Valentines is always a special occasion for me – whether I am Single or in a relationship. Although it is true that every day is a hearts day, my teachers during grade school has successfully inculcated in my head the importance of making the people around me feel special on Valentine’s day – from my teachers, to classmates, family, friends, relatives and everyone else. And since I love art crafts, I always use it to express love. I am not fun of buying fancy stuff from the shop to give as a gift – for any special occasions. I always love making them on my own and sprinkle some personal touch.
Now that Valentines day is almost upon us, we have prepared something special for the 7, 825 (an counting) visitors in my 9-month-old blog.
I sincerely thank you for your support even if I am new and still trying to get around. So, we have made a simple music video to brighten up my reader’s hearts this Valentines day. But first things first: Before you continue scrolling down, please don’t expect too much. While the casts in this video were all great, I am just worried about the fact that don’t have a professional camera nor professional skills to create an awesome music video for you guys. But then again, I always like to challenge myself and this is one of the things I would like to push myself beyond my limits. Rest assured, this music video is made by our passionate hearts. And don’t worry! I know I have a bad voice so I am not the one singing. Singing is one of my biggest frustrations especially when people from other nationalities tell me,” you are the only Filipino who cannot sing”. Well, although I know I am not the only one but I am still quite unfortunate to be one of the few. -.-
I have tapped a very good friend of mine to serenade you guys with the most requested love songs by Ed Sheeran, ‘Perfect’. I am very glad that he said ‘yes’ to this invitation because it’s a perfect way to refuel his passion in singing.
Photo by: Mhar Villaester Studio
He is Vimer Montañez. I met him from the Model search that I have joined in Singapore last 2017 – Dream Top Model Season 3. He was the big winner of the most ‘Captivating Smile’ award. It paved way for him to rise to prominence even until now as one of the handsome faces in OFW-SG community. This was also thanks to his supportive friend-photographer Mhar Anthony Villaester, as his handler and where he also had his back-to-back photoshoots last year that resulted to a great hit for Morpheus’ clients and kababayan supporters.
Aside from modelling, the Filipino community in Singapore also discovered his singing prowess. His first performance was through the 1st Charity Activity of Dream Top Model last 23 December 2016 at Bahay ni Ate, an event under the Philippine Embassy Singapore. The success of his first singing stint has brought attention to his second appearance at Bayanihan Walk 2017 last May 2017 and it was where I learned about his passion in Singing. I was covering for a blog back then. Right there, I knew that he is the perfect person to work with in making my Dream Music Video come alive. Well, for me, as the producer/director/cameraman perhaps. 😀
Enjoy our ‘Perfect‘ Valentines gift for you. Our dream music video made by our passionate hearts! Special thanks to Princes Catherine Reña for her special appearance in this video.
Perfect – Ed Sheeran – Vimer Montañez Cover ft. Princess Reña
Produced/Directed by: Aby
Sound Editing by: Allen Vincent Santiago
Let’s get to know more about Vimer. I did a quick interview with him especially in raiding his passion. Here’s a quick share for you:
Mr. Arthur Jake Villanueva, or Mr. AJV, is indeed the best pick in the OFW-SG community events and entertainment industry as he recently won the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore 2017’s Natatanginging Indibidwal in Event Management Category held at York Hotel (29 October).
Mr. AJV’s success does not only end there for this year as Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) was also awarded as Natatanging Organisasyon in the Event and Management category. He dedicated the success to all the people who supported the organization and its projects especially to his two partners Mr. Dhave Dela Cruz and Ms. Maria Antonethe Fadallan.
“Morpheus Hub Events and Productions would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore, Madam Zeny Leong and Sir Rex Nebre, for recognizing our family with 2 prestigious awards. In a larger sense, however, this award is more appropriately deserved by the men and women of Morpheus’ stars with over 130 models from the pioneer 12 models in 2013. The Morpheus Hub Events and Productions (MHEP) along with our many partners who have collaborated in achieving our Vision for more than 4 years in this field: “A community where all communities especially KABABAYAN community unite, flourish and thrive.” said Mr. AJV.
He also invited the rest of MHEP’s team, who were present to host in the event, to join him on stage as he received the organizations’ award.
