hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Monday, March 9, 2009

mila | adventure . ubud & singapore

i was starting to feel low the night before but it was my birthday and we had planned on a road trip so i mustered up all my energy and away we went!

ubud (indonesia) is full of artisans!  the most amazing carvings on wood, stone, and other natural materials could be found on the roads of ubud.  i could have spent 2 days just walking through shops.  silver shops and weaving centers were spread throughout the area as well.  from my retail days i remember that the majority of the jewelry we used to order were either made in indonesia or thailand.  i saw it all with my own eyes.  it was amazing!  

the highlight of the day for me though was the monkey forest.  monkeys roam freely in indonesia and most especially at this one temple in the forest.  

this next shot is me taking a picture of curtis and curtis' photo is shown below.

curtis returns the favor... my shot.... curtis taking a picture of me getting this shot is shown below.

all that travelling around in the heat of course we had to stop for some refreshments.  the local beer is called bintang.  then it was onto more temples.  

in the hindu religion, the gods have a kind of caste system.  there are the big guys who always take the highest position, the middle guys and the bodyguards on the bottom.  the gods also have gender.  the offerings vary based on gender and position.  if you are making offerings to the bodyguards the platter might include things like cigarettes and money.  if the god is a female, maybe some sweets to get you through.  the fabrics wrapped around the statues are also based on class and gender.  it's all so very colorful and interesting.  it seems that universally, we as a people give our best workmanship in honor of our gods.
i didn't know it then but the low feeling the day before my birthday was signaling the start to dengue.  i had a fever off and on for the next few days.  we were flying out of indonesia and stopping at singapore for a day and a half before heading back to manila.  it was unfortunate that the fever prevented us from seeing more of singapore.  

singapore is incredibly clean and orderly!  it almost seemed like a movie set it was so pristine!  petra kept saying that it was so surreal.  the taxi drivers told us that singapore is so small it would take an hour and a half to drive from east to west and the same from north to south.  at one point it was a part of malaysia but has since been disowned by them due to politics.  isn't that always the case?  anyway, in all these politics it turns out that indonesia hates malaysia, malaysia hates singapore and they are all leery of the chinese.  can't we just all get along?  sigh.

in this photo... dinesh  is a long time friend i met thru flickr.  he's an amazing photographer!  i've watched him grow thru a simple point and shoot to his new olympus slr.  he's got an uncanny ability to capture street shots that have so much soul.  and as if that wasn't enough, he can also dance!  he's a traditional indian dancer --- it runs in the family.  his mother runs a dance school.

also in this picture is carmela.  a blast from my highschool past.  she's based in singapore but travelling thru asia for work but hoping to take a break at some point.  i'm keeping my fingers crossed for you carme!

milan is also one of my friends from school who is currently studying in singapore to further her career in ob/gyn.  isn't that amazing!  she brings babies into this world for fun!  lol.  petra in this picture was helping her out.... poor girl needed to cover up a pizza stain on her shirt.  petra's being helpful.

singapore at night is beautiful.  the city is all lit up and everything looks so serene.  i was so tired from the fever i opted out of lugging the big camera around.  as soon as i saw the lights go on that night i regretted the decision.  

the underground walkways (and subways) are a girl's dream!!!  it's a mall!!!!!  too bad shops close so early.  well, for my bank account, that may not be a bad thing.



  1. these are amazing! Love the one with the monkey resting his chin on his hand!

  2. Shop til you drop. That's what every singaporean girl will say. To select my choices, I sometimes visit http://www.visitors.sg/singapore-shopping.asp for new shopping destination ideas.

  3. Michelle! I can't wait for you to get back to the states! I'd like to meet up with you! Yes, Jasmine Star was awesome! One of the most sincerest person I've ever met and I'm glad she's become a mentor :)

  4. Wow, so amazing. I especially love the Monkey Forest images, how unbelievably awesome!! -Mike

  5. Well, I hope you had a great birthday even though you got sick. The monkeys are awesome. I can't believe how close they let you get.

  6. they are totally used to people coming up to them and feeding them. in some cases it wasn't even me doing the approach. did you see the shot in the dengue post where they used me as a jungle gym? that was all them. i was just standing next to the wall.

  7. Waaaay awesome! Looks simply amazing. :)

  8. I love those first ones especially!!