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

4) The Heartbeat of Iloilo

January 27, 2013: Fourteen years after I last covered the Dinagyang Festival, I got the chance to see it one more time. Taken from my article on Smile Magazine:

 “The warriors groove in unison to the mighty drumbeats. They shake and they bake - one step to the left, one step to the right, they raise their shields and brandish their spears. But all this is just a warm-up, for as the tom-toms pound out a more frenzied rhythm the atis stretch their hands outward to do their own version of.... bump n’ grind! The crowd roars out its approval. I howl out mine. “


“Thirteen tribes later my ears are numb from all the merry mayhem that had just occurred. As I think about this weekend I realize that Dinagyang is more than just a display of mindless revelry. To me it now represents the unique character of the Ilonggo people - artistic, fun loving, deeply religious and sometimes crazy. This was really a weekend to remember. When next year comes, you’ll see me back in Iloilo. “

“No, I won’t be watching the revelers. I’ll be one of them!”

 Read the rest of this story here.

3)The River Wild

August 5, 2013: On assignment for Smile Magazine:

“You've saved the best for your last day in Cagayan de Oro. Rise and shine early and get ready for an action-packed morning. You are again heading to the boonies to try out this region's signature attraction – white water rafting. “



“The course takes you through a 12-kilometer stretch dotted with over a dozen class II and III rapids (class I is easy, class 6 is suicidal). Each gurgling, foaming obstacle has its own challenges; Makabundol Rapids has a rock wall on one side that needs to be paddled against, while The Rodeo is so chaotic you'll have to hold on to stay aboard. And don't even think about chatting up your guide when you tackle the “I'm Busy” Rapids. There's also The Twister, so named because you all have to paddle through it standing up – making everyone look like dancers on a boat!”

“By the end of it all (that's a good 4 hours later), you'll be tired and wet – and yes, once again exhilarated by this adrenaline-pumping excursion. Not many weekends can compare to the one you just had. A weekend in Cagayan de Oro, you realize, is never enough.”

To find out what else a weekend in Cagayan de Oro can bring, take a look at my article on the CDO Gold Rush.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

A young boxer trains at the PacMan's old school, the Golingan Gym in General Santos City.


The sign on the right reads as follows:


The 10 Qualities of a Good Boxer


1. Prayerful

2. Brave

3. Fast

4. Disciplined

5. Hardworking

6. Good

7. Obedient

8. Humble

9. Helpful

10. Cares for his fellowmen


Not surprisingly, Pacquiao these words have been used to describe Manny Pacquiao.





Did a story on the man and his hometown, back in 2010. Check it out in the online version of Smile Magazine.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Yup, that's the April 2013 issue of Smile Magazine, cover shot by yours truly:




Photographer: Lester Ledesma

Art Director: Anthony Gonzales

Model: Inna Gorelli

Stylist: Jof Sering

Make-up: Elaine Wong


Check out this lovely mag online at

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

The recently-concluded PhotoTreks: Bali was our best PhotoTrek yet, with 15 participants of all ages and skill levels joining our 3-day shootfest. Between watching out for my posse and making sure the tour runs smoothly, I managed to squeeze off some keepers:


Baturiti, en route to Jatiluwih:



Preparing for a temple festival, Baturiti:



The cherry picker kid:


Take the umbrella. No, you take it!:


Waiting for the rain to stop at Pura Besakih:

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

 #10) The World at 200mph


November 6, Singapore: You know it the moment you hear the throaty roar of its V10 engine. And you feel it when the driver puts the pedal to the metal, sending the Lamborghini Gallardo from zero to sixty in just over three seconds. Your neck snaps backward, your head struggles to stay vertical against the strong momentum. Now I'm not a car guy and I'm certainly no gearhead, but sitting atop such mechanized muscle is a truly exciting power trip. The chick magnet styling, the James Bond-esque appeal, that feeling of superiority that comes from knowing you can easily leave anybody - anybody - in a cloud of dust and petrol fumes. The speedometer reads over 200mph, and physics and adrenaline conspire to give you that deliciously giddy feeling. And when its finally over you are breathless and spent. Your head is floating and your heart is pounding. And you want to do it again. And again. And again. Yes, it's almost like sex.



#9) The Best Siesta. Ever.


December 2, Philippines: I was tired from a hectic schedule and not-so-fresh from an overnight flight. But thankfully this was downtime and the Smile team was on location. And if the location was as lovely as this - Lilom, a private resort on the shore of Mabini, Batangas - then there was only one thing to do while waiting for the best light.


This I did very well, sprawled on a bamboo balcony facing the sea. The late November weather was delectably cool. Coconut leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze. Roosters crowed and wind chimes sang. My eyes may have been shut but I took it all in, breathing fresh air and dreaming - no, living! - the classic tropical paradise dream. I rose from slumber with orange sunlight in my face, and facing a view so pretty I couldn't wait to get back to work. Those were sixty minutes well spent.


Oh, and our cover looked great - check out the January issue of Smile!



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