A Day with the Master of Portraiture Manny Librodo

When I posed for the workshop of Manny Librodo, Landscape of Emotions, in Kuala Lumpur recently, I really had so much fun. The images turned out great from all the participants which clearly showed the different kind of post-processing that Manny Librodo has always been known for. But what most friends didn't know was the best things are yet to come. Because a day after the workshop, I had the very rare opportunity to spend the morning with the master of portraiture, Manny Librodo, along with the best assistants, Dr. Ban Hup Teh and my husband Marl "BadeeDadee" Cabusas, and be their only subject.

Since we performed the night before, I found it hard to get some rest. But at least, I managed to sleep for an hour. At around 7AM, my friend Reen picked us (Marl, Selena, and myself) up from the hotel and we met up with Manny and Dr. Teh at the Mines Resort. From there, we went to a very big house that is owned by Dr. Teh's friend. It was no ordinary mansion because as soon as we entered the house, we were ushered to the elevator/lift and was taken to the best part of the house... the theatre! My jaw dropped when I saw the hi-tech equipments at the engineer's booth and I couldn't believe my eyes when Manny brought me to the dressing room full of colorful costumes. Ball gowns, Chinese traditional costumes and chongsams, Japanese kimonos, masks, hats, wigs, headdresses, gloves, and all sorts of different costumes and props. And Manny was right. He knew that I'd be speechless and could only utter "Wow!" every now and then.

Manny gave me the freedom to choose what I'd like to wear for my 3 sets/wardrobe changes. He said he wanted an elegant ball gown for my first set and as suggested by Krystal the day before, I chose the purple ball gown. After doing my own makeup and hair in the dressing room, we went to the living room of the mansion and we started shooting. We also used different beautiful masks as props.

On my second set, Manny wanted an oriental Chinese opera theme again that was a bit similar to the one I wore for the workshop, with a different design and headdress. I did my makeup slightly different instead of just smearing the eyeshadow color around my eyes. We then went up to the rooftop and started shooting at the rooftop garden/patio. After the rooftop session, we went back to the theatre's dressing room to change my headdress to blue. We went to the study room where the owners love to do their Chinese paintings.

The last set was something that I haven't done before - a Japanese Kabuki theme. Doing my own Kabuki makeup was a bit of a challenge as I had to make my skin powdery white. I wore a blue Japanese kimono with a pillow at the back with matching Kabuki wig/headdress. For once, it was also a challenge for pose to be under the noontime sun at the rooftop in my oh-so-thick face, errr, makeup. LOL.

It was tiring as it was my second day of almost no-sleep at all but it was all worth it. Great bonding time and working moments with the master of portraiture, Manny Librodo, along with the other masters in their own right, Dr. Ban Hup Teh and Marl "BadeeDadee" Cabusas. It was also a great time bonding with my daughter Selena, who was my efficient assistant by the way, on her last day in town before going back to Manila. And how can I ever repay my friend Reen for being so supportive and for being the "reflectorer" that day. Thanks, Reen!

Here are some of the shots by Manny Librodo in my ball gown and mask...


Here are some of Dr. Ban Hup Teh's shots of me in my Chinese opera look.


And here's BadeeDadee's amazing shots, too. Be a fan of his work!
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