, place the coffee cream and the chocolate. 
You can place in the fridge so that it will set. 
Slice and enjoy!

A video posted by Ica Hontiveros-Cheng (@ica_cheng) on

Music, Coffee, Beer and Feels @ Satchmi Valentines Event

Despite being in a scheduled team building in near by Linden Suites, Paul and I were able to sneak away to check out the #Feels @ Satchmi Valentines event and even if we just had about two hours of sleep there was an abundance of coffee and awesome local music to wake us up.
Can I just say that I love their Iced mocha :)

When we arrived at the cafe vinyl store Satchmi it was already jam packed with young music lovers spending hearts day enjoying live performances from up and coming local acts. The great thing about music is that even if it's Valentines Day it doesn't matter whether you come with a date, with friends or even by your lonesome self -you still get to enjoy!

There was definitely a lot of Feels going on in the Satchmi store amplified by the young talented musicians lined up to play that night. Since we came in late though we missed a lot of great acts :((

Hopefully we'll have a better schedule for the next Satchmi event- speaking of which make sure to mark your calendars for April 11 for Vinyl day - wait what Vinyl day?! 
The Sun Manager 

Yup you read that right folks Vinyl day is coming up and if the Feels event was any indication of how amazing and awesome the event is going to be well let's just say that I got a gut feeling it will be an event every music lover should not miss. 

Speaking of vinyls there were also some vinyls at P500 only! They were ingeniously arranged as blind dates since they were wrapped in gorgeous brown paper but had descriptions of the artist and genre as clues :P Unfortunately we weren't able to check out the vinyls since as I said the venue was jam-packed! It would be hard to get up to the blind date vinyl section without giving up our spot. 

Did I mention that there was free beer too? It just ran out by the time we got there :p 

Despite of missing on things there was a lot of amazing things that we did catch such as awesome performances from The Sun Manager, Fools and Foes of course Reese Lansangan (who has been on the blog a lot -> did an EP review on Reese and Vica's EP "Those Who Wander" here) I just have to say she is such a cute and amazing performer she literally shushed the crowd with her rendition of Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek with her harmonizer. Her original song Creeper has been recently uploaded on YouTube I had the privilege to hear the song live a couple of times already. Click here to hear her super cute stalker (not autobiographical) song.

Team Ross Photoshoot

It's always a challenge to shoot large groups which was the case for Team Ross but the good thing about them is that they are also a fun group who didn't mind squeezing in tight for the photos.

Click Here for More Photos! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Team Jenny Photoshoot

We got to cover another Best Team Photoshoot and this time it was for Team Jenny! They're a small team which allowed us to experiment with different poses. ^_^

Click Here for More photos! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Talata EP Review

After doing an EP Review for Indie Pop's Reese and Vica for their Those Who Wander EP I'm shifting gears on my next review with Alternative Rock's Talata's self titled EP. You can read all about the EP Launch here.

Composed of musicians who have been in the OPM scene for a long time already; Talata is fronted by Reyg Linao, wife to Kamikazee guitarist Jomal Linao who is also in the band. Which is why tere are many running jokes about the band's often angry songs as being a reflection of the married couple's relationship.

James Joy Linao on Lead Guitar, Anton Lanario on Bass and Dacky Clamor on Drums complete the five piece band based in Manila.

Known for their heavy guitars, raging drum beats and really angry lyrics-and we're. It talking about cute Taylor Swift break up songs but 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' type of lyrics.

In Fed Up the band says: 

Napagod, Nag-sawa, Nanlamig
Nag bigay ng lahat 
Ubos na ang pag-Ibig sayo

I loved how one of the songs is entitled: "Bugtong" I mean, how many kids out there still know what a Bugtong is ? In the song Reyg belts out: 

Ako ang Kasama 
Iba'ng nasa Isip 
Ako ang ka-yakap 
Ibang panag-inip 

Akin ka, Ika'y sa kanya

And it's not all about bad relationships, ex-lovers or douchebag guys not knowing what monogamy means. There's also a bit of a cat fight in the EP with the song "Margarita" which is about girls who can't handle a couple of - well - Margaritas.

You can check out the official video for Fed Up - and don't forget to vote for it on Myx :)

My favorite track from the album is "Bride" which I first heard during the EP launch and even then in the crowded , noisy bar (it was a full house) I knew that I loved the song and as I said before I really admire bands who can write both in Tagalog and English and you get that in the self titled EP which has 5 tracks and for P250.00 that's not bad at all. Especially since it comes in an amazing package, it even has the traditional fold-up lyric sheet. I believe you can get a copy at Zili Nasi Goreng :) 

The band is also currently on their EP tour so make sure to like their Facebook page for updates. 

I really enjoyed the EP, if you are a fan of rock and alternative you should really pick up a copy. The EP is filled with Rock songs that will make you want to jump and bang your head and you don't need to be going through a bad relationship to appreciate the songs, you just do because they are well written Alternative Rock songs which deserve to be blasted on your stereos. 

Masha: Stalemate Guard For Defiant Hearts: Giveaway Winner!