Other Filipino persona who were praised and recognized on the 2nd edition of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore were: Rico Hizon of BBC News (Media and Journalism), Mayo Martin of Channel News Asia (Media and Journalism), Luzviminda Matchimura Baraquel and Josefina Hosena (Outstanding Service), Ninalyn Cacanta of Happy Family School (Education Category), Laarni Gandaroza of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Official), Ramon Pastrana of Philippine Embassy DOLE (Outstanding Government Labour Attaché), Ancheta Cataran of Philippine Embassy OWWA (Outstanding Government Official) and Manuel Mersole Mellejor of Philippine Embassy (Outstanding Government Secretary), all of the other kababayan who won the award were veteran personalities. Read more at: OFW-SG SULO NG OVERSEAS FILIPINO 2017 AWARDING CEREMONY
Through the years, Mr. AJV has already gained a lot of recognition for his leadership in the field of entertainment events and charity activities— his people management, marketing management and event management skills rolled into one, that’s pure talent indeed! All of his recognition and awards since 2013 are evidences that he is indeed the ‘Mr. M’ of Singapore and one of the most admired OFW-SG leaders in the OFW-SG community. Despite that Mr. AJV doesn’t always talk about his great acts, undeniably, his awards and recognition are the ones that are speaking for his never ending achievements.
I, Into The Abys, and Kelly G are also living proofs about Mr. AJV’s great acts and humility behind the scenes. We were both one of the hopefuls from the previous year’s Dream Top Model competitions which is one of the biggest projects of MHEP. Kelly G was from Season 1 and I was from Season 3. Even though we did not make it to the top in the model search, Mr. AJV has given us a chance to prove ourselves and find a spot in the industry by inviting us to join his projects not just to upsurge our blogs but also to boost our self-confidence. The recent Star Magic Presscon in Singapore (Oct 2017) was one of the many projects that we have collaborated.
Meanwhile, Mr. AJV is currently supporting OFW-SG community events by leading the program flow, providing manpower and talents, and promoting the said events in the OFW-SG social media. He recently finished 3 charity activities for 2017 under his management arm Morpheus Hub Events and Productions alongside Dream Top Model family and Miss Petite family. Aside from that, he is also busy with his partners for the comeback of the biggest and grandest OFW-SG event Dream Top Model Season 4 which people can’t wait to see.
Congratulations Mr. AJV! Mabuhay po ang mga Pilipino at Mabuhay ang OFW-SG community!
Mhar Villaester is a Filipino photographer who’s dedication in his craft is admirable. He is currently living in Singapore for 5 years now. He believes that each of us tells a unique story and photography is one of best medium to share this story. Photographs emulates a way our mind freezes a significant moment.
Click here to read about the project that we have done together: Curated Secrets: ‘What It Means To Be With You’
One look at Mhar’s portfolio is like a step into a colorful and imaginative story-telling. Often dreamy, playful, cinematic, and rarely static. His photographs lean towards to tell story of human experience both in an imaginative and documentary parlance. He is a self-taught photographer who has been shooting for almost more than a year. Driven by curiosity and the incessant need to create and tell a story, it gave birth to ARCHETYPE IMAGES by Mhar Villaester.
Growing up, he excelled in academics, music, and other extra-curricular activities. He is a graduate of Psychology, Religious Studies and Law. He views photography primarily as a process, an exploration and a story telling. For Mhar, the act of curation as more important than the individual photographs. His process involves deconstructing and reconstructing photographs, combining different crops, colors and angular vantage points.
One of his models, Ian De Guzman, finds Mhar as a great photographer. He is gentle & encouraging in directing his models. At first, he would ask what is the models’ mood and what are their ideas for the poses. They would brainstorm from there, igniting an exhilarating model-photographer tandem. Ian also added that his post-processing skills is very fast and with great quality. He would get the models’ opinion about the photos before publishing.
Here is a quick interview with this gentleman about his love for photography:
How did you develop an interest in photography?
Mhar: Photography is my first love, I fell in love with photography when I was in High School as photojournalist. As a cliché you always forsake your first love, thus I pursue Psychology, Religious Studies, and Law. It is only when I relocated here in Singapore when I rekindled my love and hate relationship with photography.
Why love and hate?
