Monthly Archives: January 2007

The Big Guns (by photog, Ian Ong)

watchulukinat?!?
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… in full effect in Cebu. 

Thanks to our friend, Ian Ong (a.k.a. ‘Yanong’) for the pic!

Check out more of his work here and his Flickr site here.

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Our Music

As you can read from Cathy’s post below, we’re around that stage of picking a photographer and videographer. I think it would come down to Mimi and Karl or Dino Lara (no relation, although I could use the name as a bargaining chip) as photographers and Jason Magbanua or Threelogy for videographers. In my opinion, considering price and quality, Mimi and Karl and Threelogy are perfect for our wedding. We have yet to decide, but there is one thing I want to be able to determine prior to picking our videographer. The scoring of the on-site wedding video.

Other than an entire video presentation, the videographers also prepare a 3-5 minute video of the preparation and ceremony on the spot, and to be shown during the reception. Here are a few of Threelogy’s and some of Jason’s.

I’m hoping we get to choose our scoring, considering the mulah we have to shell out. So I proceeded to break it down. I downloaded a video from Threelogy and watched it muted (no offense to the celebrants!) and began to listen to a couple of tracks to see which would fit. I came up with the following tentative list:

1. Joshua Radin – Today (leaning heavily towards this joint…great guitar performance, lyrics and voice by radin)
2. Coldplay – For You (very cinematic, always imagine this playing to an opening of a movie)
3. Nick Drake – Northern Sky (his voice is just so easy on the ears)
4. Jack Johnson – Better Together (just a favorite of ours)
5. Ella Fitzgerald – Prelude To A Kiss (i think i may have been reaching here, but its has a very classy feel to it that i like)
6. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World (i can’t say his last name either, but who can’t resist the sound of the ukulele…it has that great mix of laid back and romantic)
7. Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (just cause norah’s voice has to be somewhere during the reception and this song paces perfectly with the video i watched)

Now this list is nowhere finished. I was looking for a laid back sound that fit our personality, nothing too serious and cliche. These are just a few I thought of at the top of my head (and going through my library). I went through a bunch of songs, added to the list, deleted from the list.
So, if any of you out there have any suggestions, please let us know. Share the music!

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Jason Magbanua and Threelogy

The thing about researching wedding videographers is that you have to watch the wedding videos.  And this can only mean one thing – tears, and lots of it.  I get so weepy each time I finish a video by Threelogy or Jason Magbanua that I’m not sure I can handle more than three at a time. 

I haven’t met them yet so I’m really just judging their work online (so I don’t know what they’re like to work with, how articulate they are, how willing they are to take the couple’s ideas in their execution…) but to me, Jason’s vids seem a bit more polished and nuanced.  I don’t know if it’s the whole cross-processing thing he does, or his unique treatment, or perhaps it’s just that his couples choose just the right score for the vids.  But it’s really a tough one because Threelogy isn’t bad either.  I think I’m just a tad bit more partial to Jason because he has a fully functioning website 🙂  whereas you have to search Threelogy’s work on YouTube.  What’s up with that?

It will be hard to convince Jay to drop so much mula with Jason’s vids.  But damn, they’re good.  He is so expensive though (rates are here)!  But he’s right, the work speaks for itself, so I can’t exactly blame the guy.  Plus he has a family to feed!  🙂  I also like that he seems to be pretty articulate (check out his blog here).  That’s always a plus.

I get pretty weepy thinking about Jay being on the other side of the aisle.. oh dear, I have to walk all that way to get to him on the Big Day.  St. James has a long aisle!  You know, we see each other almost every day (used to be daily up until this term, started teaching on tues/thurs), but his face still lights up when he sees me in the morning and I cannot wait to see him when I go in our office doors, either.  It’s such an amazing feeling and I get to have it so many times throughout the week. What a blessing, right? I love being with him, around him, near him, working and playing with him (that doesn’t sound right)… uh-oh, I’m getting weepy again.  I should really go to bed. 🙂 

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Sinulog Festival

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Jay and I just arrived from Cebu’s Sinulog Festival.  It was so much fun… so colorful and festive and a true Pinoy experience… but there wasn’t a moment when our feet weren’t aching or when we didn’t miss the plush pillows of the hotel while shooting 🙂  It was so interesting.  I have never been to a festival of that magnitude so I’m still a bit shellshocked.  In a good way.  

(as an aside we were made to try shots of Bacardi 151 by a friend… the experience was akin to a bomb exploding in your stomach and killing every germ or bacteria inside.  never again.)

 Anyways, to read more about Sinulog, click here.

 To see footage from the parade, click here, and from the Basilica Menore del Santo Nino re-enactment of the first mass, come on over here.

