A ‘Perfect’ Valentines Gift ft. Vimer Montañez

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.

TIS THE SEASON TO SPREAD LOVE

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. -.-

REFUELING PASSION

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:

  1. Where did you grew up? Biñan, Laguna
  2. When and why did you started singing? When I joined the choir during my High Schools days
  3. Do you play any musical instruments? No
  4. Which instruments do you want to learn? Piano
  5. What was the first song you liked singing to? Later by Fra Lippo Lippi
  6. How often do you sing? Almost everyday in the shower.
  7. Is your family musical? Nope
  8. Were you influenced by old records? Which ones? Yes, casette tapes
  9. Who are your favorite musicians? Neyo, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith
  10. If I was to turn on your play list right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list? Mostly are praise & worship songs, Neyo, Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran songs
  11. Have you performed in public? At the church as a choir and once in an event
  12. My mission is to encourage individuals to go beyond their limit. Thank you for saying yes in swooping down for your passion. You turned out really great. Too good for a first-timer! How do you feel about your first music video? I’m really happy with the outcome. It’s dream come true for me to have my own music video.
  13. What have you discovered more about yourself from the experience? I discovered that I can act (a bit). 😀
  14. Are you Single? Yes
  15. Are you seeing someone now? No
  16. If there is any song that would tell about your love life now, what would it be? Love yourself. 😀
  17. Do you also write songs? Yes.
  18. Is it a love song? Are we going to hear about compositions soon? Yes, it’s a love song. A love song for the Lord. We are still working on it but I’m excited to share it soon.I hope you enjoyed this article! Thanks for reading and have a lovely Valentines day everyone! Spread love! 🙂 ❤

 

Behind The Scarlet Cape

Felicia Ow’s Scarlet Cape

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.

THE CONFESSION

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.

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At the back stage with the rest of the SFR models (Photo courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)

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.

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Here was me. I may look calm and busy but I was actually trying to make myself comfortable by helping out in folding the clothes. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)

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.

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Ms. Eileen Yap, founder of Singapore Fashion Runway, as she was briefing the models on the assigned outfits. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)
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Here was me on the queue, nervously waiting for my turn to strut on the runway. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)

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.

 

THE TURNING POINT

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 ❤

THE WOMAN BEHIND THE SCARLET CAPE

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Photo taken after the Lunav Fashion Show. She really went to show her support. (Thanks Felicia!)

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):

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Photo Grabbed from Ms. Felicia Ow’s Instagram account. (Photo Courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)

https://www.instagram.com/p/-twEG3GCe1oTyz8wrwZNl0jNHd-FZ775Hk-cI0/

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.

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Artz De Scrap’s Dark Cloud Necklace, Bracelet and Brooch Collection. (Photo by: Joseph Juban)
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Felicia Ow with Singapore local artistes (Mediacorp Tanglin Casts) wearing her handmade accessories for the runway show on SGCares Carnival. (Photo Grabbed from Felicia Ow’s Instagram account)

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.

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Models rocking Felicia Ow’s Accessory during their recent ‘Fashion For A Social Cause’ on 13 Jan 2018.  (Photo Courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)
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The recent ‘Fashion for a Social Cause’ event was also graced by PM Lee Hsien Loong, Ministers Grace Fu, Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister Desmond Lee, Minister Amy Khor and Minister Tan Chuan-Jin (Photo Courtesy of Singapore Fashion Runway)

If you wish to find out more about Artz de Scrap, check out at their Online Stores:
– http://www.etsy.com/sg-en/shop/filiksia
– http://shopee.sg/filiksia
– https://sg.carousell.com/filiksia/

Atrz De Scrap

Social Media Accounts:
– https://www.facebook.com/Artzdescrap/
– https://www.instagram.com/artzdescrap/
– https://www.pinterest.com/filiksia/artz-de-scrap/
– https://twitter.com/artzdescrap

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 Rekindled Love for Photography

Mhar Villaester is a Filipino photographer who 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.

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