Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The camera that captures life.

September 18, 2009

I remember back in high school in Ateneo De Naga, one of the popular school clubs that a lot of students signed up for was the APS (Ateneo Photography Society). The dark room of the APS was located on the first floor at the very end of Santos Hall. The dark room was equipped with an old photo enlarger and other basic photograph developing equipment and supplies. Though there were a lot of people who wanted to join the APS, only a handful of students owned cameras. Because of this, only a few actually became active members.

There were two very active APS college members back then that were handling the operations of APS. These two were Ramon Cervantes and Arnel Abiog. I forgot what brand of camera Ramon owned but I do recall that Arnel owned a Canon camera that uses a type of battery that can only be purchased in Japan or the U.S.

I constantly borrowed my father’s Pentax camera so that I could became an active member of the club. Ramon Cervantes and I became close friends and I sometimes assisted him in developing films at the APS dark room. Ramon gave me pointers on how to adjust the aperture and speed of my camera before snapping away. My very first camera was a Minolta brand and my father bought it for me because he got tired of me borrowing his Pentax camera.

During the Saturday Night Fever dance in 1978, I took some of the pictures that were published in Prism, which was the yearbook of ADENU high school class 1979. I bought a 36 exposure black and white film and brought it to the Saturday Night fever dance. After I used up the film, I went to Mr. Vernon De Los Trino and asked him if the school can purchase the photo paper that I can use to print the film on. It took about a week before Mr. V. De Los Trino handed me a stack of about 40 postcard size photo paper. After Ramon Cervantes and I developed and printed the Saturday Night dance pictures, I handed them to Mr. V. De Los Trino. I felt bad now that I did not keep a copy of the pictures because they would have been a valuable part of my photo collection.

I continued my love for the art of photography after college but I was never able to reach the same photography prowess that our fellow batch mate, Raffy Yllana, currently possess.

During my visits to the Philippines from 1997 thru 2008, I took a lot of pictures but there are a few pictures in my collection that kind of haunts me. The reason why I feel uneasy whenever I see those few pictures is because the person in the picture died a short time later after I took the picture. Who are they? Mr. Robert Lopez—died 1 month after I took his picture, Mr. Nick Acosta—Died around 8 months after I took his picture.

There are also those who died shortly after I spoke to them over the phone or saw them in Naga. Edwin Luntok—Spoke to him last on February 14, 2008 and he died February 2009. Porfirio “Braggy” Bragais—Saw him in Elias Angeles Street February 2008 and he died March 2009. Reynaldo “Jabords” Borja—Spoke to him over the phone February 2005 and he died April 2005. Fr. Jack Phelan SJ—I spoke to him over the phone back in 2004 and he died in November 2005.

When I went to the Philippines back in February 2008, I was a bit uneasy in taking pictures of people because of the fear that they too might passed away shortly after I take their pictures. When I visited Attorney Nelson Paraiso, Mr. Vernon De Los Trino, Mr. Greg Abonal, Mr. Jovie De Los Trino, Mr. Diggs Villabroza, Fr. Juan Bonafe SJ and Mr. Obias, I warned all of them about the seemingly frightful reputation of my camera. I told them that my camera does not only take pictures.....It also can take the life of the subject in the picture. All of them dismissed the passing away of the previous subjects of the picture as mere coincidence.

Is it really a coincidence? Gusto mong magpa-kodak?

5 Comments:

Anonymous susing said...

Bakong totoo yan! I remember the last time you took pictures on me when Im with your brother Glenn, at Avenue Square, and there are several times you took pictures of me, whenever we meet here in Naga, as you keep on telling me na Gwapo ako, kaya gusto mo akong kodakan. So why nothing happens to me, why am I still alive and kicking? Ok,if you have fears using your camera, then give it to me, ta baka maisalya ta pa yan sa halangkaw na presyo,sayang man, madagdagan lamang ang pondo kan batch ta...

3:45 AM  
Anonymous susing said...

Bakong totoo yan! I remember the last time you took pictures on me when Im with your brother Glenn, at Avenue Square, and there are several times you took pictures of me, whenever we meet here in Naga, as you keep on telling me na Gwapo ako, kaya gusto mo akong kodakan. So why nothing happens to me, why am I still alive and kicking? Ok,if you have fears using your camera, then give it to me, ta baka maisalya ta pa yan sa halangkaw na presyo,sayang man, madagdagan lamang ang pondo kan batch ta...

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susing,

Maurag ka man padi….pig iinteresan mo man ang camera ko. Natitigbak lang idtong mga subject kang camera ko kapag kinaag ko ang speed and aperture setting sa “View to a kill”.

Kung itatao ko saimo ang camera ko, tibaad ipabakal mo sa mga politicians dyan para picture-ran ninda idtong mga kalaban ninda.

Ivan

3:18 PM  
Blogger mon said...

Thanks for writing about those days when we are still "learning" about life through the lens of the camera. I am cherishing those times of our creative moments capturing still life and working in the darkroom. Thanks for mentioning me.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous jovy escalante said...

hi sir, batch 88 po ako sa ateneo de naga, and mr. lopez was our class advisor. sadly 88 was also the year he left ateneo de naga. can you share your picture of him and also can you filll me in on what happened to mr. lopez after he left aden. i wonder where he teached or worked and stayed. thanks a lot for your help. i totally respect the man who i considered the most dedicated mentor i have seen not that the others were not dedicated. i remembers lookking at his cheap shoes with the small finger of his foot protruding already thru the holes in his shoes. also he taught economics/history straight from memory without carrying a textbook or guide. i am in awe of the man. thanks if you could tell me about him and his years after ateneo de naga. tnx. tnx a lot sir.

6:01 AM  

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