 An interesting tidbit – no one was able to tell me what Pit Senor means.  Everyone was yelling it at the top of their lungs but when asked, ‘what does PIT SENOR/SENYOR mean?!?’ people kind of looked uncomfortable and… really had no idea about its etymology.  I was so disappointed!  They say it’s like saying ‘Viva Santo Nino!’ but then… why not just say that instead of the whole ‘Pit’ thing?  WHAT IS ‘PIT’?!? 

Anyhoo… Jay and I lit candles for his family and mine outside of the Basilica and I just followed the local lady in front of me in her offertory ritual… she danced a bit outside of Magellan’s Cross and then mumbled her prayers… then she chucked all of the candles at the foot of the cross. So I did the same thing. She didn’t notice, she was still in a bit of a trance…

pit senyor… pit senyor… pit senyor.

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Choosing Wedding Planners/Coordinators in Manila

Picking wedding planners/coordinators here in Manila was actually a fun albeit time consuming task.  There are quite a few out there and if you care to go through the listings try looking through the supplier’s list of Wedding Essentials magazine (and check out the January – June 2007 issue here; it’s fat and chockfull of ideas/images/inspirations) or scroll through weddingsatwork.com’s listings (click here for directory).  What I did with the listing was that I chose the names that sounded mildly familiar from other ‘real’ Manila brides and I googled them; then I read through features and blogs that mentioned them, which revealed quite a bit of information. 

 

That was Step One.

 

The next step was to go on referrals from other brides and other people in the wedding industry (designers, make-up artists, florists).  Out of 7 referrals, I decided to narrow it down to 3.  Mostly because after the third one I couldn’t fathom sitting through another first-time meeting with a planner, who will likely explain to me (roughly) the same things.  All three were highly recommended by both brides and their fellow industry peeps so I thought that I would be lucky to get any of them.  And when it came to picking between the last 2, Jay reminded me that it was actually a good sign that I was a bit torn. 

THE PLANNERS

 

1) JP MONTILLA of Complete Work, Inc.  JP was the one who planned both Monica and Eri’s wedding (both of whom are in my entourage), so my parents, who were sponsors in both, gave their stamp of approval for his work from the get-go.  He is known to be a stickler; especially when the bottom line is concerned, which is especially great for those of you who want to make sure that wine bottles aren’t being opened when there are still opened ones to be consumed, that kind of thing.  Also, my friend said that he is quite good with dealing with emotional family members (a result of the panic leading up to tying up loose ends days before the wedding) and that he handled tricky situations quite well.  He answered my texts promptly and was very professional about what his role was when we met in person. 

The only thing that stuck-out in my meeting was that I wasn’t able to take home the contract that I was supposed to sign (to be able to discuss with Jay and my mom), which meant that I had to memorize it quickly and make sure that I got everything before I left.  I know that there are copyright issues to be dealt with (with younger planners ‘stealing’ templates, etc.) but at the same time, I was uncomfortable with not having a hard copy of what I was supposed to invest P55,000 in.  But aside from that detail, he gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me.

 

2) NENITA ZAGALA of Celebrations Events Specialists.  I met with Nenita at the
Peninsula’s lobby and I liked her immediately as she graciously let me stuff my face with two gargantuan lumpias (eat breakfast, people!  I didn’t that day) while she went through every single bullet point on her 3 (or was it 4) page contract and job list.  My first impression of her was that she is thorough, detail-oriented, simple yet stern (in a good way, the kind that you’ll need for your wedding day), and that she will not leave anything to chance.  I also looked through WE’s Beautiful Weddings and one of the weddings that caught my eye was coordinated by her.  She comes at a whopping price of P80,000 (and at this point I thought, wow, I should seriously quit my day job and become a planner after this experience…), but if you pro-rate that to 10 months (which is our countdown to November), that’s actually just 8,000/month, which is minimum wage.  And that P80,000 is supposed to be spread out amongst the 4 other coordinators that she’ll have at a wedding of roughly 375-400 ppl (our invite count, for now). 

She was also candid in saying that her and JP are friends and that they are both part of the Philippine Association of Wedding Planners (PAWP), so it was good cos I was able to share with her that I was canvassing still and that I had in fact met with JP a couple of days before. 

 

Nenita gets a 4.5 out of 5.

 

3)  CHINKY UY AGREGADO of Metro Eventscape Planners.  Chinky was a bit late (15-20 mins) to our first meeting because she had an event/meeting in the morning and was literally running on empty by the time she got to me (Rockwell Starbucks).  But as soon as she was settled and in planner mode, she went through her checklist bullet-point by bullet-point.  Her list wasn’t as long as Nenita’s, but she said pretty much the same thing.  She was also extremely warm and relatable, and she answered all of my text queries within 5 minutes after I sent them (which is to me a big deal). 

