Go go Power/Rangers!

If you haven’t seen it yet, a few days ago, a fan-made 14-minute video of the 90s’ “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” rebooted as a darker, more realistic and violent “Power/Rangers” directed by Joseph Kahn and produced by Adi Shankar, was making the rounds in social media, catching everyone’s childhood fancy, targeting of course the 90s kids who are now adults, but getting the ire of Saban Brands as well, the company that owns the franchise, who asked the video to be pulled from Youtube and Vimeo, for copyright claims. But it’s been settled with the inclusion of a disclaimer in the short film, it being unofficial, “unauthorized and hardcore” in a bootleg universe, so enjoy and see your childhood destroyed, that is if you’re a Power Rangers fan. How I wish they can do the same for Thunder Cats.

It’s March Madness and I’m excited!

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Kumusta? It’s been very busy for me for the first two months of 2015. I’m not complaining though, it’s just that sometimes the tricky balancing act between having to keep work equally productive and enjoyable without affecting or neglecting personal life or family, can get too overwhelming. And I guess I’m not the only one getting almost burned out–I’ve been asked several times how I manage to overcome the madness of the daily grind and stay positive amidst circumstances that seem to encourage negativity or simply push you to quit–that got me asking myself do I even have an answer? I have more questions actually. And I have no formula, except that I get excited how things will turn out positively, even if it doesn’t come out exactly that way all the time.

But I’m thankful that I’m surrounded with loved ones who inspire me to be at my best and support me even if I fail miserably, friends who shower my every day with good vibes, and lucky that I’m in the company of individuals who seem bullies at first impression but are actually just exuding with confidence, sometimes to a fault, but cheerfully jovial and reliably hardworking. There’s really no secret, just be in the circle of people who’ll help you keep at it, whatever you’re busy with.

So I won’t even bother worrying about the busier March, in fact, I’m excited about the prospects of the new month I’m calling it March Madness. I’ll be even busier but that’s fine, it’s not as if I didn’t sign up to this, I did and I’m going to work even harder this time. I’d count my blessings, and while we can never put a halt to worrisome problems, some of which will seem to finally bring us down, realize that you’re always blessed and that there’s always something to be thankful for, huge or small.

#CreateShareInspire #AnnexXIGersManila

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IGersManila Philippines, in partnership with SM North EDSA, recently held an Instagram’ing 101 workshop focused on using Instagram (and phoneography in general) to #CreateShareInspire, kicking off the first day of the #ANNEXxIGERSMANILA exhibit as well, showcasing the finalists and winning entries of #KalyePH2014 black and white street photography contest, which runs until 01-February-2015 at the 4th floor activity area of SM City North EDSA Annex. This will be our first major event for 2015.

Sharing the stage with my fellow @IGersManila moderators Petim Maminta and Ed Calaycay, I took charge of “Create” and talked about how it’s become easy and fun to turn seemingly ordinary photo and video snapshots into amazingly beautiful visual art that’s Filterrific and stand out from the grid, using only your mobile device, a set of filter and editing apps, limited only to one’s creativity and imagination.

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Because we were only allotted 2 hours for the program, aside from sharing a few tips for making mobile photography (and videography) easily enjoyable, I went straight to discussing essential Instagram’ing apps that I (and most IGers I know) actually use, these are free and available for both iOS and Android devices, starting off with everyone’s favorite VSCOcam, then Phonto for putting text on photos, the swipe-easy Snapseed next, and the layer-artsy-doodle-friendly Studio app, each demoed with the help of our collaborators #TheColl members @nagaryan, @iamkebok, @ianaperalta, and @breinmars. In between sessions, our audience were serenaded by artists from SoundCloud Philippines. Our Instagram’ing 101 workshop was hosted by @ivanborlongan and @gelaramirez13.

Big thanks to the marketing team at SM North EDSA for reaching out to our community and to #TheColl members who were there to support and make sure everything’s smooth-flowing. as well as snap photos of the event, some of which are included in the photo collages below:

If you’re near the area, please do visit our #ANNEXxIGERSMANILA Exhibit until 01-February-2015 at the 4th floor activity area of SM North EDSA Annex. See you there!

