About Jojie Alcantara

self portrait in beijing

self portrait in beijing

JOJIE ALCANTARA is a Filipina writer, photographer and artist whose online presence often gets mistaken for a male (her pet peeve is being called sir).

She started writing for a local newspaper in 1994 as a travel and lifestyle columnist (Witerary) until the present.  In 2010, she was invited to write a travel column (Scene Stealer) for a national paper.  Since 2006, she has been contributing articles and photos to several publications (national and international), and was also featured in newspapers and magazines.

Published works of Jojie Alcantara

Published works of Jojie Alcantara

But her journey started as an artist and performer at a young age.  She was into poetry, short stories, collecting books, dancing, singing, playing the piano, guitar, and even the banjo.  She took acting lessons and stage play at 16, just to gain self-confidence.

Jojie's self caricature, 2001

self caricature, 2001

Her signs of artistry began very early… doodling at age 2 on walls and on Dad’s books,  sketching on blank papers, painting and writing poetry in high school.  She focused on caricatures (pen and ink and brush), and cartooning.  Her first caricature exhibit was in 2001, and another in 2004 with the Davao Artist Foundation.  She sketches and paints, and has been commissioned to do on the spot caricatures on special events. She didn’t pursue Fine Arts, however, and instead became an English Major grad.

Jojie in 2nd caricature exhibit on Sept. 2004

Jojie in 2nd caricature exhibit on Sept. 2004

She was dancing since age 7, from ballet, jazz, hula, punk, contemporary, and had her first “break” as a lady break dancer in the college campus (in a matinee show, she ripped her pants in the middle during a backspin).  She was also a dance choreographer and performed in production shows. Dancing was her first love, but took a back seat when her asthma worsened and she grew up sickly.

At 18, she started endorsing products and doing print and TV commercials on the side.  She had a forgettable stint in the runway from 1988 to 1997, both as a fashion model and a director/choreographer.  She then trained models and beauty contestants through workshops.  Back then, she had an incredibly anorexic weight of 108 pounds. Sadly, there were no traces of old videos or film photos of her shows.  Nor of that weight.

Her first short lived TV show was in 1995 where a singing contestant dropped his dentures on the floor while singing and she was right beside him, trying to ignore the moment. It was a feat that would train her into two other television shows in the future.

Jojie Alcantara, Ian Garcia and Jeanette Lomanta in Halo Halo Sunday Special, 2003

ojie Alcantara, Ian Garcia and Jeanette Lomanta in Halo Halo Sunday Special, 2003

In 2003, she had a year’s hosting stint with a popular telemagazine show which was aired in Mindanao and TFC (The Filipino Channel) abroad.  It was called Halo Halo Sunday Special.

She then anchored for SkyCable’s live coverage of the Araw ng Davao parade (every March) and Kadayawan Festival (every August)  parades from 2001 up until 2012.  She also hosts events in the city.

Hello, Windows 95 and a fat monitor!

Hello, Windows 95 and a fat monitor!

She got her first hard-earned computer in 1995 back when internet was new in Davao (Windows 95 and 98 were the coolest stuff, see photo above).  She even remembers to this day how a floppy disk works (and floppy isn’t as vulgar as you think).

She worked for a project in Manado, Indonesia for a few months, and started taking film photography.  This was after she up and left the corporate hotel work because she didn’t like the bundy clock.

A self-taught web designer in 1996, she was blogging when it wasn’t yet a household term while referring to it as “online diary”.  Her web was once finalist in the very early Philippine Webby Awards (1998) and have judged in online awards years after.  Her measly dialup net connection detached her from the world because they couldn’t get through her phone line.  She was once addicted to chat (and will now credit her amazing typing speed for it).

When she became a writer, she used a Pentax film camera in 1995, a digital camera in 1998, but only transitioned into a serious photographer in 2000 when she started documenting her travel adventures for her column.  She was the first media person in Davao to ever own a digital camera (Sony Cybershot with a whooping 1.6 megapixel) and a memory card of 32mb and128mb.  She tried to coax fellow female photographers to form a club because there were only few of them seriously out in the open then.

On her PC, she creates and conceptualizes graphic arts, animation, videos, webs, and artworks, so she loves to just stay home concocting stuff on the net.  That is, when she isn’t traveling and discovering remote places.

A turning point – THE SOLO TRAVELER (or how she gets to travel for free)

In 2000, after suffering from a failed relationship and juggling with a fear of heights, sea, commitment, enclosed spaces, open spaces, ghosts, dark corners, stepping on sidewalk cracks, crowds, what have you …. something must have triggered and gone haywire in her head for like the mythical phoenix, out of the ashes of that pathetic timid, phobic girl arose this crazy, fearless woman who craves aerial shoots (she rode a chopper through stormy weather that made an emergency landing on the rice terraces), balances herself in small boats, collects Asian horror films, and bravely joins parades.  She is still claustrophobic in elevators, though she went caving.