In case you missed it we had a blog giveaway for Masha's Stalemate Hearts For Defiant Hearts Album. You can read the album review here by the way :P 

So Congratulations to our winner Lynne Agapin! You just won yourself a copy of Masha's album! :) 

Thanks for joining! We'll be in touch on how you can claim your prize! ^_^ 

Hoping to get to host more giveaways this year! 
- don't forget to keep on Supporting OPM! :D 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Reese and Vica: Those Who Wander EP Review

Reese Lansangan has actually been in the blog a lot last 2014 - whether we were blogging or covering her art or her music; her colorful talents and personality has always been a presence in the blog. (Her hair isn't the only thing colorful about her). Well I think that I should start of 2015 with a new feature and write-up on one of Reese's creative outputs and this time it's 
Reese and Vica's "Those Who Wander" EP Review! 

We have the downloaded copy of their "Crossing Neverland" album thanks to! But you what it's really different when you have the actual physical copy of the album or the EP (so -- does anyone know where I can get a physical copy of Crossing Neverland? Reese? Vica?) Also do you girls have a digital cover art for Those Who Wander? So I can update it on my iTunes - I'm kind of particular with the digital cover art :P 

Going back to the "Those Who Wander" EP if you enjoy any of their songs well then this EP is a welcome extension of their addictive harmonies, impressive guitar playing and superb song writing

Consisting of five songs, Those Who Wander is a great cd to pop in you player when you're looking for a way to relax, trust me their smooth vocals can remove the stress out of any bad day that you're having. 

Here are the five tracks in the EP: 


Here are some of my thoughts on the songs in the EP: 

The first song that caught my attention (and I think is my favorite in the EP) is "Witching" which reminded me of Macbeth's Weird Sisters. 

Here is what the Weird Sisters said: 

"Double, Double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble-" 

While here is what Reese and Vica sing in Witching - my favorite part is the chorus and that pre-chorus is to die for

Eye of newt and blood of boar
Rabbit's paw fetch me some more
A lock of hair from virgin's head
A jar of thumbs underneath the bed
Wing of beetle head of snail
Light of firefly, rodent's tail
A box of frogs from the river's mouth
Crows caught flying towards the south

You really should listen to the song. It's creepy and beautiful at the same time. 

Definitely unlike any other song out there right now. If you haven't listened to any of this Indie-Pop duo's songs then you're missing half of your life! 

My second favorite song would be "What's Wrong With Hoping" and I think it's the ultimate friend-zoned song - just in time for Valentine's maybe? 

Here are some of the lyrics (in no particular order) and you can decide for yourself- 

Tell me where are we going

I'm waiting to see the world with you

Are we just friends who like to dream and travel far? 

Don't blame me for trying 

Are we just going to wait until it fades? 

Wow! Talk about some hugot lyrics! You might want to check out the song in it's entirety and I know that Reese and Vica will be performing in Satchmi's @Feels Valentines event on the 14th :p 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Centerfold Photography & Videography Workshop

While I continue to look for other means of learning in the art of photography,  I taught myself to go out and meet other photo-enthusiasts and professional photographers alike and learn from them, like going to photo-walks and checking out other clubs.  

Early January 2015, my wife suggested I'd go to an event from the good people of Panasonic Philippines - CENTERFOLD. I wasn't eager to go to the event since I had a few projects that I had to do, but I still went since I've been missing out on the scene lately and I need to learn more.

It was my first time visiting Robinsons Magnolia, and it was a nice place to hang out with other enthusiasts as well.  I arrived around 9:40AM and saw a thick crowd gathered in front of the mall.  The event was hosted by Nigel Laxamana from DPP (Digital Photographer Philippines) and Alex Ruelo(Imagine Nation Photography and he was also one of our wedding photographers) and it started off with give aways from Innovee Trading Inc. and DPP.  

Nigel said something that struck me about hybrid shooting, that people that are into photography should consider video as well, and video enthusiasts should also should try shooting stills as well. I thought that he does have a point there. 

A few prizes were raffled which were goodies from Phottix, Vanguard and DPP.  Unfortunately I wasn't fortunate enough because I didn't win anything (I guess the luck in winning prizes belongs to the wife).

Ricky Ladia, an established commercial photographer, a master of working with strobes, and a Phottix ambassador and lots of other established photography related companies,  was the 1st speaker.  He introduces working with flash, the equipment needed, a little bit of how to control flash and what it can do to bring more out of an image with using available light only.  He literally shed light on the subject of lighting with strobes to the people that haven't tried out shooting with flash. He encourages people to go and shoot with off camera flash to add more depth and dimension to whatever vision or prospect image. You can check out his FB page here for more of his works. 

The 2nd speaker was Gunther Deichmann, a world renowned travel photographer.  Gunther talked about his shift to micro 4/3rds and he hasn't regretted his decision.  His point was that travelling light, helps him go places with less things to lug around and less luggage when flying from once country to another.  Another thing that he stated was he got clearer image compared to what he got from his old full-frame camera.  While Gunther discussed how happy he is with the current technology from his Micro 4/3rd camera he has shown a collection of his images that were indeed clear and brilliant. 
To check out more about Gunther Deichmann, you can visit his website to find out more about him and his works, here.  