Mhar: Photography is savoring life at 100 frames per second, intently. It a risky passion as it fuels your creative imagination. And it’s an endeavor that is worth pursuing with determination and force. Because getting better at photography can further your creative output and growth in your work and personal life. In other words, the better photographs you capture, the more you thrive. But on the other side of the pendulum there is a risk of burning out.
What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it? Is it full time/part-time?
Mhar: I think there is no such thing as a part or full time when you talk about your passion; Photography for me is one of them. Photography for me is more a teacher and not a career; it teaches the pain and joy of each story.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Mhar: I am privileged to meet a lot of great photographers, I listen when they share and their ways-of-working. I was also blessed to build friendship along the way with fellow photographers. I think most of what I know about photography especially the technical aspect and concept, I learnt from a good friend of mine, Urico Mondelo. I considered him as may mentor and needless to say he is my number one critique. I do research on the project or portfolio I like to create. From the make up, styling, location, mood, and story I want to tell; a mood board.
Do you have any formal training?
Mhar: I am a self-thought photographer when I started. But I did enrolled for Diploma Courses in Photography both here in Singapore and distance learning courses.
Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
Mhar: I am really drawn to portrait and documentary photography. There is an enigmatic sense in each portrait and frame
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Mhar: Each photographers has their own approach and style, thus I give brevity and value to each published or unpublished pictures. I personally like Annie Lievobitz and Sebastiao Salgado.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Mhar: To use sunblock when doing outdoor photography..LOL. Seriously, the appropriate use of shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
Do you collaborate well with second shooters or assistants?
Mhar: Categorically, Yes I am.. LOL I am hard to work with. I have my own demons to appeased. I can really be demanding. My approach in everything I do is ; Patience and spiritual fortitude. But if it fails physical violence may find it salutary (Lol)
How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?
Mhar: As a photographer you should now what you want, you need to be decisive on what image you envisioned to produce and what story you want to tell.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?
Mhar: My armory is very basic; a notebook to draw the story-line I want ; a Canon 60D; my lenses are 85mm f1.8; 35mm f1.4; 24-70 f2.8; 50mm f1.8. I used Lightroom CC to make some adjustment.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
I am driven by curiosity and the incessant need to create. I try to draw my subjects into my world, and creates an intimate and singular point of view from both in front of, and behind the camera. The best photography starts where you are and emanates out
Last Sunday, 21 Jan 2018, the Lunav Mass Fashion Show successfully broke the Guinness World Records & Asia Book of Records with most participants of 382 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. I am very glad to be a part of it! Thank you Ms. Harshini Sudarshan of HS Elites for that once in a lifetime opportunity. It was not in my plan but breaking a Guinness World Record is now off from my bucket list!
Of course, the video above is edited so it added a more dramatic and nice effect. 😀 I’ll share with you the original video later in this article.
I have received wonderful comments from Instagram on how well I did my walk with Felicia Ow’s Scarlet Cape (Thank you! I really appreciate it). Although it was not perfect, every single comment really means a lot me. Why? Allow me to steer you back to the main purpose of my blog which is to share struggles, achievements and inspiration.
So, here’s a confession:
I have actually modeled the Scarlet Cape on a fashion show three years ago. September 20, 2015 to be exact.
I was with the Singapore Fashion Runway (SFR) back then. We had three consecutive days of Fashion Shows. It was Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday was my very first step on a runway in my entire life.
You can imagine how nervous I was while I was surrounded with seasoned models in Singapore. I was the only Filipino but everyone was very welcoming and encouraging. Although we had workshops days before the show, it is still a different kind of nerve-wracking feeling once you are in the actual situation.
One of the Singapore Fashion Runway’s mission is to bring together the local fashion designers in Singapore to co-create a unique fashion statement. A number of talented designers gathered to showcase their masterpieces. As usual, models don’t get the chance to choose what to wear. I believe it is a part of the job. There were already sets of outfits prepared for each models which they posted on the wall so everyone can be guided especially the dressers. Which also means that before the show starts, the models already know which outfits they will be wearing on that day. Each models flaunted about five outfits per day.
All the designs at the show were incredible. But for some reasons, one of the designs that really caught my attention was the Scarlet Cape. It is so unique and empowering that it could give you a superwoman kind of feeling to conquer all your weaknesses and just be comfortable of who you are.