Jojie caving in Compostela Valley

Jojie caving in Compostela Valley

When she became active in promoting tourism, invitations started pouring in to visit places and write about them.  Sometimes she went with a group of media people, most times she was alone. She eventually evolved from a lifestyle writer to a travel writer and photographer.  She gets to fly to places around the Philippines, eventually in other countries, stay in very nice hotels, explore the culture and local flavors, then goes back to reality when she gets home and writes about the awesome experience.  That normally means sorting through a thousand images per day, too.

Lost in translation in Beijing

Lost in translation in Beijing

There were sad times she had to turn down invitations (Egypt, Dead Sea, Petra in Jordan, South Korea, and the recent trip to go back to Indonesia after 10 years — aargh) due to unforeseen events that tied her to schedules or activities, or lack of budget thereof.  Eventually, though, another trip would come sooner or later which made up for the missed journeys.

Jojie Alcantara in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Feeling Lara Croft in Angkor Wat

After a series of Sony point and shoots, she finally had her first DSLR (a Canon 350D) in 2006.  Today, she uses a Canon 5D, 7D, and a 5D Mk II, with small backup cameras are the Panasonic Lumix and Olympus Pen.  You can now imagine how heavy her bags can get.

Jojie's gears and other collection

Jojie’s gears and other collection

Today, armed with cameras, dental floss, asthma inhaler, and reckless bravado, she discovers exciting, remote places in her personal quest to promote the islands of the Philippines, particularly Mindanao.

Shooting Mount Mayon up close

Shooting Mount Mayon up close

Her photo was recently published as cover of  an international magazine (May 2011 issue).  She loves to do aerial photography.

writer and photographer Jojie Alcantara documenting a pod in Dahican waters

documenting a pod in Dahican waters

In January 2010, she won a Grand Prize in an international photo competition (BetterPhoto.com), for this photo.  🙂

While she has television stints and public hosting gigs, most of her fulfilling moments are quietly capturing nature, landscapes, or documenting people and events.  She accepts projects on commission.

Jojie in Beijing, China

Lost in her own world – Beijing, China

She has had several photo exhibits in Davao and Manila, most notable of which was Bravo Filipino! in Manila for the Ayala Foundation which featured a traveling exhibit together with six respected photographers that included Don Jaime Zobel and  unbelievably gorgeous hunk actor Piolo Pascual.

Bravo Filipino! photo exhibit

Bravo Filipino! photo exhibit

This solo traveler is inspired by experiences in life, views failures and mistakes as minor setbacks, and constantly reinvents herself as she moves on (but the baby bangs stays).

Clothes and red shoes by DC, with my four dogs

Clothes and red shoes by DC, with her four dogs

Jojie during a shoot

Jojie during a shoot

A non-corporate, nonconformist freelance person, she prefers to wear jeans with her signature Michael Jackson shirt (big collection), until such time she stops mourning for his loss.  She is caught up in an 80s time warp, sans the glittery hair gel.

One of her famous signs captured in Wao, Lanao del Norte, selling bed sheets

One of her famous signs captured in Wao, Lanao del Norte, selling bed sheets

In 2006, her collection of funny signs went viral globally among Pinoy communities, with her website featured in TV talk shows, and eventually high traffic prompted it to crash.  She plans to launch her new collection in another blog soon.

ANOTHER TURNING POINT, LIKE, MAJOR MAJOR

In June 2011, her home was damaged by a flash flood that hit the family hard.  Her most cherished possessions were all wiped out — clothes, furnitures, large collection of books, family albums, hoarded items, etc.  Her family (which includes four dogs) managed to escape the disaster (“it was like a scene from a bad Steven Spielberg movie”).  They’ve since moved into a new home, but the incident still traumatizes her.  She still remains to be her cheerful, crazy self, though (and is forever grateful to those who rushed to help emotionally, spiritually and materially).

June 29 Flash flood in Davao City

Her capture of the flash flood in June 29 while the family escaped to an overpass

She views life comically or in moments like these, with a gentle sense of humor, as part of her survival instinct.

Jojie on photojournalism workshop

Jojie on photojournalism workshop

These days, she still follows a crazy schedule, but does not go out much when she’s not doing workshops, attending events, or on travel assignments (and only if you tell her there’s this unexplored island with cool cannibals off the coast of, never mind).  She continues to blog, and may be more visible online than ever likely showing up in public.  Otherwise, it’s the lure of traveling alone, discovering some place new that always pulls her out of her “cave”.

