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The Birth of Baby JOSHUA XAVIER (A Photo Essay)

The Birth of Baby Joshua Xavier Diaz-37
Finally, Rache gave birth to Baby Joshua Xavier yesterday, November 14, 2007 @ 7.25pm in Makati Medical Center. I’m proud of Rache because she gave birth in a Lamaze way! After 3 push, Baby Josh came out naturally without the swollen look associated with prolonged active labor.

Rache called me at 4pm yesterday and I was in a middle of a couple of meetings. It was totally unexpected because earlier that day, Rache did not mention any contractions. It only started at 3pm and we did not have time to go to Asian Hospital anymore because of the rush hours. I texted Rache that I needed one hour to wrap things up in the office and we agreed to meet in the 4th Floor Delivery Room in Makati Med @ 5pm.

I personally don’t like to give birth in Makati Med but we had no choice. Delivering in Makati Med was like using a desktop PC computer with floppy drives — it is functional and it get things done, but you would not rave about it and you have to be patient with its flaws. In contrast, delivering in Genesis of Asian Hospital was like using a Macintosh with Intel core duo and Leopard OS installed. We gave birth to Aidan in Asian Hospital almost 3 years ago and Makati Med does not come close to that overall birthing experience.

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Happy Diwali!

Diwali Mela

Happy Diwali to our Indian friends in Manila! We saw a Diwali Mela (Indian Trade Fair) last Sunday when we went to Mall of Asia. I started to realize that there are a lot of Indians now in Manila. Just in our company, we have three holding key leadership positions. The Diwali Mela is very interesting because it showcases Indian dances, fashion and food (which is why I went there). I would think that Diwali will become a big occasion next year in Manila. Rumor has it that next year, it will be a holiday already because Bollywood is already investing in Manila. (can someone confirm this?)

Tina Vaswani gave me Jamoos on Diwali and these are the round balls soak in sweet liquid which I first tasted during the Pink Kitchen event. She was proud to say that they create one of the best Jamoos in Manila. This got me interested to explore the different flavours of India in Manila and see which ones are the best. I’m looking for Indian foodies out there who can show me the secrets of Indian cuisine in Manila (aside from the usual Swagat/ Bombay Kitchen/ Prince of Jaipur).

On a personal note, my wife has not given birth yet. The dilations got stuck at 4cm and she is experiencing no regular contractions. It is the 40th week and we have been walking around the Mall of Asia this weekend but still Baby Joshua won’t come out. While waiting for Baby Joshua, we already signed up for StemCord where you bank the stem cells from the baby’s umbilical cord for future use ( which I will feature separately). We have eaten in the newly opened Haagen Daz in Mall of Asia (watch out for that post). I’m dying to post the Pampanga tour we had and a definitive guide to Claude tayag’s Bale Dutung.

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Baby 4 is coming to town :)

Joshua Xavier Diaz.jpg

My wife is about to give birth maybe tonight or tomorrow. I’m signing off for now and you may follow developments via Twitter. We are happy that we will see Baby 4 soon and at the same time, a bit sad because we won’t be able to attend my big brother’s wedding in Caleruega/ Balai Taal. Also, Aidan is the ring bearer so we will miss seeing him walk in Caleruega. For those wondering what is the name of Baby 4, check out Rache’s post on Baby 4.

Thanks for all the prayers and support!!


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Learnings from the Transit Photo Contest

Mayon Seaport by Gary Mart Domingo.jpg
1st Place: Mayon Seaport by Gary Mart Domingo

Congratulations to the Transit Photo Contests Winners Gary Mart Domingo, Arnold Jumpay, and Maylene Espera! I want to share my thoughts on why my photos did not win so that I can improve my shots for the succeeding contest. You might benefit from this too especially for those who wants to join such contest in the future. But I’m still happy that two of my photos were short listed as finalist. (You can see all the photos below)

On the Go, Lokal! Transit Photo Contest

Transit Photo Contest Theme:
Summer Destination Pictures of the Best Destinations the Philippines – like Siargao, Bohol, Boracay, Pagudpud, Batanes, Cebu , and other vacation destinations. Photos may include famous landmarks like historical churches and houses, animals, rivers, beaches, etc.

Learnings from the Transit Photo Contest

1. Tell a unique story about the Philippines’ Destination.
First, you need to be able to identify where the place is by taking photos of the popular landmarks and places. I noticed that there are a lot of great shots of unknown beautiful places but the judges might not appreciate where it is. At least that is my hypothesis. Since it is a popular travel destination, you need to make sure that you take a unique angle on it like Mayon and the Port, Boracay and the silver surfer. Most importantly, the photo needs to tell a story especially that this is a newsprint medium so it needs to have a photo journalistic appeal.

2. Take the shot, Enter the contest, and Do a Post Analysis
You don’t need to be a pro to win in these contest. What is important is that whenever you take photos, you have to automatically have these kind of contests in mind. Make sure that you submit your photos so that you have a fighting chance because you’ll never know if you’ll win. It does not matter if you win or lose, what is important is that you learn from it. So, visit the exhibit of the winners and this is a good way also to develop your photographic eye.

That’s it! See the other winning photos below and my two photos that entered as finalist.


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Back to Back

Hi OAP friends, I’ve been pretty busy lately with back to back trips to Shanghai and Singapore. I’ll be posting my adventures soon and the yummy treats I discovered. As you all know I love Shanghai and if ever I move out of Manila for an expat assignment that is the only place I want to be.