On the first day of the show, the Scarlet Cape was assigned to be worn by another model. I thought I wont get a chance to wear it already. But on the second day, I learned that some models aren’t coming so the outfits had to be re-shuffled. I was very excited that I faster checked the postings on the wall but too bad, it was again given to another model. On the third day, I prayed that there will be less models coming so I will get more chance of wearing it. And yes! Answered prayers indeed! Most models were busy on that day so they weren’t able to come. And finally, the Scarlet Cape was assigned to me! I was so happy that I faster shared the video to my mom when I got home. I thought I did well until I compared the videos from 2015 vs 2018. Here you go, see for yourself how stiff I was like a robot from the 2015 video.
As what people say, there is only one chance to make a good first impression. It is obvious to me now that I did bad on my first walk with the Scarlet Cape. But not everyone gets a second chance and I am really grateful. I had an option to wear a different outfit but for some reasons, fate led me back to the Scarlet Cape.
My friends may be thinking that I’ve been having such a good and busy life with all the things that I have been doing; modelling, dancing, blogging/vlogging, or at work. The truth is, no. Just like yours, my journey is not all rainbows and sunshine. It is in fact mostly overpowered by darkness. I am one of those lost souls who are still knocking doors to figure my perfect spot. And recently, I got tired banging myself on doors I am not even invited. I felt that all the things I have been doing are just a waste of time. I got tired pushing myself that it even affected my performance at work. Maybe my intuition about myself was right. I will always be that shy person trying too hard to be someone but I will never be anyone. If I ask myself, I don’t even know what my goals are.
But things are starting to make sense now. I am really thankful with the opportunities I had with the Scarlet Cape. All thanks to the supportive designer! There are just times when we thought that we have already given our best on something but actually, we can still do even better. We tend to complain on things that don’t go on our way. But things don’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process.
So yes, my goals are clearer now. I may bear many scars from the doors I have been trying hard to open but I also carry with me the moments that would not happened if I did not dared to go beyond my limits since 3 years ago. I will continue to share about my journey and about the awesome people I meet along the way! I will inspire others in the simplest ways I can ❤
Felicia Ow is a Singaporean Fashion Designer who always loves to use her hands to make all sorts of stuff. She pulls her inspiration from the things she sees and observes in her everyday life (eg. fashion, materials, environment, architecture, etc). She used to design clothing. These were some of her amazing designs with Singapore Fashion Runway (SFR):
Now, she has the founded Artz de Scrap where she creates one of a kind hand-made jewelry for those who love something different. Her style is special as she explore various techniques and materials to create artistic pieces that are unique and interesting. Her pieces are for those who are not afraid to show their personality and be different in a stylish way. The accessories I was wearing from the Lunav Fashion Show are actually one of their masterpieces.
She is also one with Singapore Fashion Runway’s (SFR) mission which is to build fashion towards an inclusive community and to increase awareness and support for people with special needs. They put on a fashion show for the event, with special needs children and cancer survivors as models.
Artz de Scrap will also be at the Singapore Comic Festival 2018 Creators’ Market this weekend, 27-28 Jan 2018 (10AM-5PM). Do drop by and check out more of their collections at: NAFA, 80 Bencoolen Street, Singapore 189655.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to share your thoughts at the comment section below. I would love to hear from you ❤
A Mass Fashion Show aiming to create a Guinness World Record will be happening tomorrow right here in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands — and yay! I’m excited to be a part of it! Who else are coming?
I’ll be picking up the clothes and accessories later from one of my favorite local designers here in Singapore. Can’t wait to share with you guys what I’ll wear! 💗
I’ve been really quite from my site recently. But this should be my new year’s resolution: SHARE MORE GREAT THINGS! So do follow my blog at http://www.intotheabys.com for updates about the interesting things I’ve been doing in Singapore!
Last 29th of October 2017 was the success of the second Sulo ng Overseas Filipino awarding ceremony in Singapore held at the York Hotel which was organized by the Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore.
Sulo ng Overseas Filipino is a year-long activity and is set up to award outstanding individuals and organizations whose contributions made a tremendous positive impact to the society and helped improve the lives of many. These individuals can come from various fields such as arts, culture, politics, public service, and entrepreneurship. This is also to help inspire other people to do good for the community.
