Reese Lansangan’s Home featured in a center spread of this month’s YES Magazine.
The wedding day of Vic and Pauleen was drawing near and I was still searching for that ONE song to use for their wedding film. I was drawing blanks.
The collaboration with Johnoy Danao for Nikki Gil’s wedding was so creatively fulfilling (and successful) that I just had to do it again. But I have yet to find a songwriter given the time constraint.
So one night just after Christmas, I was driving home from a shoot and heard this quaint song on the radio. The melody was catchy but it was the lyrics that hooked me. It was witty. It was hilarious. It was intelligent. That song was Grammar Nazi, and it was by an artist I was familiar with – Reese Lansangan (whom I cannot tag here because she has exceeded her friend request limit – I know the feeling).
I reached out right away and set up a meeting. Wedding season was still in full swing so we had to meet at night after a shoot. We braved Katipunan and met her and her cousin Thea in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
She was very much the vivacious artist I pictured her to be.
Platinum hair. Enthusiastic. Appreciative. Creative.
That meeting was on January 16. Despite the constraint, she gladly said yes to the project. The wedding was at the end of the month.
Really the only input I had were the themes of the song and a certain structure I needed for it to work with moving images.
We all know there was a certain “you and me against the world” start to Vic and Pauleen’s story that I wanted to play up. And that they didn’t care. Reese’s lyrics dealt with those teams in a tender, moving way that avoided cliches.
And when I heard the demo, I knew then and there, that was it. That was THE song.
But nobody knows
How we go
When we’re alone
It’s like we’re home
Words and Music by Reese Lansangan (c) 2016
Arranged by Reese Lansangan, Allen Dave Articulo, and Choi Padilla
Mixed and Mastered at Point Bee Multimedia
Photo by Oly Ruiz.
Let’s agree on one thing. Some of the best things in life are free, your favorite app, that donut in Krispy Kreme when you fall in line and your dog’s excited yapping when you come home at night.
Hell, even my services can be free! For real. It’s not April 1st, it’ already the 5th.
I’ll do it. Just for you.
Just me. One camera. One man. One story. Your story. Send me a pitch.
I’d like to go back to my roots, shooting alone. It’s a creative exercise for me, a not too foreign experiment. As for the output, expect something different as well. Prepare to be be surprised. We’ll pick a couple. Maybe a few.
Send me details. Locations, logistics. Your vision of your wedding or whatever your event is. I’m listening. It doesn’t need to be local, I can travel.
I’ll drive, I’ll fly. I’ll ride a canoe. Let’s arrange it. A good meal would be appreciated but great coffee is a must.
Your wedding (or not) doesn’t need to be one of a kind, nor push boundaries. The only thing it needs to be is compelling. To inspire people to love. Or to make people understand.
Fill out the form below – I’m excited.
Please DO NOT send me an email or FB message for this. Let’s keep it through the form. Thanks.
I had to admit to myself even just a little bit, that the timing was off for this wedding we took in Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Everybody was gearing up for the long vacation and here we were lugging our equipment for a flight going south to work.
After touchdown, we drove off for another hour and a half to a resort away from the city – Sunrise Mansion.
And slowly, the reservations melted away. The place had something to do with that of course. It was charmingly beautiful. No it wasn’t the poshest of resorts. But you don’t go there and expect butler service nor 24/7 ac. You go because you want to taste the comforting salty winds blow though your room. You come to appreciate the endless sea of blue of both the sky and the sea.
But more than the place, it was the people. We were greeted eagerly by the bride and groom. Making sure we were comfortable and settled. Taking care of our every need. Too much really. We felt we were family. And that feeling was special. To break bread over their table, with no delineation of who were guests and who were suppliers. To share the same 3 in one coffee sachets and to lounge in the same pool.
And that allowed us to know more about everybody, and therefore make a more meaningful film.
I learned that “Sebastian” moved from Germany to Melbourne and likes the Aussie lifestyle better. That they met and fell in love there. I learned that Marissa’s family was from Ilocos and it was the first meeting of both families (imagine the nerves!). I learned that what they have is not defined by ethnicity or color. They just – love. And everybody was happy for them.
I could not have spent my Holy Wednesday any better.
This is a shout out to all the kids who try hard (most of the time) but get less than stellar grades in school.
We can’t post your report cards (plenty of 7s), or medals (we’re only gunning for the loyalty award) or the merit cards (umm, you don’t have any).