My mac crashed on me back to back as well over a two weeks period. I’m an expert already on how to reinstall OSX 10.4.10 and all the software that I use. I lost some data but the important thing is that all of my photos are intact. I started to do back to back back-ups to a spare hard disk and to an iPod. Let me know if are encountering the same problem because I might be of help.

I was also got invited back to back to write an article for Inquirer which was released last Sunday and another one for Yummy in the November issue. Thanks for all the greetings on the article. We are thrilled to write that fun article for Sunday Inquirer Magazine. Thanks to Penny of SIM and Margaux for recommending me to write for SIM. I’m updating the links and contact information in the blog posts for those who want to try the awesome restaurants.

It is sad that Lasalle lost to Ateneo back to back and this is the first time I’ve seen it happen ever since college (I think). But the last game was a great game and it was a shoot out between the two squads. It was mentally and physically draining for both such that they lost in their subsequent games. But Ateneo’s happy days will be over today after the playoffs for the twice to beat advantage. Animo La Salle!


Our Family Posts

The Camera That Blogging Won

Blogger's Taste of Asia Meet

I have a unique pasalubong for Aidan today — His First Digital Camera! Thanks to SM Hypermarket for the camera which is the prize for the runner’s up award in the recently concluded SM Hypermarket Blogging Contest. Congratulations to all the winners and for Anito Kid for winning the Round Trip Ticket to Malaysia — you deserve it !

We had fun last night in the Taste of Asia Bloggers Meet. Here are some of the photos of last night’s event.

travel bloggers
Travel Bloggers having fun @ Cliquebooth

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Our Family Posts

Oh Boy, Oh Boy! It is another Boy!

It's Another Boy!
Oh yes, It is another boy! Aidan is now an Ahiya with a Syoti (younger brother).

It's Another Boy!
We are trying this 4D technology of In My Womb and our first attempt was not really successful. Baby 4 was being covered by the placenta so we have to return to get a full and moving shot. This is a first-come first-served basis. All the re-scans are done Tuesday/ Thursday only to avoid the long queue. By the way, no cameras nor video cameras were allowed during the procedure.

We took the cheapest 3D/4D Package (Ruby) for P3,300. It includes:
20-30 min 2D, 3D, 4D session
DVD recording set to music.
5 glossy, high resolution black/ white 3D photos
2 glossy, high resolution Sepia-toned 3D photoes
Medical Report, baby weights, estimated due date, heart rate, gender determination
Free return visit within 14 days if baby does NOT cooperate during your session.

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My Most Memorable Meals Ever


This was a tough but fun post that I’m glad Franco convinced me to write. I always love to eat and look for unique experiences even before I started blogging. So my wife and I had to brainstorm on the top 10 Most Memorable Meals ever in our life. In some cases, I have to dig up old photos just to share with you the experience. The list below is in no particular order because each one is unique and memorable in itself. The common denominator between all of them is that they are enjoyed with love ones or friends that you care about enjoying sumptuous meals that you will never forget. Enjoy this list:

My Most Memorable Meals Ever by our Table Guest, Anton

Thanks to Franco or Joey in real life whom I met at the food photography seminar, for the chance to blog that fun post. Sharkey, in real time is my cousin-in-law Pam, decided to leave Table for Three together with Senor Macho. Now, we have to guess, Stich and Salamia’s real identity. Hope to see Stich and Salamia’s personality in the Table for Three posts


Our Family Posts

Food Styling: Confidential. Know the Shocking Truth About the Food Shots!

Food Photography Class - 15 
Q: What do these two photos of a salad and pasta have in common?
Food Photography Class - 11
A: These photos are used for a food styling class and it is NOT edible!

I was really shocked to know that 100% of the photos that you see in magazines like Yummy, Food, or Appetite, are NOT edible!  I recently attended a Food Styling and Food Photography Class by Jo Avila and Pixie Sevilla Santos, and all the bloggers in the group were shocked to see the behind-the-scenes of food photography.

The plates are cleaned with a glass cleaner to remove any trace of finger prints or any type of blemish on the plate that can show up in the photo. You would put drops of glycerine in the salad to show dew drops to communicate that it is fresh. Underneath the salad and pasta above are wet rolls of tissue paper to give the food some volume. Most of the ingredients are not cooked and usually handled by dirty hands.You cannot eat them period.

The goal of Food Styling is to entice the viewer to stop and look at the photo so that you can linger to read the text. Also,  it is used to educate the viewer about the subject. The goal of food photography is to enhance the food so that you are enticed to buy the food even if you get disappointed with the actual look of the food.   The food is treated as props and there are a lot of substitutes or fake ingredients (fake ice, fake charcoal, etc..) just to enhance the photo.  White paint is sometimes used as milk. There are a lot of tactics used just to produce that perfect photo.

I will NEVER be a food stylist. I cannot stand the lies that is captured in the food photos. I feel that I have a moral obligation to viewers/ readers to take actual photos of food that you can eat. I can’t help it but look at photos in food magazines with disgust.

I’m proud to say that 100% of the photos you see in the blog (except for the ones above) are photos of food that you can actually eat. If there is one thing I learned in the P3,500 Food Photography Session, is that I will NEVER be a food stylist!


Related Posts:
Marketman Flunks Food Styling & Photography 101
Is There Really Truth in Advertising?  by  Confessions of a Marketing Addict

Check out the rest of the Food Photography Class and I’ll share with you some tips that I learned from the class…

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