CAPTURED by Arlyn dela Cruz

The event, from the eyes of one promising and talented photographer:KEVIN TATCO

The photos taken on this block are properly labeled as photos by Kevin Christopher C. Tatco.

Kevin is the son of my friend, Marie, a friend of my other friend, introduced to me at a time when they felt they needed to talk to someone like me.

The bond between us was instant. We still have to learn a lot about each others lives but at the rate we are going and after going through that episode in her friend's life that linked us both, I can say pretty well that this friendship is that type that is for keeps.
Marie had been texting me about the photography works of her son Kevin and I must confess I did not really pay attention to the sites she kept on sending me via SMS, not until she sent me the pictures Kevin took last April 28, 2009 at the Manila Polo Club.--Whooa!! we have a raw and very promising talent here.

Now I know why Marie is a huge fan of her own son. Of course all mothers are---fans of their own kids---but it's extra special when you really know that your child's talent has the markings of greatness that is just waiting to be explored to the fullest.

Way to go Kevin. Now I am a fan too just like your mom!

See Kevin's photography:
Kevin Christopher C. Tatco
A.B. Political Science, Ateneo De Manila University


Photos from this block are by my good friend Chito Vecina, a human interest, travel, sports and wedding photographer and one of the finest and accomplished photojournalists from the Philippines.

Actually his subjects are just about anything.

Chito and I go along way, friends in this industry through thick and thin. Our friendship dates back from the time of the really rigorous and nerve wrecking coverage of war and conflict torn Muslim Mindanao back in the early 90s.

It was Chito who persuaded me to try wedding reportage. I did try for some time but decided to stop altogether. While I love weddings, it is something that is not really my cup of tea.

Pang-giyera nga siguro ako! Ha-ha!

Chito's presence during the 7th year celebration of my release as a hostage held last 28 April 2009 made the event extra special. I wish our other friends were also present to share that moment with me and my kids and of course senator Loren Legarda. Yes---I am referring to you guys, Boy Cabrido, Nick Sagmit, Egay Montana, Erick De Castro, Nico Sepe, and senor Val Rodriguez.

Chito TY ha! I owe you! (end)

The gift of motherhood....

It was a story of extremes. A story of ones lost and of ones gain. 

Loren Legarda, senator and former journalist was pregnant in 2002 but had a miscarriage. This happened during the period when journalist and fellow colleague from their days with ABS-CBN was abducted by a paramilitary group composed of Tausugs in barangay Tandiong in Indanan, Sulu. A colleague needed help.

But more than extending a hand to a colleague in a life-treatening ordeal, Legarda made a decision to help because she understood one basic thing about the situation: a mother has to be reunited with her kids.

“I had just suffered a miscarriage then,” Legarda recalled, “but I felt it was my Christian duty to help Arlyn.”

“We realized that as my unborn child’s life was lost, it was redeemed by the release of Arlyn who has two girls of her own, with the youngest being only two years old when Dela Cruz was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf, in the process, she got her chance back to be a mother once again," the lady senator said during an informal and intimate celebration of Arlyn's release as a hostage at the Manila Polo Club in Makati.

Exactly 7 years ago on April 27, 2002, Arlyn dashed towards freedom, running as fast as she could at the Jolo Airport and into the arms of Legarda and in a matter of minutes, towards the private King Air Lear Jet that took them from Jolo to Zamboanga, then from Zamboanga to Manila.

Seven years have passed and while it feels as if it only happened yesterday, Arlyn's life has never been better. Many times she would tell friends and share in formal and informal interviews that life now is more meaningful, each day happier, no room for complaint, inspite of the many odds and obstacles along the way.

"After that experience, I see life from a different perspective, I live each day at a time, making sure, each day is my best, that I don't fail to say I love you to those I love, my kids most specially, for really, we never know when will we breath our last. Sabi nga, ang buhay ay parang singaw," Arlyn shares.

Below are pictures taken during the luncheon at the Manila Polo Club last April 28, 2009, Tuesday:

Love that could only come from a mother like Ninang Cherry Cobarrubias

Posted below is Katrina Greta's letter to Ninang Cherry. We had an early celebration of the 7th year anniversary of my release last April 13, over coffee and bread at the Shangri'la Mall in Mandaluyong:

April 14, 2009

Dear Ninang,

You are our mom's godmother but we also call you Ninang, just like everyone else.

It seems that you are really born to be another person's Ninang, a second mother, who only gives one kind of love, one that is true and unconditional.

Thank you for all that you've done for us. I remember those times when we were just little kids, me and my sister, not knowing what to do, not knowing what happened and why, you were there to help us. You were the one who helped us in freeing our MOM by negotiating with her captors.Thank you mostly for that.

We would never have gained our mom back without your support and help. And we know that even after that episode in our lives, you are still helping us in different ways, motherly ways mostly.

My MOM always tells us, my sister and I, to love and honor you. She would always tell us what you did for her, it was important for her to tell that story to us, for us not to forget, she says. And I know we will never forget. Never!!!!!!

I also remember that when Nica and I were still very little, you gave us gifts for every occasion.
I know that those gifts were not just gifts, but symbols of our love and concern for us, especially for our mother.You went all the way to help her. To get her back. And all that effort did not go to waste. You succeeded in bringing us back our mother, your "inaanak" and your loyal friend.

