METRO MANILA | The DPP-KLM “On Assignment” Europe

Thursday, September 08, 2011

DPP On Assignment

A month ago, Digital Photographer Philippines announced that they would be sending two photographers to Europe, completely free for a week, to document the Netherlands in conjunction with KLM Airline’s 60th anniversary in the Philippines. KLM would provide the means for the photographers, and the photographs would then be used for a full article in the Lonely Planet Philippines magazine.

To get picked for the assignment, one must present an essay as to why they would have to be chosen, a portfolio showing their work, and an inspiration photo with the theme “Journey of Inspiration”.

It was such an amazing assignment that I was so tempted to join. The only problem was, every photographer in the country, including the big guns of the industry (Ferdz Decena, Noli Gabilo, Edwin Martinez, Joel H. Garcia, Sami DeLeon, to name a few) also sent in their entries. It would be like passing through a very thin needle to get picked!

But everyone I know (like, two people, haha) was urging me to go ahead, do my best, and just pitch.

After much trepidation and deliberation, I went ahead and did my pitch for one whole day; writing furiously from twelve noon, sifting through thousands of photos for my chosen portfolio, rewriting and rechecking, and finally posting it at the DPP forum at almost exactly twelve midnight.

I never thought much about it afterwards as more and more photographers sent in their excellent pitches; I thought I would be lucky if I even get past the top 20.

Three days ago, while treading the rough waters of Balicasag Island on our way back to Panglao in Bohol, I got a text message saying I got chosen as one of the top six photographers for the assignment! Unbelievable!

We were exchanging high fives while the boat rock and rolled around the huge waves, the boatmen oblivious to what had just transpired.

As an icing to the cake, Digital Photographer Philippines’ head honcho Nick Tuason announced that I got the top spot out of all the 120+ photographers who sent in their pitches. Oh man! What a trip! Never in my wildest dream!

The Chosen Six will be awarded with an iPad 2, a Tamrac Camera Bag, and loads of Photix photography accessories.  And the final two would bring with them a Sony NEX camera to Holland and an additional Tamrac camera backpack.  How cool is that!!

The final two would be chosen over the weekend after a live shooting contest at Intrumuros.

This is the second time I got picked for DPP’s On Assignment series, the first one was the still pending Bicol: On Assignment last 2010. 

And so here it is; my extra long, no music, no video pitch to DPP and KLM. Hope you enjoyed it as much as when I was writing it.


M y  P i t c h


“You’ve been to so many places around the country; why not travel abroad for a change?” Besides what camera do you use, that’s one of the most asked question that’s been thrown at me.

So why not try to venture out? My standard reply is the cost. Exploring outside the country is much much more expensive. In my estimate, you could do at least three locations in the Philippines with the same damage against a one-time trip to any Southeast Asian locale.

It was then expected for my head to go through our leaking roof the day I read about DPP and KLM’s plan on bringing the country’s top photographers to Europe.

Holland! The Netherlands! Europe! Unbelievable!

Van Gogh-like flower fields, swirling windmills, reflective still ponds, cobalt blue skies, chilled to the bone weather, parochial countryside architecture, wooden shoes, Dutch hats (and let’s not forget the blond blue-eyed pony-tailed girls that wear them), medieval castles and forts! Let's totally go!

Butterflies flutter in my stomach and my whole body shakes in anticipation. I can see the never-ending golden road unfurling right before my eyes. Oh man, this might just be my chance to alter my standard line, and I’d be doing it in grand style.

So out of all the hundreds that had already pitched, why choose me?

I am travel, my home is the road. There is clarity on the road not found anywhere else. You find yourself as you move away from the familiar.

Ever since discovering photography, there’s nothing else in my mind other the means to move. Plotting and scheming for my leaves so I can do a nine-day journey across lands I hardly knew about, scraping up overtimes for funds and budgeting it to pay for fares and food, playing out never-ending scenarios on my head; do I go alone, do I bring someone with me, do I have enough to eat grand or are the carinderias just enough, do I hire a guide or do I do it DIY. These are the thoughts that course through my mind as I go through my humdrum work routine and snake through the slow-moving traffic of the metro.

