No More Grand Slam Breakfast

A few months ago, Mable (my partner) and I went for our usual breakfast at Denny’s. Comfort food. We wanted a big, hearty start to our day.

Recognizing fellow Filipinos, our server introduced himself to us. He was a temporary foreign worker and relatively new to Canada. Mable gave him her business card and extended an invitation for him to come to her constituency office should if he have any questions or concerns about his employment. Sure enough, he did.

Months later, Mable’s office assisted him in filling out forms with Employment Standards and supported him in a precedent-setting $10 million class action lawsuit against Denny’s. It’s the first time that temporary foreign workers have come together as a collective to challenge their employer – a decision that was not made lightly considering what’s at stake… their lives and livelihood.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract where workers did not receive the hours of work, overtime pay, air travel and other conditions stipulated in the employment contract. It also alleges that workers were required to pay approximately $6000 each to a recruitment agency for placement in Denny’s Canada locations in B.C.

I cannot begin to describe the sacrifice Filipino migrant workers make to be able to come to Canada – from the financial stress of travel and recruitment fees to the emotional stress of family separation. The last thing they need is a lawsuit.

Filipinos are generally a hardworking, peace-loving, “head-bowed-down” kind of breed. It takes a lot to get a Filipino up in arms. Just check out our country’s long history of colonization, tyranny and abuse. Something must have gone terribly wrong at Denny’s because Filipino migrant workers have had it. They are speaking out and fighting back.

Mo more grand slam breakfasts for me.


Nature’s Artwork

I haven’t really seen too many sunsets in my life. But I’m glad I caught these and paid attention.

Who needs a canvass when you have clear, blue skies?

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Happy Baby Boy

I was on a photo shoot last week doing portraits for a dear friend and his family.

I was a bit anxious, I must admit. I never know what to expect when babies (and/or animals) are involved. I remember my first gig in Vancouver working as a photographer in a portrait studio. I had three screaming toddlers first day at work. I resigned the next day.

This photo shoot was surprisingly different. Our little superstar was not only adorable, he was a pro. He kept dishing it out – one big smile after another – the entire hour of our portrait session! I couldn’t shoot fast enough.

Little Matteo has to be the happiest baby boy I’ve ever met.

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Crossover Series

I used to be a control-freak. I like being the driver and knowing where I’m going.

But the last 6 years of my life have been one big surprise after another. I moved from Manila to San Francisco to Vancouver without so much as a game plan. I found myself in unfamiliar places. I was a stranger and I was lost.

“Crossover” is a digital art photo essay that reflects my journey from the familiar to the unknown. While I rest in the comfort of “knowing,” I now appreciate the gift of “discovery.” I’ve learned that if I don’t step out of my comfort zone: (1) I will never know what I’m capable of, and (2) the mysteries of the universe will never unfold.

I now enjoy taking the passenger seat, watching the world go by while someone else drives.

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