Shooting from the Heart: A Manny Librodo Workshop Experience

When Al Gonzales informed me that he planned to
organize a Manny Librodo’s "Portraiture in Nature"
Workshop with the help of  STET-VIP,  I immediately
agreed  despite  the  fact   that  my  knowledge  of
Mr. Manny Librodo was limited to all  breathtaking
photographs  I would  see  Al  view  on  his  laptop.
Apart from knowing Mr. Manny Librodo through his  
photos, I  had  no  idea  who he  was  and  that he
conducted international  photography   workshops.
In all honesty, I would have to say that I was simply
“shooting from my heart” when I agreed to help Al.

Call it serendipity or fortuitous, but three weeks before Al approached me about his plans, STET-
VIP had just uploaded an announcement for a photo contest at STET-VIP
launched the contest because we wanted to see how the educators from over 500 Higher and
Technical Education Institutions we had trained nationwide through our STET-VIP Qualifying
Course for Coordinators/Instructor-Facilitators/Volunteers/Stakeholders of the National Service
Training Program (NSTP) were conducting their community projects with the help of their
students. To date, there are an estimated 5,000 barangays nationwide that benefit from the
community projects facilitated by NSTP educators we have trained. Another reason for the
photo contest was that we wanted to encourage our Qualifying Course alumni and their
students to take better photographs of their activities, since entries to our Annual National
Kabalikat Awards for Outstanding Community Projects have to be accompanied by adequate
documentation. For the past five years, the judges for our Kabalikat Awards have often had to
squint and turn photographs this way and that to get a better and clearer picture of the
projects being undertaken.

The Makiling Botanical Gardens located in the Makiling Forest Reserve on the UP Los Baños
campus served as the backdrop for Manny Librodo’s “Portraiture in Nature” workshop on
January 3, 2008. I wish my students were at the shoot to witness Mr. Librodo and the workshop
participants’ passion for the art of photography themselves. It was truly a delight for me to
watch professional model Ms. Kharu Jasmin contort her body and change her expression to
evoke various moods. She was able to do so even if the ground was slippery and ant infested.
In between shoots, Kharu and the workshop participants refreshed themselves at The Forest
Club in Bay, Laguna.   

It was a privilege for STET-VIP to prepare and award certificates of completion to the workshop
participants on behalf of Mr. Librodo. We also presented certificates of appreciation to
individuals whose support made a difference, as well as expressed our profound gratitude to
Mr. Librodo, Ms. Jasmin, and our workshop co-sponsors specially Digiprint. Although the
workshop lasted just for a day, what Mr. Librodo said during the closing about “shooting from
the heart,” “using what they learned in the workshop to develop their own unique gifts” and “to
work hard” are things that will resonate long after everyone has packed their bags and
returned home. (VAG)
Front row from left: Rolly Barayang Jr, Jess Marquez, German Derico Castillo, Josephine Torres,
Pilar Tuason, Marvin Querido
Back row from left: Rev. Fr. Val Darunday, SVD, Ivy Mary Selarde, Dr. Vivian A. Gonzales,
Lhor Santillan, Melanie Lopez, John Lim, Stephanie Tan-Cuyiuto, Manuel Librodo,
Christian Ruste, Rolando Elix, Benjamin Balmoris, Malen Gellido