Take Awesome Travel Photos and More with Ramon Magsaysay Photography School

Travelling is almost synonymous to picture taking.

Photos are some of the nicest souvenirs we can bring home after a blissful vacation anywhere. As a blogger, I definitely want to take cool travel photos to share to my readers and some to keep for myself. Thus, I’m always on the lookout for different ways to improve my skills on this area. I recently enrolled and graduated from Ramon Magsaysay Evening Vocational Photography School and here’s the epic story:

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Monsay Photography Class Batch 86 with Sir Pablito Catalan (middle, wearing gray polo) Photo by Jhay Collins

A Little History

A little over a year ago, I bought a Nikon D3300 professional camera in the hopes of taking better photos for my blog. I remember being torn about getting a mirrorless camera, which I heard was easier to use, and a DSLR. But just like when you’re learning how to drive, it’s better to opt for a stick shift than an automatic vehicle, right? Just so you get to learn the ropes of the difficult one first, and later on find the easier one, a piece of cake.

New Blogging Buddy 😘👯

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But boy was I so wrong.

Despite watching YouTube videos and attending short seminars on photography, I still haven’t mastered the use my camera. I felt that I haven’t fully used its potential and still have no return of investment on its 20K plus price tag.

I have no intention of being a National Geographic photographer; I just want to take decent photos for my blog, especially on the subject of travel. I’m also moving to the land of castles and beer, Germany, so I definitely need to step up my Instagram game.

Last November, I came across this post in one of the Facebook groups I was a member of:

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Damn perfect. At first, I had no idea where on earth Ramon Magsaysay High School is, but with a little research, I later found out that it was just along España Boulevard in Manila, one ride away from my place.

Again, perfect.

Enrollment Requirements and Other Important Details:

  • Completed enrollment form
  • 1×1 picture
  • Php 100 enrollment fee, one-time payment (YES. THIS IS NOT A TYPO)

Other requirements:

  • DSLR or mirrorless camera (obviously) I find it weird though that people are asking if they can enroll without a camera. I mean how on earth can you practice without one? Sadly, mobile phones can’t provide the same photo quality and flexibility as that of professional cameras.
  • Tripod, flash, and extra camera lens (optional) I actually don’t own any of these. Luckily, my classmates were nice to lend me their gears
  • Handouts (these will be provided with a fee of P10 per handout, always make sure to bring money so you can purchase them
  • Lots of creativity and patience
  • Portfolio upon graduation

Professor: Sir Pablito Catalan, one of the pioneers in Philippine photography

His motto: “Learn By Doing” – precisely why you need your own gear

Class Schedule: TThS, 5:30 to 8:00 PM

Class Duration: 4 months (I attended the November 2017 – March 2018 class, Batch 86)

Enrollment opens on the last month of the previous batch. The duration is also shortened during summer (only 2 months), but the classes are from Mondays to Fridays. Here’s the schedule for your reference:

Photography School 4

You can likewise join our public Facebook group to get in touch with our class and to get updates on the next classes  *wink

Ramon Magsaysay (Monsay) Photography School

Apart from owning a camera for over a year, I have very little experience in photography. This includes occasional news coverage when I was part of the student publication from high school to college and when I take photos using my phone. Because of this, you would probably imagine how shocked I was when I met my new classmates: more than half of them are already professionals who just want to get a legit diploma!

There was even one who was a wildlife photographer and a brand ambassador of a famous lens brand. No kidding.

At first, I felt out of place and too amateur to even share a classroom with them. Just look at these pages:

Cigam Photography

Twinks Photography

Nyhl Photography

Chris.Leyson Photography/Studio 45K

Red Eduarte

Seeing their shots made me question why I enrolled in the first place, LOL.

Photography School Takeaways

  1. New Friends

By being part of Monsay Photography Batch 86, I gained new friends who are hardcore photography enthusiasts. When I see their photos on Facebook, I’m just in awe on how creative they are and it inspires me to practice more so I can be just as good as them.

They also organize photo walks so we can all practice outside the class. But sadly, my schedule is always getting on the way so I never had a chance to join them. Nevertheless, it’s really nice to have friends who critic your work as sometimes I couldn’t really decide for myself whether mine is already good or something can be done to improve it.

  1. Network

My classmates are now my go-to people when I need help in deciding which gear to buy, which software to use, how to edit this and that, and many others. I’m blessed to have talented yet helpful classmates. Thank you guys!

Also, I’ll never know when I’ll need their service for big events in my life, right?

  1. Night Photography

My absolute favorite was our lessons on how to take photos on low light. We even went outside the school to shoot long exposures of the moving vehicles in España and I had the best time shooting firework displays at the Pyromusical Competition at SM Mall of Asia.

In fact, I went back three times just to get my desired shot. You’ll see that I have too much night photographs in my portfolio below

Insider tip: One of the best places to shoot the Pyromusical would be at the Music Hall; purchase at least Php 300 from Bo’s Coffee in MOA to get a slot there.


Last April 2, we had a short ceremony to celebrate the end of our photography class. The event was done alongside the graduation of the other vocational classes. During the graduation, we were given dummy diplomas as we need to submit a photography portfolio in exchange of the legitimate diploma, which was available one week after the graduation.

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Upon returning to Monsay to get my diploma, I was asked by Sir Catalan to talk to his new students and explain how I achieved the shots included in my portfolio. I was surprised that the class found my photographs beautiful and said that I inspired them to do better in class. I’m like seriously? Me?

They should have seen my classmates’ compilations, LOL

So here’s some of the photos of my controversial portfolio for your viewing; I’d like to know what you think about it…