This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Decided to skip flying home to the Philippines to cover this year's Holy Week celebrations. Hey, even photographers have to rest....


But boy did I miss the buzz of activity - the sweat, the pain, the murmur of prayers, the blood splatters, the carrozas, the via crucis, the senakulo, the pagpapako. Not often do you get to experience that deeply religious vibe hanging so thickly in the air.

Like Waisak day in Thailand, or Ramadan in Indonesia, or Thaipusam in Malaysia, the semana santa in the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's most intense religious occasions.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Can't believe I haven't updated my blog for this long. Now that work has settled down a bit, I can sit down and ponder the year that was. Yeah I know its a bit late, but experiences like these deserve to be told :)

So here's my best of 2010:


There are few things as moving as an F-16 on full afterburners making a low pass over the ground. It rattles your ears and numbs your brain - and that's just the sound you're hearing. You look up and see that familiar silhouette twisting and turning amongst the clouds. It's a thing of beauty; a thing of power. That airshow turned me into a kid again, and I went home dreaming of sitting in that cockpit - and blowing things up :P



Sunrise in Thailand is always met by a legion of Buddhist monks begging for alms - its their way of sustaining themselves after vowing to live a life of poverty. Though I have photographed this tradition many times before, this silent line of bareheaded, orange-robed individuals never fails to fascinate me. In the city of Sukhothai, in Thailand's central plains, I woke up early in the morning to capture the serenity, the spirituality, the timelessness of the pindacara ritual.



Sure, the spectacle of thousands of men clawing their way through a crowd to touch a sacred statue is indeed a joy to photograph. In fact, shutterbugs throughout Manila all flock to Quiapo every 9th of January to capture this bizarre event. To the older photographers, however, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is more than just a photo-op. It's a reunion of sorts, where bros from the same circle get to meet and talk shop and catch up with each other.


Usually this happens on some high-up position overlooking the procession route - this year it was the waiting shed at the mouth of Quezon Bridge. While waiting for the Nazareno to arrive, I shot the breeze with photographers Veejay VIllafranca, Luis Liwanag and Jake Versoza. Across the road was Chito Cleofas and George Tapan, among others.

Photographer Val Rodriguez must have been up there too, because the next day, he put us all on the front page of The Philippine Star


These are the dancing stars of that viral video that swept through the internet last year.


The may be all good-looking, but none of them were models. Yet they projected like pros, and they exuded the confidence of movie stars. And none of them showed any prima-donna attitudes during our Cebu Smile Magazine cover shoot, which we did in Manila with photographers Nikolai and Caroline. The 10-hour shoot was grueling, but they breezed through it with bright smiles and uncanny stamina - even after dancing their now-famous "safety dance" a dozen times over on an airplane reserved just for us.

Click here to see the result of that shoot.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
... is to find one's picture in today's paper - literally!


Val Rodriguez, if you're reading this - I owe you a beer! :)




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