Jojie and her handpainted shirts in 1995

Jojie and her handpainted shirts in 1995

One day soon, she wants to go back to painting again. (She keeps a blank canvas, unused sets of watercolor and fine paintbrushes in her closet and checks on them from time to time, runs her hand on the white sheet, smells the paints obsessively… you get the picture).

Few of my collections

Her ultimate collection

This photo was taken before the flood.  All the shirts survived, but you can send her MJ shirts to add to her growing vintage collection and to make her deliriously happy.

She just gave you a fast forward rundown of her life (that headache will come and go, not to worry, it happens to her friends).  Most of it except the juicy details, anyway.  She still lives simply until now.  She hopes through this blog, you will be inspired to live life fully as well and share your blessings with others.

(…changes to first person mode….)

Thank you for actually scrolling down with interest at what I have to say (I always feel the need to explain my being a complex person, A LOT).  Below are random stuff I went into but which doesn’t require much reading. 🙂

View her other adventures, blogs, and online portfolio in the links above.

FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE WEEK IN MANILA BULLETIN’S PICTURE PERFECT ON FEBRUARY 16, 2010

Endorsements  (or companies who believe in me) 🙂

Thank you for your time and interest,

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51 Comments

  1. So I decided to check out your blog after you left the common re. the Great Wall on mine. It is so cool! I can’t wait to get your photos and quotes. Brilliant idea! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Like

    • I welcome you with a hug over my “blogdom”! (I just invented that). Yes I will post my Great Wall soon. Does this mean I get your go signal that I can post an image of your Great Wall experience in comparison to mine? Haha, please say yes!

      Like

  2. Albert Andrion says

    Thanks for sharing your God given talents.Galeng galeng mo.Hope to meet you in person someday. More power to you. 🙂

    Like

  3. Pingback: The Scene Stealer « scene stealer

    • Jehzeel, no worries. You just have to take it one day at a time. One adventure at a time. When you look back, you will see how many footprints you have already covered. 🙂

      Like

  4. hello Ma’am! thanks for visiting my blog. You have here a very good page, its so beautiful and very much alive. I’ll be browsing your posts. Thanks a lot.

    Like

    • Hallo, Lester Pencilhands! Salamat sa pagbisita. Like you, I also love to doodle pero di jud ko ganahan sa lapis, diretso ko pentel pen, hahaha. But the pencil is every artist’s best tool. I haven’t posted my caricatures here yet. Gitamad pa kay sige picture picture. 🙂

      I shall be visiting your blog again as well. Pag ayo ayo!

      Like

      • hahaha, ai bisaya man pud diay ka Ma’am. dakoa sa ahong ngisi oi. hehe. oo kita ko sa uban nga doodles nimu,, nice bya pud. I’m actually making now a tumblr blog exclusively for my doodles and artworks. para napud koy portfolio. 🙂
        i’ll just send you the link way wa pa ko mahuman ug upload. Ayo2 sad Miss Jojie.

        Like

  5. I’m originally from southern leyte, then after moonlighting in a few cities, I’m now Cebu based, but currently on excile, i mean assigned here in Boracay!
    Summer is Coming!

    Like

      • hahaha my sentiments exactly …sane? lol I do the laptop on the bed in the middle of the night thing…wha? oh just got up to go to the bathroom – the orange thingy was on lol…. it’s 11:45 am here…:-)

        Like

      • The thing is…there should be a separate private forum between lizziecracked and scenestealer because, I was right in the middle of your comment section, mid-300. If I so much as reply to you there, I would get lost in a sea of replies, then I would be itching to scroll down again in…now, 627 comments…just to find our conversation. I am just glad I’ve been a speed reader in high school.

        Um…how do I join your Crazy Chicks Club?

        Like

      • Good Morning – 🙂 that is so weird to think you are beginning your day and I am getting ready to end mine… but are you a day ahead or behind? well you are where you are but I guess in relation to where I am 🙂 When I was a child the depictions of the future never includuded instant communication with someone so far away…it is something I still have a hard time grasping… The comments have slowed finally – I can leve my computer and come back to 4 or 6 instead of 40 or 50 phew! Before this my little world was well…little lol and growing bigger but now …wow! A friend who had been Freshly Pressed a week earlier said to me in my initial panic, you get to see all kinds of people and when the dust settles you can go around and visit them and make new friends….wow he was right….when I click on the actual post though..it has become so huge that my poor little computer doesn;t know what to do…the scroll feature is sooo sloooowww.
        CLick on the Crazy Chicks CLub badge on my site and it will take you to the blog of LaFemmeroar…she is a wonderful funny lady that started the club and I believe that is the page for the CCC – to join simply scroll down through the comments ( 🙂 ) and leave one of your own telling why you are a crazy chick…. some just say I want to join or Hi I am so and so from … and everyone gets in I just was a little creative cause it was fun.. SHe features one Crazy Chick a week on her blog (I am #16) so eventually a some point she would send a questionnaire but she is a wonderful and supportive person whom I admire very much…if you mention me in your comment, she will now how you found her – and she knows me 🙂 Today is my daugher’s birthday so we are going to get something to eat..I will check back in awhile. I am happy to have found you 🙂 or should I say that you found me. LizzieC 😎

