If you’re in school and you’ve got a band, listen up.

I’ve looked it up and there has never been a student band competition that’s lasted longer than Greenhills Sessionistas.

There may have been other competitions in the past, sure, but it’s the 7th year of Sessionistas and it has consistently provided an opportunity for students bands to show what they’ve got. Good news is that they’re looking for new blood again this year and applications will close this August 31.

If you haven’t heard of Sessionistas, here are 5 reasons why you need to join the competition.

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I watch the Marvel films because missing out on one will leave you lost in a very very lengthy plot which just forces all of us to watch their brilliant franchise (even the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – which everyone needs to watch because there are many important in between events that happen there right after Captain America: Winter Soldier)

Anyway, back to Guardians of The Galaxy. I loved it! I mean initially I was overanalyzing why the whole thing wasn’t as obviously complex as the other Marvel films but it was quite refreshing, how different the entire approach was, at least to me. I know Iron Man is funny, but this is musically funny.

It reminds me so much of growing up in the 80s with a mother who listens to a lot of rock, soul and classic R&B from the 60s and the 70s, not to mention Motown, plus combined with my aunts and uncles who were into the all the cool and slightly not so cool mainstream 80s hits. The whole movie felt exactly like my childhood with all those sci-fi films that invaded my generation after Star Wars.

Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely an instant classic for me. There are many good movies out there, but there are very few that have scenes you’ll be talking about for days and a soundtrack that I’ll love like how Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous was to me.

I made a playlist on Spotify. I’m glad they put David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream in there, I love Ziggy Stardust I have a DVD of his last performance!

I want to watch it again just to listen to how the music just made the scenes perfect!

Listen and enjoy!

It’s really funny how all of this started. I was hooked on MTV the moment my dad gave me a tv set for my 10th birthday. They say you lose a lot of time doing other things by staring at the screen, but MTV was my education. A dose of new music and amazing visuals everyday opened me up to an adventure-filled life.

I started a blog about my love for music and fashion. Eventually, a really awesome band called Rivermaya hired me to work for them. I bought their clothes and took photos of them and shared it online. Their fans appreciated as they went on to become the first Filipino band to perform at the MTV Asia Awards.

My love for music makes me happy to see all the bands perform these amazing shows. What warms my heart is when I get comments and emails from fans like me who tell me they’re grateful to have found a kindred spirit. I’ve carpooled in festivals with strangers and through the years have met people in this path that have become my greatest friends.

I always tell people that the best way to honor the bands is by sharing thoughts of why you love them. I documented this path the best way i knew how. I went to shows and took photographs of them.

I wrote my thoughts alongside these photos. Who knew this would take me far beyond any fans wildest dreams:  I was invited by some bands to sing back up vocals on their songs, I even did a movie stint as a VJ. I got to tour with bands all over the Philippines. I flew to Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia & North America meeting stars one could only ever dream of seeing. International artists have took notice of my posts and i feel giddy every time it happens.

Being around all these musicians, I even wrote a song and won an award for it!

Right now my life, like MTV is all about music. Being a fan, being in love with music can open you up to great things. I share my experiences to other fans who want to take the path as I have, telling them that the love for music is all you’ll ever need.

Because of it, my life has grown far more interesting.

You’ve played a huge part in my music life, MTV! Please let me show everyone how music can make a difference and that includes not giving up! Haha!




Practice makes perfect… well, almost perfect. I’ve been in pursuit of taking the perfect shot of Ian Tayao’s frontflip for so long that it’s become a personal sport to me whenever I bring a camera to WilaBaliW’s gigs. Despite all the flip shots, this is the first photo I have with the whole band in one shot.

I know it’s a great picture, but I’ll tell you how every time I take a photo I always wish, damn I could have taken a better one if only… bla bla bla… It’s good to sometimes question your work and recognize your mistakes and weaknesses because you learn from them and they become your strength.

Before we move on with the how-to’s let me tell you a story about this picture.

You see, I’ve been practicing with a new body, the Sony A7. For this shot I used a 24-70 f2.8 Zeiss Lens. Sony A7 is the first full-frame mirrorless camera and has a feature where you can actually put non full frame lenses on it and have it cropped automatically in-camera.

I have a 16mm 2.8 which I use for everyday, but it’s not a lens for a full frame camera. The Sony A7 has a feature where you can turn on the APS-C mode (cropped sensor) for lenses like that.

Yet I wasn’t using the 16mm but the 24-70 2.8, which is full frame capable.

It was a human error on my end. I think I had demonstrated the APS-C mode to another photographer when I forgot to turn the mode off, or AUTO at least. (Haha people! Stop asking me questions kasi in the middle of an event! LOL)

So this photograph was taken while the camera was acting as if it had a cropped sensor. It was only after I took the shot when I tried to show the photo to Chaya, Ian’s girlfriend that I realized I had left out a sizeable image space that was cropped out because I forgot to turn off the APS-C mode.