God the Father guided your efforts for it was truly selfless.

I can never fully express my gratitude...words may seem enough for now but in our hearts, the respect and love will forever keep a very special place only reserve for you.

God answered our prayers and you were part of that answered prayer for only a loving and devoted friend like you would have done something like that for our MOM.

We love you!!!!!!!!!!

Kisses and hugs from me and Nica.


Katrina Greta


Images from CAPIZ:
One day visit, 26 November 2008

KALMADONG KARAGATAN: Walang nagbabadyang sama ng lagay ng panahon, payapa ang dakong ito ng karagatan, kinatigan ng matikas na sinag ng araw, kay sarap magtampisaw, kay sarap damhin ng alon sa iyong mga paa.

SUKATAN: Sinusukat ng ilang taga-National Historial Commission at mga tauhan ng DENR ang kuwebang ito na kilalagyan ng natural Spring na ito sa Capiz. Sabi sa amin ng gumagawa ng pagsusukat, ito raw ay bahagi ng proseso ng paka-klasipika ng mga kuweba sa Pilipinas.

KASIPAGAN SA KANAYUNAN: Bago pa sumikat ang haring araw, nakatayo na sila, inihahanay na nang masinsin ang mga isdang ito, "tuyo" kung tawagin ng mga Tagalog, "bulad" naman sa mga Bisaya.

PAARALAN SA KANAYUNAN: Iisang guro lamang ang punong-abala sa paaralang ito na aming nasumpungan na nakaabang sa daan, naghahanda sa pagsalubong sa isang importanteng bisita.

TSINELAS: Wala kaming nakitang naka-sapatos sa mga mag-aaral sa dakong ito ng Capiz, halos malapit na sa boundary patungong Iloilo. Isa sa mga batang ito, maaaring maging alkalde, gobernador, kongresista kaya ng kanilang lugar. Sa kanyang pagbabalik-tanaw, sasagi at sasagi ang mga panahong, ang pinakaimportanteng suot ng kanyang paa ay isang pares na tsinelas.

LAKAD PARA SA KINABUKASAN: Psst! bata, sa susunod na maisip mong luma na ang sapatos mo at kailangan mo na ng bagong pares, sana'y masumpungan mo ang larawang ito, sila, maligaya na sa tsinelas, kayamanan na ang pumasok sa paaralan na nakatsinelas.

CAST PICTORIAL & First Press Conference:

21 November 2008

The date was set: November 18 and many from the cast came.

Others were not able to make it because of shooting schedules and prior commitments.

Actually, it was not really a grand press conference, just a mini-press preview of some of the key scenes in the movie PUNTOD intended for the cast to see but still it was well attended by the entertainment press, mostly those writing stories and columns for tabloids. Our heartfelt thanks to the members of the entertainment media, especially the members of the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC).

Below are some of the pictures taken by photographer Sonny Espiritu who agreed to do this photo-shoot with us despite the short notice. "Sonny, bok, salamat!" (end)

Ombudsman vs. Gov. Enrique "TET" Garcia

Photos by Edwin Collantes

UNITED NATIONS Celebration at Diliman Preparatory School, Quezon City, October 14, 2008:

Learning English at Diliman Preparatory School: Former senator Anna Dominique "Nikky" Coseteng shows Central Police District Director Sr. Superintendent Magtanggol Gatdula the English Laboratory Class at DPS, saying what they offer at DPS is the first in the country. Nowadays, the former fearless lady senator tackles the role of an educator with gusto, reporting to DPS almost everyday, to see to it that the school's standards are at par if not better compated with other private schools, especially in the Quezon City area. (Photo taken last 10 October 2008)

Ang bukas ay para sa kanila...

6 October 2008

Minsan, kung di mo alam kung ano ang wala sa iyo, kung ano ang kulang, kung ano ang dapat,hindi na ka naghahanap.

Minsan, kung ano ang kinagisnan mo, kung ano ang narinig mo, lalo na't nakita mo, akala mo yun na talaga ang tama.

Minsan, gusto rin nilang mangarap, maniwalang may tutulong sa kanila, mababago ang kalagayan ng kanilang buhay, ngunit, minsan, alam nilang ang kapalit nito ay kabiguan--lalo pang kabiguan.

Ilan lamang sila sa mga nakilala namin sa Vitas, Tondo.

Sila ang mukha ng kahirapan, sabi nga.

Pero alam ninyo ba na sa mga mukhang ito ay nakasumpong kami ng isang nandudumilat na katotohanan.

Isang katotohanang maaaring mahirap tanggapin o paniwalaan. Na masaya sila, na alam nilang ito na ang buhay nila. Na mas alam nila kung paano mabuhay sa ngayon, at mas alam nila ang pangako ng salitang pag-asa.

(Teksto at mga larawang kuha ni Arlyn dela Cruz)

Behind the scenes of PUNTOD (Baby's Tomb) Record 6-Shooting Days in August-September of 2008

Recreation Scenes for Stalking Jihad, May 2007, Subic Bay Freeport, Olongapo City

Images from Eastern Samar, taken May 17-19, 2008, photos by Arlyn dela Cruz

Other lives around by Edwin Collantes