As the clock ticked I barely noticed that the time was already after 1PM.  So a break was declared and a grabbed a bite and bumped in with a few people that I know from Antipolo that I shoot with at times. Going back to the workshop, it was time to shift over to the videography side.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Facial Care #MyBeautyConfession Facial Firming Treatment

Won a Facial Firming treatment from the swanky Facial care Center a few months back from their #My eautyConfession give away. The treatment was only valid until January 31, 2015 and surprise - surprise I was too busy to avail of the treatment and was only able to go before the last day! January 30, 2015! 

It's a good thing that they have a branch in MDC in Eastwood so I was able to go right after work. Actually Paul had a scheduled shoot after his shift so I figured I'd do errands and get my long delayed Facial firming treatment! 

Which is why I found myself in their beautiful offices at the 30th floor of MDC building in Eastwood. 

Before my treatment began I had a session with their Skin Consultant who asked about my facial cleaning rituals, we also talked about how the treatment was going to go, she was really very nice, even if she kept on calling me Marion (in case you didn't know my first name is Marica and I guess I got used to people misreading my name :p) The nice Skin Consultant lady said that the procedure will serve as a maintenance (I suddenly felt like I was a car! :p) but as a good friend of mine says - you only have one face so take care of it. 

Unfortunately Paul wasn't with me during the session since he had an ongoing shoot in the office. So my facial treatment was actually a way to kill time and it was a very relaxing way to kill time too! 

So-pardon the not so nice photos which I just took with my iPad. Hopefully the next time I visit Paul can come along to take photos which would really reflect how beautiful the place really is! 

There were a lot of treatment rooms inside, it was like a long corridor of rooms and when I entered I met my therapist and she asked me to change in a robe hehe super swanky indeed! :p I was even offered complimentary drinks -hehe I could really get used to this kind of treatment :) 

The bed in the treatment room was really comfortable, it even had a hotel-grade comforter to keep me snug and warm during the treatment, coupled with the relaxing music playing in the background I could actually almost fall asleep if someone wasn't scrubbing and exfoliating my face :p 

Super happy that I actually have 4 more facial firming treatments :D -expect a lot more posts about them -just because they are so amazing! I also appreciate that there was no up selling of their products after the procedure (I experienced that before with some skin centers and it really is a big turn off). 

Will probably be back next month for another facial firming treatment ^_^ Oh and they have other amazing procedures (some at big discounts at a time too!) 

Just make sure to like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram for updates! :) 

With these long time clients - you know you're in good hands :) 

Project 365: June 2014

It's already 2015 and I haven't posted images for Project 365 from July 31-December 31 and on top of that I haven't blogged June to December yet! This was my mindset coming into 2015 and as promised I'll complete project 365 and so here I am continuing to blog about it although super late already :P

As I remember I was constantly evaluating light-wherever I go actually but I find myself still hesitant to pull out the camera to shoot at times. Despite all of this I still went on about and shot a few images that are outside my comfort zone.

Usually I just shoot at home and indoors, I rarely shoot outdoors - especially in the streets. 
Day 152 - The oldest nephew
Day 153 - This city(Pasig)
Day 154 - Bakery donuts(PAN de MANILA)
Day 155 - F. Ortigas Jr. Road
Day 156 - Figuring things out
Day 157 - Self portrait
Day 158 - Hitting the books again
Day 159 - From the dark side
Day 160 - Thor
One of those scenarios where I went out of my comfort zone was going out into the streets in the evening. It really is a challenge but I got a few shots down in spite of the under exposed images I still have a few decent shots(days 153, 155, 161, 167, and 168). 
Day 161 - Waiting for a ride
Day 162 - Our Independence
Day 163 - On a day like this
Day 165 - Acoustic performance
Day 166 - Poor bird
Day 167 - On a stand still
Day 168 - Towards the light
Day 169 - Evaluation
Day 170 -  Kurt Wagner
I was fortunate enough to get to shoot in a few events like the Independence day celebration in a mall(Day 162), live performance of a band(Day 165) and Toycon(Day 172).  Even if I only had a few (paying) gigs that month I still didn't give in to laziness and kept at it. 

Day 171 - The big blue sky
Day 172 - Facing them
Day 173 - Old jeans
Day 174 - Simplifying
Day 175 - Is that smog?
Day 176 - Decorated ceilings
Day 177 -  Having a break
Day 178 - Father daughter moments
Day 179(2014) - Day break
Day 179 - Day break

As the end of the month approaches, I just kept at it.  There was a point in the year where I was already thinking of what the image would look like.  While I shot the last of the images of June, I had no thought of post processing images in black and white. When I was about to post process days 178,179, 180 and 181 ended up black and white because of the black and white challenge.  
Day 180 - Relentless
Day 181 - Dried fish
As I complete the 6th month of 2014, I still have some apprehensions and hesitations but if I let them take a hold of me, none of the shots that I have now will be possible.  Just don't let it matter and just keep clicking.