I was too focused on getting the shot that I forgot about it. I would have been able to capture the whole band and not crop out their bodies. It wasn’t really my goal to take a picture of the whole band, it just to happened that I saw it was possible and went with it. You can only imagine my disappointment, haha. If only I could tell the guys to do it again, but that’s cheating.

Despite my own error the photograph still turned out amazing.

This isn’t your typical sports photography (a field that is no joke quite difficult to begin with) put those basketball players and soccer players in a dark room with blinking lights then what you have is concert photography, haha.

Now for any photographer who has tried to get their ideal shot of Ian’s flip below are a list of tips you could follow. I know there’s always that element of randomness in concert photography, but as Frank Underwood in House of Cards said, “Success is a mixture of preparation and luck”.

*tap tap*

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I’ve had experiences of shooting gigs and see authorities waiting by the wayside while crowd control hangs on the edge of chaos. I never get to blog about them, most of the time the band is always able to contain the crowd, singing one or two more songs, with setlists cut short in half. It reminded me of the time I lived in Vietnam for a while back in 2008, there was a curfew. Midnight meant complete shut down as you see authorities smoking by the window, a stern reminder that whatever business you have, it must be over when they say so.

What’s exciting about the event last May 17 is that I have never experienced seeing sound systems unplugged in the middle of a musician’s set. Unlike me, the rock scene is all too used to this sort of thing way before I started documenting it. There could be many reasons, but most of the time they’re not the band’s fault. Yet this time around, it isn’t even the crowd’s fault. I actually have no idea what happened, except that the Cavite City police suddenly pulled the power off in the middle of Greyhoundz set, stating that it was the mayor’s instruction.

It was past midnight, and if you’re a rock fan who frequents rock gigs you always find yourself coming home at 4 or 5 in the morning, meaning these gigs start late and take forever. One of my theories is that the permit for the venue was only until midnight. You might say authorities could be a little sympathetic, I think they were, although rules are rules, maybe they didn’t like the drunk host who kept on saying bad words. I didn’t like him. Whatever his script was, it embodied everything that rock wasn’t, confirming that the scene is something people should be afraid of. People think it’s all crass, but what you don’t know is that local rock is such a sophisticated ecosystem completely overshadowing whatever this whole OPM thing is.

It just sucks for some of those who travelled from other cities to check out a gig which hasn’t happened in 15 years. Everyone could benefit from being a little more organized.

As I wrote in a Yahoo! article prior to the gig, there was one other Wolves, Boars, Houndz gig last December but Basti Artadi got sick so it was just Boars and Houndz. Everyone was really looking forward to this historical event. I have no idea why no one has organized this yet. There’s even a shirt made by Stitch Apparel in the trio’s honor. It’s difficult to get the three together and if it does happen next time, it will be even more epic with all the cancellations the past 6 months haha!

When it comes to brushes with authority, it’s all because of a misguided perception with rock. Whether it’s about the permit, or it could be the drunk host. All I know is that the main bands simply wanted to play.

Rumor has it that the Mayor apologized for what happened and that he’ll have the three bands over next month most likely. I

So my photographs from that evening are a bit of behind the scenes and half a set of Greyhoundz, haha.

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What? A concert without sound? Far from it.

Sony Philippines held the first silent concert in the country with performances by Bamboo and Ely Buendia at the Rockwell Tent last Thursday May 8, 2014. A historical feat considering that no one has ever done this in the Philippines before.

What’s a silent concert you ask?

In 1999, the Flaming Lips held the world’s first headphone concert in SXSW using radio transmitters and headphones so people can hear their music through FM channels. For the Sony Silent concert, their latest MDR headphones were given out during the event which people plug in on headphone amplifiers that were available all over the venue. The music comes from the performers were in a soundproof booth set up at the center of the venue, their music inaudible to those without headphones.

Music is personal and what makes the headphone concept so enticing is that it gives you exactly what you want. Imagine listening to a live recording in your living room, the difference is you’re actually listening to it as the show unfolds and seeing the artist interact with you. With headphones, you turn the volume up or down, sing mindlessly in tune or out and the best part about it being in a packed venue is that you don’t have to hear your neighbour while they overpower the actual music. I don’t want to hear you sing. I want to hear Ely and Bamboo. Haha

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My name is Niña Sandejas. Duly educated in fashion but would rather take photos of musicians and go to concerts for a living.

Red Horse Beer Official Rock Journalist | Yahoo! Philippines Celebrity Blogger | Sony Philippines A7r Ambassador


Photos ©Niña Sandejas Unauthorized use is prohibited.

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