 

After she had gone over who she would suggest for me (only to have me say, yes! I was thinking of them too while I was doing my own research!) for each supplier, I got this feeling that we saw eye-to-eye on how Jay and I want our wedding to be.  She also had this thing on her client info sheet that asked not only for the color scheme/motif but also for a ‘mood’ and I’m all about these details… cos I was still on the fence about our ‘motif’ but I definitely have a mood in mind.  And the mood is more important than the motif, if you ask me…

 

Coincidentally, the ‘Beautiful Weddings’ (a mini-mag insert that came with the latest WE; features real Manila brides and has first-person accounts and a complete suppliers list per wedding) had a testimony from a real bride about Chinky, calling her ‘warm’ and ‘friendly’ and that she was all about what she CAN do for you, not what she CANNOT do, or what wasn’t covered in the contract (which she did talk about, but she wasn’t militant about it).  Perhaps the most important detail is that she told me that since I kind of have an idea already of what and who I want, and that we had already booked our church, reception venue and designer (3 very important and time intensive details), it would be unfair to charge me the full-price (P85,000). 

 

So in so many words, I’m going with Chinky 🙂 The decision was a gut instinct, but it also helped that she had other real brides giving positive testimonials of her service. 

 

My tips for those of you meeting with planners here in Manila:

            1)      go with your gut instinct (read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’)

2)      ask for referrals from other brides

3)      ask your designer, friends, and even other planners who else is out there or if they are ‘friends’ with other planners, and they’ll be candid about who they associate with and for what reason

4)      read through Wedding Essentials and scour the real bridal testimonies because more than likely you will find something about their experience with the planner that they chose, which is as good as any other referral

5)      if you’ve already done a lot of the work (like, say, contacted and made a decision on 5 suppliers: photographer, printer, designer, church, and venue) then ask for a mid-way price that is not quite full but not day-of.  Or just go ahead and pick the day of plan/package because at that point all you really need is execution

6)   i’m going to lift this piece of advice from WE mag: ask yourself if you want a dominator/controller (someone who will really manage, manage and micro-manage), a maid (someone to execute what you want and who has your interest in mind, not hers), or a partner (someone who is aware of her expertise in the field and won’t be ashamed to call you on a few things, to suggest her own input) in your planner. i want a mixture of the maid and the partner, a helper who won’t be afraid to call me out on things and to take charge when the situation calls for it, but at the same time, knows that at the end of the day, it is our vision that needs to be executed. 

7)   if you are going to be hands-on throughout the wedding, as in you want to be the one to pick the flowers, photographer, etc. – and not your mom or another family member – then you should meet up with the planner on your own first.  i think, just as with any kind of work relationship, chemistry is important, and the planner may get along with your mom, but (s)he might not get along with you. 

 

Chinky gets 4.75 out of 5 stars from me. 

Image taken by Madge Lejano

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Binyag

‘Binyag’ is Tagalog for ‘baptism,’ btw.

 Jay became Ninong (godfather) Jay of his old colleague’s first son, baby Phoenix, yesterday.  It’s pretty amazing to watch him with kids… he’s far better at handling them than I am.  No, seriously, it worries me and makes me think that I don’t have much of a maternal instinct.  Maybe it will come in one of the hormones that I’ll likely get an influx of throughout pregnancy and beyond.  Phoenix was perfectly calm in Jay’s arms, but in mine he went straight for my hair and tried to eat it.  Oh dear.

Ninong Jay with Baby Phoenix
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I likened the baby to a 60 year old stuck in the body of a 4 month old.  He was so calm and collected, despite the crosses that were dug into his forehead, the baptismal water, the heat, the noise, the passing him around like hot potatoes, that full head of hair!  What a trooper.  He sat comfortably and quietly on Jay’s lap as his ninong rubbed his little feet together, while his ate (older sister) stood nearby and tried to bite his nose or cheeks off repeatedly in true ‘gigil’ (dunno translation for that, sorry) fashion.

Baby Phoenix also met another one of Jay’s old colleague’s baby, and she’s the same age as him, so they’re a match!  Maybe in 25 years :).

Yummy cheeks
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Our (work) baby on FHM Philippines

As many of you all know, our little engine that could, Clipcast, has really evolved into a cool and current repository of videos on everything under the sun that a Pinoy would find interesting.  We try our best to up the utility value of the features and Jay and I are constantly looking for interesting people, places and things to bring to the public.  We’ve gotten some rave reviews from a few blogs and websites but I think FHM is the first print glossy to give us a shout-out, so thank you to FHM Philippines for the love. 

Clipcast has done a lot for Jay and I, not just work-wise, but also within the realm of our relationship.  If you can stand the sight of someone 24-7, at work and at play, and if you can learn to problem-solve and keep yourselves on your toes without losing your lid (wow, too many cliches in one sentence…) then I think it’s a relationship worth nurturing.  Jay and I have really grown while working together, and it’s really all through the medium of Clipcast, so we definitely thank our lucky stars for IPTV 🙂 cos it gives us our own little work playground. 

Click here to read the FHM piece online.

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