IGersManila supports #UnicefPH #RightsOfChildren

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UNICEF Philippines is celebrating its 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this November and recently, they reached out to us at IGersManila Philippines to help in spreading awareness of their #UnicefPH #RightsOfChildren campaign in Instagram, which of course we proudly accepted.

To join, you are to choose one or any of the nine (9) children’s right/s that you are most passionate about, which you can download from www.unicef.ph and print like a placard, or show it on your mobile device, then post a photo of yourself on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram explaining why that right is important for you, hash-tagging your post with #UnicefPH and #RightsOfChildren.

While we were happy to oblige to support this social project, we wanted to give it our own twist, so we asked our collaborating team of fellow Instagram’ers (via #TheShift using the Line app) to share ideas on how we can help spread awareness, and everyone agreed to go beyond the selfie–we thought it’d be cool to do a pass-me-the-sign, 15-second video chain challenge, which we started with this post by @IGersManila:

But if you’d rather post a photo, it’s of course perfectly OK, as originally set out by UNICEF Philippines. Check out my Instagram post:

A photo posted by Carl Lozano (@cclozano) on

So what are you waiting for, join us in spreading awareness of #UnicefPH #RightsOfChildren. Here’s the caption you can use:

I’m @yourusername joining #IGersManila in supporting the #RightsOfChildren.

Now I am tagging @friend1 @friend2 @friend3 @friend4 to show support for #UnicefPH #RightsOfChildren #IGersManila #IGersPhilippines.

Visit www.unicef.ph and download a children’s right that you are most passionate about. Take a video or selfie with the sign, tag @unicefphils and post it in Instagram, and ask your friends and loved ones to do the same. #ktgvr

SOH

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Proud parent here. My youngest son, Kirk Marcus, is the lead guitarist for the band endeared with the name “Sound of Heaven” or simply SOH, which he formed together with his best friend Luigi (guitars), tagged along Kurt (bass), Zaraji (drums), and Leila (vocals) later, all Grade 8, to join this year’s Battle of the Bands at Mater Carmeli School of Novaliches. And the family’s so proud that the band made it to the finals. As a kid I always dreamed of becoming a rockstar (until theater acting got the better of me back in college), I sure hope Marcus gets to fulfill his.

The wife and Luigi’s mom’s been busy acting the band manager part, from scheduling studio practices and hiring a coach, to shortlisting songs and picking outfits. I helped out with the photoshoot and did SOH’s tarpaulin, which would’ve won the best band tarp (turned out to be bigger than most on display at the school lobby), if there ever will be one, hahaha. While they didn’t win (actually the kids didn’t really want to win because they want to qualify to join again next year) SOH surely has won our hearts with the rawness of their music, resonating the pure, youthful vibes uniquely theirs!

Here are the videos of their performances, captured with an iPhone 5s and edited with iMovie for iOS.

The bigger iPhones are here!

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It’s become an annual gadgetry watchdog of sorts, even for Instagram’ers who are on the lookout to upgrade and improve their phoneography. And when Apple officially announced the much-rumored and highly-praised iPhone 6 big duo, its fastest iPhone roll-out ever, it’s only a matter of weeks before these huge iPhone-siblings are expected to get locally introduced, just in time for the snap-shooting-fest of the holiday season. The new iPhones are both equipped with the Retina HD touchscreen display, now with enhanced iSight camera featuring Focus Pixels for faster autofocus, enabling quick photo and video snapping.

As expected Globe Telecom, my network of choice and the first to bring the iPhone here in the Philippines, has already put up its iPhone 6 page at http://www.globe.com.ph/iphone6 where you can register your interest for getting either the 4.7 iPhone6 or the bigger 5.5 iPhone 6 Plus. Smart subscribers need not worry, as it has likewise posted its own page at http://www1.smart.com.ph/pages/iphone6.

If my guess is right, we should be snapping strikingly color-rich photos and steadier videos with the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus by November 2014, until then, we all know what we’re saving up our Christmas bonuses for.

