a documented JOURNEY of a couple of artists- manila, philippines || destination photographer

i’ve posted a blog! hehehe… i haven’t done much photography in the last few weeks except for my role at GENTLE HANDS, as their media go-to chick. i have had the honour of doing some precious “first” portraits of some of our new rescued babies. this has been very satisfying to me; here i am able to give to these little ones’ future forever families, newborn portraits of their precious ones they didn’t see at this age. wow. i stand in that WOW moment lots, going, “god, you sent me here to do this..i am humbled”. there are so very many moments as i am behind my camera, with tears in my eyes and holidng myself together. even yesterday i had the opportunity to photograph a little girl receiving a book from her forever mom, whom she has only seen photos of. the cool thing about this book was that the mom could record her voice for each page..so she was reading the book to her daughter from afar. so yes..i was an ABSOLUTE mess photographing those as her face lit up and she gasped and put her hand to her mouth and smiled so very big. thinking about it as i type, i choke up. :) what a wonderful “job” i have. yes, different from my job as a wedding and lifestyle photographer..but still, so rewarding.

there are seasons, you know, in life. for me i have dedicated the last 4 years in vancouver and the last, almost 8, years as a wedding photographer. i love photographing LOVE. there is something truly remarkable about the human relationship and capturing it and all of it’s beauty and emotions. i know that i will do weddings again..maybe sooner than later..but the last few weeks have been focussed on a “new” part of my passion - giving to those who have little or nothing to give back. i cannot really describe the feeling when you give…and when it’s to someone who you know that can never give back - what an incredible joy and humbling experience that is. i am so blessed every day when i go to Gentle Hands and see the little faces greet me at the door, “Ate Trace!! Hello!”…as i look in their eyes i see the hope they are holding onto, that one day, THEIR forever family will come for them. *sigh* this is part of my world right now.

another part of that i love about my job is documenting. i have toyed lots about doing more documentary type work. humanitarian stuff. arts stuff. culture stuff. one time a long time ago, i remember someone saying to a family member something like , “ya trace is the documentor in the family”. it’s true! :)

so when the opportunity to document one of the philippines most sought-after and talented tattoo artists, i was thrilled! ryan saltiga of YANNICKS tattoo shop in boracay is a really cool guy. so down to earth. so real. so honest. so talented. jonathan had his tattoo done in his shop last oct 2009. it turns out ryan was going to be in manila this week and he and j talked about a new piece for jonathan. ryan mentioned he was also in town doing a piece for a recording artist. when jonathan told me who it was, i was like, shut up. but i wasn’t surprised. manny paquio, the world champion boxer from the philippines, has ryan do his tattoo work too. without much thought i said to j, “hey tell ryan, i could totally do a mini documentary of him working on this guy..how cool would it be for ryan to have some cool pics of this?” and didn’t think much more about it.

until jonathan said to me, “so babe, ryan said it’s a go for you to go shoot him tattooing arnel pineda.”

what?????? arnel pineda? are you kidding me? arnel pineda, the lead singer of the classic rock band JOURNEY?? this would be so cool! and what an honour to photograph TWO really amazing guys!

it wasn’t until i was getting my things ready that it hit me. i never get star-struck. to me, “celebrities” are humans just like me and you too.. they just have a big spotlight on them all the time. :) but i will admit, i was a little nervous. :)

i had nothing to be nervous about though. with ryan as cool and chill as he is, and arnel so warm and welcoming, and me just “doing my job”, it was a really cool experience. it was awesome to see ryan in his element; totally focussed and creating. and it was realy cool to see arnel, getting tattooed, with his little guy on his knee playing with the ipad. no big deal. it made me a little more comforted with the idea of getting my tattoo this century. ;)

when i got home and was uploading the images from the night, i googled arnel’s foundation that ryan told me about. ARNEL PINEDA FOUNDATION is incredible. as i looked at it, i was again struck with a “wow” moment…here is arnel, a world-wide celebrity, making a difference in the lives of street children all over manila…here was this photographer from canada, volunteering at a foundation called Gentle Hands who works with children in manila as well. wow. two totally different worlds, arnel and i…yet hearts to see the children of this city looked after.

it doesn’t matter WHO you are in this world. you CAN make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than yourself.it doesn’t matter where you come from, how you grew up, what your life looked or looks like..you can be the change this world needs.

so thank you ryan…thank you for allowing me to document you “in action”..you are a truly remarkable artist and genuine person. so blessed to know you… and thank you arnel…for allowing me into your home to document ryan. and for not only making great music..but for making a difference in the kids in our city. you rock. :)

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for more photos, check out my facebook album - “a documented JOURNEY of a couple of artists”


Ate Trace, this is SOOOO cool. What an experience it must have been! I love the fact that no matter how big a star Arnel is, he still has a heart for children in his city and a heart to make a difference. I want to be same... i don't want to be just another clothing company but a clothing company that cares and makes a difference. You are both an inspiration! Love you ate!
Rina Fajardo-Molenderas
OMG! You're going to greater heights Trace :-) You have a good heart that's why doors are opening for you. Capture the Filipinos hearts!
What a great write-up! Thank you for your blog and for sharing your pictures. I posted some parts on Arnel's website www.arnelpinedarocks.com
galing naman!!! That is so cool...I want to make a difference too. You are truly amazing. We miss you guys

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