All this has been documented on my three-year old online journal,
Lakad Pilipinas; everything from the crowded streets of Manila, the relatively unknown islands of Romblon, the eat-‘til you drop restaurants of Bacolod, the picturesque hills of Batanes, the death defying drops of Sagada, the haunted island of Corregidor, the unbelievable waters of Coron, on and on it never stops. I write about the places I’ve been to every single day, the only time I stop is when I’m on the road somewhere again, which I’ll again write about on a future time. It’s a never-ending cycle.

And through all this, photography comes first before everything else (which I liken to my luggage, camera gear first before clothes).

A typical day of traveling goes like this: Get up on ungodly morning hours and trek to the nearest body of water. Get splashed to smithereens to capture that perfect sunrise shot. Walk (not ride, heavens no!) back to the place we’re staying in, not wanting to lose the opportunity of seeing something on the road just because I’m speeding through in a tricycle. Shoot the breakfast first before eating, my stomach on full protest. Wash the camera, and its time to walk again.

Walk on and on ‘til there’s not enough light in the sky; the architecture, people, culture, food, the in-betweens, the itineraries, souvenirs, life, explore, photograph, taste, live the essence of the place; everything on my own two slow and patient feet.

And after the golden sun has set and there’s nothing else to photograph, it’s time to sit back, whip my journal out and take notes about the things that went through the day, adding to the small snippets I was able to jot down during lull of the travelling hours.

I had roughed the most uncomfortable sweaty-filled-to-brim-non-aircon bus ride, standing up for hours; I glided almost half the night at a slow moving outrigger boat through god-knows-where over dark misty waters with the moon our only light; I had braved staying at a supposed haunted island all by my lonesome self wishing I hadn’t the night it was time to sleep alone on a four poster bed; I had walked and walked and walked ‘til my two sorry feet were filled with band-aids. I would do anything and everything just to experience and capture a place.

My passion to move, to explore, to not waste time resting and sleeping, to document everything, to capture a place’s soul, to bring the readers inside my photographs is immeasurable. And this is everything I would bring to the team should I be chosen to represent and reflect Europe back to the readers.

And there is, of course, the opportunity to get one over
my travel mom, I bet she’s never been to Europe, well I think..

DPP On Assignment Goede Reis! (Bon Voyage!)


M y P o r t f o l i o

DPP On Assignment A Dinagyang contingent looks on as he steels himself to the performance ahead.
- Aliwan Fiesta, Manila

DPP On Assignment A village sits at a plateau in Mountain Province,
natural mist and smoke from burning trees combine to diffuse the surrounding mountains.
- Bangaan Rice Terraces, Mountain Province

DPP On Assignment Horse drawn carriages warp time on the cobbledstoned streets of Vigan, transporting passengers back to bygone eras.
- Calle Crisologo, Vigan

DPP On Assignment Romance under the romanesque skeletal remains of The Ruins.
Its grandeur and tragedy never fails to invoke emotions into its visitors.
- Talisay City, Bacolod

DPP On Assignment The raw crashing force of the rushing waters against
boulder-sized rocks seemed to have been momentarily tamed by a photograph.
- Valugan Beach, Batanes

DPP On Assignment Ripped tickets, colorful brochures, a steaming coffee, a journal and a pen. Time to recap the day’s events.
- PNKY Cafe, Baguio City

DPP On Assignment Vegetarian dishes served on funky stonewares witness the sun set across the mountains.
- Oh My Gulay!, Baguio City

DPP On Assignment The highly detailed church of St. Jerome seemed to stand tall through the incoming weather.
- Morong, Rizal

DPP On Assignment A lone lighthouse sits atop the sweeping hills,
readying for another night of guidance as the sun starts its downward journey.
- Marlboro Country, Batanes

DPP On Assignment Towering ultra-modern skyscrapers goes hand in hand with the natural towers of nature.
- Ayala Triangle, Makati City

DPP On Assignment A journey does not end as you board the plane back;
from the window, vessels seem to be painting and parting the waters of the bay forming interesting vistas for the birds.
- Manila Bay, Manila

I n s p i r a t i o n P h o t o

For my inspirational shot, I leave the words to the eternal J.Kerouac, through him I saw the road more clearly.
DPP On Assignment

We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind
and performing our one noble function of the time, move.

