This is CC Lozano, also known as Daddy C, and The Versus Workshop is my online journal and workshop of sorts where I write about embracing life’s beautiful misadventures—learnings from the many chaos life throws at us or when things don’t go as planned, and how to make the most out of challenging situations. The name is inspired by Pearl Jam’s sophomore album called Vs.
Tackling life’s twists and turns one day at a time
While I dreamed of becoming a musician when I was a kid, I later aspired to be a Computer Scientist, except that my math and science grades weren’t as impressive. But no regrets when fate had me earning a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management instead, from the same school where I met my wife, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. I was an academic achiever during my elementary and high school days but my parents didn’t think I’d last four years in college, at a time when alternative music and theater were swaying my focus, but I proved them wrong as my love for computers and tech got me through. Happy to have both my parents (bless their souls) attend my graduation rites, I know I made them proud.
Prior to walking that commencement stage, I was fortunate to have joined organizations where artistic endeavors took center stage. I had stints fronting a rock band, collaborated with human rights advocates, participated in group mural activities, played various lead and bit roles in theater, became the unlikely interpretative dancer doing what is now called flash mob, a late bloomer for joining a fraternity just because I wanted to help organize and change its reputation, being its chapter’s first alumni member. I didn’t only get the chance to be a musician, I was an artist and more. Versus the ordinary, my college life taught me to go against the flow without forgetting to be compassionate, to be the best version of myself, and actively taking part in spreading love and kindness.
With no luck in the foodservice and hospitality industry, I have since worked my way up in a variety of roles and industries, from education and training to operations management and e-commerce, which got me this far today as a seasoned management professional. Outside of work, I’m grateful for the connections and opportunities from having founded and joined communities of various interests.
The gadget and app that made many of us mobile photographers
When the iPhone first came out in 2007, not only did it reshape the smartphone industry by introducing and influencing many of the technological innovations we have been enjoying since, it also changed the way we capture and share life’s precious moments – what came to be known as iPhoneography, that’s mobile or instant photography – so it’s no surprise that the iPhone has become the most popular camera around the world.
My first iPhone was the 3G model, which convinced me I won’t need other phones (I owned several Nokia smartphones prior), relying on it heavily to manage not only my day-to-day activities but to do photography as well, as it has become my camera of choice, having upgraded to the iPhone 4 and almost every model after, dropping and breaking several naked iPhones later, though now I always have it in a protective case. I tried using other phones and platforms (Nokia’s Microsoft Windows Phone and Android on Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note series) while there’s nothing not to like, in fact, they’re sometimes ahead of what the iOS devices have on offer, I just had to stick to the contrasting simplicity and complexity of the iPhone.
It was two months after it was launched for the iPhone when I discovered Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, and I got instantly hooked, snapping photos and videos whenever, wherever. Back then, photos of pets and nature were flooding the Instagram Popular page (now it’s called the Explore page). Like me, a lot of Filipino Instagrammers or IGers were interacting and sharing ideas for visual storytelling, with so many creative apps available to make photos stand out. It was April 2011 when I created the IGersManila Instagram account that later became a community of fellow moderators and collaborators, with the idea of making it a fun habit of sharing photos that follow a daily challenge or theme and topic, without having to worry about photography rules, thus the taglines “snap-filter-share” and “Keep the good vibes rolling!”
When Facebook acquired Instagram, many have ditched the app and moved on to other platforms, while others have pursued photography professionally. The #IGersManila #9pmhabit remains to be one of the longest-running photography challenges on Instagram.
Business foray for survival
The COVID-19 virus and the global pandemic it caused have changed our lives forever. At the height of community quarantines of 2020, when we’re all locked down at home, businesses that are non-essential and rely on foot traffic and face-to-face transactions were heavily affected and many went bankrupt and closed down. This resulted in many losing their jobs or were forced to halt their main source of income. But we Filipinos are survivors, even forcing a smile when faced with tragedy.
Enterprising individuals and families have found ways to make effective use of their time locked down at home, not only to augment income but to really address the need of others, at least within their barangay or community, for sourcing and delivery of essential supplies, homecooked meals and specialty food, DIY and home improvement tools, gardening implements, among others. Facebook became the go-to platform for online selling, the virtual meet-up for trading, games and raffles, or activities that will keep your mind off the pandemic.
There was no convincing needed, the pandemic pushed the button for us to finally start our home-based business, which I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time, except I couldn’t find the time and resources. My wife and I started Camia Eats and converted an extra space in our house, initially offering basic grocery items, prepaid loads, and printing services for those working from home and students on online schooling. We then offered combo meals and merienda or snacks and later baked goods when I started baking again. Social media has been extra useful, both for reaching out to potential customers and learning from other like-minded proprietors.
While small in terms of scale, it has since provided the financial sustenance for the family, but it would require our full attention, taking advantage of our work experiences to keep it profitable, with me and my wife taking turns in doing accounting and inventory. To this day, keeping it running and open every day provided us with lessons business books can never teach you.
We have so far served thousands of home-cooked meals and baked goods since we started, and helped a charitable student initiative in its feeding program. Looking forward to continuing to serve our community and doing more in the new normal.
Check out print features and media appearances at Exposures.