The organization started in the Philippines and has expanded overseas and the Singapore chapter is now headed by Ms. Zeny Leong together with Mr. Regor Barozzo.
“Just like a ‘sulo’ which is normally being used in dark farthest mountains, forests and islands, the Sulo ng Overseas Filipino will share brightness and bring hope to all of us especially during times of calamities, disasters, crises and struggles when darkness and hopelessness embed among the people and the society”, said by Mr. Rexonne Nebre, Secretary-General of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore. He also spearheaded the search of the awardees, securing their contacts and getting in touch with them.
Into The Abys had a great privilege to be one of the hosts together with the Morpheus Stars, Kelly G, Karina Bacsain and Janina Espinosa. The program was divided into two parts. It started with the ‘Natatanging’ Sports Award Presentation followed by the ‘Natatanging Negosyo’, ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ and ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’
The Filipino Dance Club Singapore (FDC-SG), ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ awardee last 2016 under Performing Arts – Dance category, was also there to showcase a dance performance and hype-up the program.
While some were earnestly listening to the encouraging speeches of the awardees and while enjoying the performances in between, others took the chance to visit the exciting booths of the sponsors located just outside the entrance of the hall. LBC Express, PNB, iRemit Singapore, and Noble Life were few of the many sponsors.
Mr. Regor Barrozo, Gawad Sulo Singapore Ambassador and OFW Global Movement Singapore Chapter President, closed the ceremony with his remarks thanking all the sponsors, award partners and volunteers. He highlighted that their organization’s quest in lighting up torches will not be possible without their unceasing support.
I wish I can share with you the full list of the awardees in this article. But there were just many and it is deeply inspiring to learn that there are actually a lot of fellow Filipinos out there who are taking extra step for the betterment of our Singapore OFW community. According to Ms. Sherley Bianca Baring, head of Finance and Media Communications of Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore, there were a total of 60 natatanging awardees this year; 17 for the Natatanging Organisasyon, 15 Natatanging Indibidwal, 15 Natatanging Negosyo and 13 for Natatanging Volunteers. I will update this article and share a link on the full list of this year’s awardees as soon as it is available online.
Here are more of the individuals, institutions and organizations who stood out for this year in serving as “lights in the darkness”. Check out their inspiring stories and how they made it to be a role model to inspire others to serve the people more.
The awardees further expressed their heartfelt appreciation on their Facebook accounts. Here are some of their heart-warming posts:
Gilbert Santos is one of the founder of Gilas Basketball League Singapore, ‘Natatanging Organisasyon’ awardee. Their organization is committed in providing high quality basketball tournaments to fellow OFW kababayan in Singapore. Their organization instill sportsmanship, camaraderie and healthy living among the participants. It is also open to everyone, regardless of race or nationality, who share the same passion for Basketball.
Ms Aniceta Cataran, ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ awardee as an outstanding government official, expressed her gratitude to her family and colleagues. She further emphasized that the award is dedicated to all the people who supported her endeavor.
Mr. Obet Rivera, a ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ awardee, is a musician who is used to perform around asia and now works a guitar teacher at Ossia Music School Since 2008. He is now a DJ in Radyo Filipino Network, broadcasting from Singapore, showcasing artists from all over the globe.
Mr. Rico Hizon also shared his honor to be awarded as ‘Natatanging Indibidwal’ under Media and Journalism. He is a broadcast journalist from BBC World News. He took up communication Arts and Business at De La Salle University. He previously worked at GMA News & CNBC. In his almost 25 years as a broadcast journalist, he has interviewed high profile personalities such as Bill Gates, Tony Fernandes, Richard James, Kobe Bryant and many more. He is a multi-awarded broadcast journalist, a business news presenter and a proud Filipino.
Congratulations to the team behind this prestigious event, Gawad Sulo Foundation Singapore. Thank your for illuminating our hearts once again for this years’ set awardees. Your organization’s quest alone has already made a positive impact. The Singapore Filipino Community are with you in your pursuit. May you continue to be torches of inspiration seeking unique individuals whose drive and passion in life carry flames of hope for the Filipinos working overseas.