UPDATE:

Pre-order for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starts November 7 while the official local release will be on November 14 for both Globe and Smart.

Spare Uber please

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I have a car but I don’t drive. And when my driver went on emergency leave for over two weeks, it’s as if I was left with no choice but to commute to Makati daily for work. I live in North Caloocan, way past Fairview and almost bordering San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, that translates to about 3 hours of exhausting commute to and fro. While no cab will agree to take me straight to Makati, why I hop on an aircon bus until I reach a “taxi-friendly” spot, I was glad to have discovered Uber Manila through a friend’s tweet. Eager to try out the ride-sharing service, I downloaded the Uber app, and with the sign up credit of 300 pesos, excitedly requested my first ride. And in less than 5 minutes, I was fetched by a Ford Everest (UberBlack) that got me to my appointment ahead even in rush hour and then a Toyota Vios (UberX) on a sleepy drive to Eastwood City. This cash-less, hassle-free riding experience got me addicted to Uber. Uber is commuting in stylish comfort–there’s this excitement of having to wait or guess what car’s picking you up or riding on a different car every request–and of course the convenience of credit card payment. Compared to taxi apps, Uber turns out to be even more reasonably priced, tipping is not even required. If only Uber’s available where I live, I’d give up my car and not ride a taxi ever again. But then it’s quite understandable that Uber now only serves select areas.

To think that this is not exactly a new service, which has been quietly introduced here almost a year ago, enjoyed by credit-card-toting commuters, even car owners like me, who knew of the service by word of mouth or social media, with the originating company continuing to make headlines in countries that are traditionally taxi-riding, such as ours the Philippines. And last Thursday, social media was abuzz by news of Uber Manila being shut down, as its partner car fell in the first sting operation conducted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday October 22. [Rappler]

And by Friday, a normally difficult day for commuting, what with the rush hour traffic affecting almost all key business areas in the metro, I was getting worried that I’d be forced to hail a cab, as I was having a hard time requesting an Uber car from afternoon until evening and I couldn’t help but think or suspect that the service must have been suspended, or worst shut down.

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But before 9:00pm clocked in, I was able to catch a Vios, that would’ve arrived at my office in 15 minutes, but got lost as our building’s not that easy to find at night, yet it didn’t bother me because the driver has been calling me for directions (who by the way spoke very good and straight English) and was apologizing for the delay. I was just relieved that Uber got stung but not dead.

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It was a long ride to Quezon City but my driver and I forgot the time and the traffic having discussed his company’s legal technicality problems with LTFRB. I agree when he said Uber Manila’s here to stay as it addresses or eases the problems faced by commuters every day, which our government unfortunately has been having a hard time solving. Pretty much like how those UV Express FX started out, vehicles thought to be mostly colorum, but now’s even part of the transport service being offered in various malls. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sided with Uber, advising the LTFRB to “find ways to reasonably assist transport services” but you can’t help but take notice of the clamor of users for the government to simply spare Uber.

Now when or how do I get that MINI Cooper, Uber please.

Snap-Filter-Collaborate via @IGersManila’s #TheColl

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At the 16th Philippine Instameet that coincided with the 10th Worldwide Instameet, we announced the relaunch of @IGersManila’s Collaborators otherwise known as #TheColl. While we remain an open community (and global at that), the #TheColl relaunch aims to recognize our fellow Instagram’ers who have been supporting @IGersManila’s collaborative projects and events and address the need for tiered membership, opening up three (3) levels of fellowship to our ever growing community, as we continue to work with partners and sponsors in a variety of campaigns. And in our first ever #TheColl #MusterDate this year held at A SPACE MANILA last 18-October-2014, we welcomed a new batch of members and discussed the mechanics of being #TheColl, including the different badges/pins and corresponding goals, detailed in this video:

If you have been an avid follower of @IGersManila, you’d know that it’s one of the pioneering Instagram communities not only in the Philippines but across the globe, known for its longest running daily photo challenge #9pmhabit and the hashtag #IGersManila tagged with over 4 million photos and videos. Join @IGersManila’s Collaborators #TheColl by applying here.