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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  1. congratch!

    me proud of you. hehe.

    *high five*

  2. HUWAW! I am soo happy for your! Yipee! I am betting you'll be in the final two! Congrats Christian! :D

    Quite a portfolio, drooling to the max! :D

  3. Awe-inspiring. You really are an inspiration kuya christian.


    Hoping to read more travel features and hoping to browse more grand-slash-spectacular photos here!


  4. Wow! Congratulations Christian! ^__^ I really love your pitch. One can really see your sincerity and passion in photography.

    Good luck! I'm crossing my fingers that you will make it to the final two. I remember how you commented in my Siem Reap post that magdilang anghel sana ako na makakapunta ka sa Siem Reap. This is a more exciting opportunity and I hope magdilang anghel sana ako na makapasok ka sa final two! :)

  5. huwaw!! iba ka tlga kuya max!!! bang-es!!! prang I’m one of those who asked bkit di ka magtravel abroad a...ahahahaha....

    super like!!!

    alam ko na yan eh!!!

  6. I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago when I was searching for Moon Garden Tagaytay.
    Your entry is really one of the more heartfelt / sincere ones. I pitched too so I went through all the entries. I'm rooting for you, hope you win! :)

  7. congratulations christian! to the highest level ka talaga! i love your pitch. nakakainspire talaga tong blog mo. simply amazing! ;o)

  8. ya knew how I admire your keen eye when it comes to colors, lighting and the stories behind every pix. you are the best. Congratulations Christian!

  9. congratulations sir christian! you deserve it! :)

  10. congrats and good luck. you deserve it. =)

  11. WOW!! 3 letters only, nope, add, amazing!!

  12. Wow Christian! Congrats! The Netherlands is a beautiful place. I hope you get chosen. ;)

  13. wow galing naman! congrats chong! ikaw bet ko..:)

  14. wow! you know what kahit di kita kilala in person eh proud na ako sa yo! hahaha wow ang galing. this is every photographers and wannabes dream...a DPP on assignment!!! woot Congrats!!!

  15. wow congrats!!! napapaspeachless ako sa kagandahan ng mga kuha mo! your captures speaks volume kaya naman no wonder talagang mapili ka.. sana kaw mapasama sa final 2!! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!

  16. amazing clap! clap! you deserve the top spot christian. can I promote you and your works in my blog?

  17. i admire your photos. simple lang talaga christian pero galing! :D

  18. Napakaganda ng mga retrato!Manalo ka sa na!

  19. nice one Christian! You deserve it! I'm happy at nagawi talaga ako sa blog mo na to months ago. Congratulations at talaga naman.. achieve na achieve!! Btw, I have read your link on "my travel mom". Nakakatuwa at ang sweet nyong mag mommy. =) hihihi!

  20. I am rooting for you! Congratulations and good luck! :)

  21. Kristel, Lestat, Tina, Robert, Batang Lakwatsero, Francesbean, Doi, Rome, MarLiesTravels, Michi, Joni, Kim, Blissfulguro, Supertikoy, Joan, Happysole, Ed, Wandering Caloy, Dong Ho, The Sunset Goddess, AkosiShinChan
    Thanks guys! Today is submission day!
    Hope all goes well! :)

    Sana mag-dilang anghel ka nga! :)

    Haha ikaw nga yun!

    Sure pre! Salamat salamat! :)

    Malditang "Kura"cha
    Salamat! Wala pa ring tatalo sa kulit ng blog mo haha
    Thanks for checking my travel mom link, mana sa nanay eh no? haha

  22. Bravo kuya! (kuya?!) hehe. U really deserved to be on top!
    POWER! Lufet kc ng mga entries mo eh..Good luck!

  23. Mitch
    Salamat ate! =P
    Bukas na po malalaman ang resulta =)

  24. grabe ngayon ko lang to nakita. ang ganda!

  25. sorry i know this is a late response, but your picture are beautiful! :) What camera do you use?