Monday, October 24, 2011

Bohol Notebook 3: How we got the cover shot

As soon as we stepped inside Loboc Church, I told Tonette (Jacinto), our photographer: How about taking an upward shot of the kids against that ceiling?

She liked the idea and began looking around for a good spot, very discreetly as a wedding was about to start. We had to wait for the ceremony to end, but in the meantime, the affair was fascinating to watch.

The couple being wed looked very young--a Filipina and a Korean. The girl's parents and kin were out in full force, filling more than half of the church. The Korean boy, meanwhile, had only himself and three buddies with him. While the groom was in suit and tie, his friends were in tees and slacks, but one of them tried to slip into a barong without bothering to remove his collared blue shirt--a sight I found rather charming.

Seeing the groom by his lonesome got me thinking: Where are his folks? Perhaps they didn't like the girl? Maybe she got, uh, knocked up, hence a rushed wedding? Or the boy was so insanely in love that he had to marry her with only his fellow tourist buddies (they looked the part) in tow? In any case, if there was any more proof that a Filipino-Korean cross-pollination was in full swing, with many of the young of that country now heading towards these shores and spending a couple or more of their formative years marinating in--in this case, assimilating into--our culture, this was it. I made sure to cheer the newlyweds on by joining the lusty applause after the requisite kiss.

Too bad the Loboc Children's Choir wasn't around to sing for them. The kids were booked for another engagement in a neighboring town, so while the wedding was going on, they rehearsed their repertoire at a nearby classroom. Afterwards, the wedding done and the church cleared of its congregation, we had the place to ourselves to take photos of, and pose five to eight kids of the choir in various places--before the intricate retablos, on the gilded pulpit, against those festive painted ceilings. Tonette was a meticulous worker, and it was hot inside the church, but the children, bless them, never lost their smiles in shot after shot.

My photo idea was about capturing the province's two main treasures, its people and its cultural heritage, in one image. It's now the cover of the latest issue of Susan Calo Medina's Travel Time, The Magazine (which also has my dispatch about Bohol's trailblazing tourism smorgasbord as main story). How did Tonette get the shot? Literally, on her back:

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