Swamp Mermaid: BTS


There’s always a first time to everything, and gods – for the life of me (and this dress!), this has been a wonderful one. Slipping on mossy rocks, breaking your favorite bracelet and the realization that those spiky little things that you just accidentally stepped on were now dead snails aside, this buwis-buhay (life-risking) photo shoot was so worth it.

This project has evolved into a lot of things from a simple blue/black mermaid portrait theme. It wasn’t spoken out loud, but when fellow artists get together because of passion for the same thing, they ought to take everything up a couple of notches than what’s originally planned. What came together was a story that we are all excited to tell.

And the line up for the day?


The best team a designer could ever ask for.

Lead Photographer/Videographer: Darlene San Agustin
Assistant Photographer: Izzy Libo-on
Mermaid: Joyen
Make-up/Prosthetics: Daryll Lozano
and many thanks to Mik for giving his heartfelt support and sticking throughout the project from start to end!

There are many stories surrounding this photo shoot, I guess. Some so disappointing, and some are just plain amusing. One thing that struck me the most was how “over-used” Daranak falls was. If you wouldn’t know me enough, here’s a confession: I am a HUGE treehugger. Let’s say I’m bordering between “start-the-change-I-wanna-see” and activist at times. It’s pretty scary that this beautiful falls will one day be another Pasig River. There are visible efforts of maintenance around, but it isn’t zero trash, as one would expect.

In a sexy-themed shoot, you can also expect perverted stand-byers. And while I have better things to do than comment on how uncomfortable those young men have made me for our model, I would like to call on them in this blog post. You know, just to warn anybody wanting to do something around the same theme.

But hey – there was also an amusing part to this story: Daranak Falls charges P 1,500 for Pictorials. If you are using the falls as the venue for your pre-debut shots (like us! Or so, we said), better have a few thousands on hand. Who knows? The government might charge a little higher from the time this post was made.

Here are more photos from our budding photographer, Izzy Libo-on, who was in-charge of the BTS. I love how she made the colors of the photos very close and natural to what the eye would see in the actual falls. It’s a breather from the fantasy hues I’ve been seeing a lot lately.

To cap it all here’s an elusive selfie of yours truly, with our Swamp Maiden. With all fairness, the head dress (which mainly consisted of experimental construction methods) has held up. It survived the merky waters of Daranak falls. That said, working on it until five in the morning wasn’t all that bad after all.


One of my most loving and loved muses, Joyen!

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