Can’t deny that there’s a hint of jealousy when other parents humblebrag about their children’s hardware. But know this, we love you to bits and won’t have anybody else in your stead.
Sure your penmanship is bad. And we still can’t do fractions well. But hey we get high marks in cleanliness and you’re never absent not tardy. I appreciate that.
Grades aren’t the end all and be all. I’m just happy you study your ass off and I know you try.
We all know you can smoke ’em in COD. I know I can ask you to get my socks and and my wallet and a drink of water on three separate trips with nary a complaint. Well. Just a bit. But you’ll do it anyway. You light up the house. That’s your gift. That’s good enough for me.
We’ll get ’em next time kiddo.
Rikiflo gets married! Sorry guys, your DJ girl next door crush is already off the market.
planning: Chinkie Uy
photography: Pat Dy
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Posted by ASUS Philippines on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
An 18th birthday film for dear Pia.
Hashtag: Click play and repeat.
Written and directed by yours truly.
Styling by RabbitHole Creatives
Makeup by Madge Landrito Lejano
Hair by Brian Borda
Artwork: Katsy Garcia
Everybody hates traffic. Everybody curses at traffic. Nobody likes it.
But today it put a smile on my face.
I was at my 43rd minute along Edsa starting from Magallanes. It was almost 8 and I was dying to get home to catch dinner with the family. I was getting impatient and hungry.
After getting out of the Ayala tunnel and just before hitting the Gil Puyat flyover I decided to wave to a vendor and buy junk food.
I asked how much the Kropeck was. He had three bags in his hand and I had twenty pesos in mine. He said ten pesos each so I said I’ll get two.
He gave me two packs, then without hesitation gave me the third.
“Eto sir, pamasko ko na sa inyo.”
He broke into a big warm smile and I let out a big one too.
I pointed to his empty big plastic bag, sign of a good night’s sale – “Salamat! uwi na! Pahinga na!”
The elderly man said – “Yes sir!” Ubos na, ButI na lang traffic.”
I rolled up my window, started munching on my Kropeck. Still with a smile on my face.
I had to dig up this picture to preface my blogpost about Nikki’s wedding. This pic was taken on the day Iya and Drew got married, January of 2014. I got so kilig when we took the selfie. Shaina and Nikki had nothing but great words for the video we created and were half joking about booking me and my team when their time come. Nikki was “kinda” single then.
Only, Nikki wasn’t joking.
Fast forward to almost exactly a year later – January of 2015 , she gets engaged.
I don’ treat these kinds of messages lightly. These are not feathers to be put on a cap. But rather, motivation to do better, to make sure we are worth more than we are paid, that we exceed expectations, that we surpass the hype. It’s a delicious moment. But frightening as well. Of course, we never back down.
In earlier posts in social media, I touched upon the songwriting process with Johnoy Danao. I actually asked Johnoy a year earlier to write music for Bianca Gonzales’ wedding. But it never came into fruition. The harmonies of Ransom Collective proved more suitable for the island vibe of her wedding to JC. I suppose it wasn’t the “Right Time” yet. Yes, pun intended.
So we finally got around to doing this collaboration when I emailed Johnoy again around August. I described the love story, and I described the feel. But my musical talents are severely lacking so it was all JD from there. I got the lyrics around September 18 and an acoustic demo on September 21(!). That’s some prolific genius right there.
We met just one more time to discuss the arrangement. I only had a few suggestions but we had full trust with our arranger Ronald.
I had the music shortly thereafter, it was glorious and it was perfect. I couldn’t tell anyone because I wanted it to be a surprise. Doubly tough because restraint is not one of my finer qualities.
So I had the song. The next thing necessary of course was the footage.
It was a gamble of course. What if the the footage didn’t match the music? It was a risk I was willing to take.
The payoff was huge. The things I look most for a wedding – the authenticity of emotions, the truth in the moment, the beauty in the fleeting, the intricacy of the relationships – these were all present. These were all I needed. And mind you, these are the things I look for in all weddings we shoot.
And so we end up with a feel good film. But not the kind you forget a few hours after. It’s the kind of story which touches the soul, that begs you to press play again, the kind which gives hope and makes you pause to re-assess your own state, “I’m not in a rush, I can wait.”
Thank you Nikki and BJ for sharing your story with us.