        Like

      • I’ve visited LaFemmeroar’s blog earlier (once again, I read through all their comments, sigh). It’s so wonderful to find similar loony women like me, am delighted to jump in the carnival soon. Am glad you have now settled down from the limelight that blogging gives you. You deserve it.

        As for our time difference, am not sure but it’s March 11 8:23 pm here. So who’s ahead between us?

        Anyway about the wonders of fast-paced technology, I feel the same way. In the early 80s I used to have a pre-teen PENPAL (read: snail mail) who wrote me via postal which reached me in two weeks. After communicating back and forth he was suddenly raving about cable TV. That their family had cable TV installed and he was gushing about so many channels to watch. Of course I couldn’t relate yet. Now the clincher, “So do you have cable TV too?” He asked me, this Asian girl who just came out from black and white and into colored TV,

        I wrote back NO. But in my mind, there was this nagging question, why the hell would I suspend my TV from a wire and get stiffed neck from watching? 🙂

        End of story. Hugs and happy birthday to your lovely girl.

        Like

  6. You are one of my inspirations Ate Jojie! You inspire me to “steal scenes” from my humble travels and share it to the world. You’re one helluva write! Your style is again my inspiration! THANK YOU Ate Jojie. 🙂 For for being an inspiration. 🙂

    Like

    • If you continue to generously share your talents, you will become an inspiration to yourself and others, as I know you already are. Am just glad I took a part in your journey.

      Like

  7. Hi Jojie! Thank you for liking my recent post. I was happy to see the Mayon Volcano in your Home page. I am a Bicolana you see. Looking forward to seeing more posts from you. I know pronounce myself your humble follower. 🙂

    Like

    • Ahh, the lovely lady with the birthmark! If you were not so far away I would love to take a mysterious portrait of you up close. I love your place and ate a lot of Bicol Express there. Mayon is stunning up close. Love our country! Thank you, Mabel, for appreciating my contribution to the blogosphere. 🙂

      Like

      • I’m in Cavite. But every time I visit my province, when I see Mayon, it always make me feel at home. I love our country too and I’ve been meaning to blog (actually boast) about it sometime soon. I just started writing and I’m still trying to get the hang of it. Oh! I think you just gave me a blush about that portrait thing. Thank you for the lovely compliment. 🙂

        Like

  8. You deserve that compliment for embracing your distinction and beauty. Sige na, go blog and brag about our beautiful islands. Am behind you all the way. Hope to visit Cavite soon and write about it. 🙂

    Like

  9. Just stumbled across your blog whilst randomly clicking away (a sign I should definitely get off my laptop and do something useful…) and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen and read so far!! What a brilliant introduction to yourself as well, I really like you’re writing style 🙂 I’ll definitely be browsing your posts!

    Like

    • Tweedlealice. By your nick alone it should be fair warning to me to look forward to your future adventures while surviving a hangover. 🙂 You make me miss my university days. Thank you for stumbling down my “rabbit hole”, and I shall check your journey into wonderland from time to time. Hugs!

      Like

  10. Hi Jojie,
    Thanks for coming to my rescue in the form of a comment on the Rising Black Star post I wrote. It’s funny how much life a silly satirical post I wrote can have. That is an old post. Online, as well as in real life, photographers do need to ‘chill.’

    Apart from our love for photography, it appears we have one other thing in common–the Philippines. I lived in Manila for 14 months when I was 19. I didn’t want to answer your inquiry as to whether I knew how to fly a plane there because I didn’t want to make it appear self-indulgent. It would be off-topic and have nothing to do with photography.
    http://peterphun.com/blog/2010/04/20/voices-and-our-mental-image/

    Of course it’s been years since I’ve actually flown.
    Selamat Po.
    http://www.facebook.com/peterphunphotography

    Like

    • Haha Peter, thanks for visiting my blog. I was actually making a cute remark about your name being Peter Phun, hence the question, “you don’t happen to fly, do you?” Isn’t that funny (oops phun unintended), you are actually a pilot. And having studied in my country at that! I hope my place brings fond memories of your youth as well. Keep on writing, shooting and flying. 🙂 Oh, I haven’t mentioned that I love to do aerial photography. (grin)

      Like

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