Other than skill, equally important, I think, is the photographer’s intangible ability to make other people feel comfortable in their own skin. This ability is intrinsic to the photographer alone, and cannot be taught or shortcut. As an introvert and someone who is naturally aversive to be in front of the camera, Rainbowfish’s Matet and Rae are my go-to photographers because they make it a point to bring the client’s sometimes hidden identity out in a very visual manner. I think that secret to that is that they start to build the relationship even before, during, and soon after the shoot session is over. And they have such an ease to them - constantly laughing, making the day fun, creative, spontaneous. I’m lucky, as a friend and client, because they know how awkward I can be and so they constantly find ways to create a patient and accepting environment to capture the photos I feel best represent me. Cebu is lucky to have them too because they constantly innovate and elevate their craft to accommodate the collective taste of the times. Thanks, Tet, Rae, and the rest of Rainbowfish!

—Johanna Michelle Lim, writer at Dual Story, Inc.

I feel very honored to have crossed paths with Sir Nicolo of Rainbowfish, whom I consider to be a true artist. Fiercely committed to his craft, Nicolo is an amazing storyteller, and storytelling is what great photography is about. When I look at his images, the authenticity is just palpable that it makes me feel as though I am in it. But even with this crazy amount of talent, Nic always strives to push the boundaries of what is currently the trend and is not afraid to explore new ways of being creative with his work. He always knows something could be done better, and he always does it. This tenacity coupled with his down-to-earth demeanor and lighthearted presence allows his subjects to be just as they are in front of his camera, effortlessly and beautifully. This translates into images that have a soul, it's unmistakable. Anyone can own a camera and snap a photo, but only a few have "the eye" for it, and Nicolo is definitely one of them.

Mabelle Lequin, Wild Reverie


Charmie is a voracious reader who describes reading as an art form.

“I love to read because it makes me understand things more, my imagination widens, I get inspired. It’s more peaceful when I read. When I open a book, I become a witness to its superpowers. When I read it, I feel like these powers become mine,” she said. 

I call her Inday Charmie, who balances her Manang Evert’s obsession for words.

Aside from her work as an editor, she is also a volunteer artist of the non-profit, non-government organization, Basadours Inc., which is committed to spread the love of reading through storytelling. Most of Basadours’ posters and collaterals were designed by her. This Inday is devoted and she carries out all her commitments with a happy heart.

—Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo, correspondent at Cebu Daily News, chairperson and storytelling advocate at Basadours

Rae is one of the most talented photographers I’ve had the honor of working with. Her unique style and humble demeanor sets her apart. She is always ready to lend her time and talent for collaborations despite her busy schedule. It is always a blessing to be able to see the world through her lens. Things and people always come alive. Rae captures the stories the world needs to see in a way that is truly her own.

Chip Lopez, The Lazy Chef

I remember one time we went to Bali. He slept on the plane with saliva dripping from his mouth. That was a nice memory" is what Gilby wanted us to write about him. We were leaning towards telling everyone about that time he sang an old Boyz II Men song after prom while we were eating sisig or that he secretly has a thousand hip hop dance moves. He also didn't want us to tell you how creative he is - photography, writing, music - he's awesome at all that. In the end though, he's that friend that takes 3 plane rides to meet you in the middle of Ubod, drives down south with you to check out an old church, and pigs out on paella with you the night before your surgery - the ever-dependable, no-fuss, super-talented friend we're lucky to have.

Mark and Johanna Deustch, Happy Garaje

"It is a rarity for great creative talents to be equally strong on such qualities as humility, patience and discipline. Tying it up neatly with professionalism dedicated to exceeding customer expectations, respect for timeframes and high quality of work, then you have yourself the best partner for business, marketing and artistic pursuits. Jones Silva distinguishes himself for such and more."

Jovenir F. Bataican
Author, Trainer and Management Consultant
Ideas Central Consultancy Services 

Phoebe Espejo is a photographer based in Cebu, Philippines. Gifted with a careful eye that attends to stillness, nostalgia and the beauty of everyday life, her work reveals a warmer, tender world through youthful eyes- a soulful appreciation of the passage of time- apt for a name that roughly translates to 'bright mirror'.

—Marc Abuan