Hola amigos y amigas! First, I’m from the Philippines (not from Spain), so mabuhay and welcome to this website!
You’re probably here because you want to know what this website is all about, right? Since I don’t want to talk a lot and bore you, I’ll try to make this easier. I’ll introduce myself first and tackle the main subjects of this website in bits and pieces. Let’s take this one bite at a time, shall we?
Hi again! I’m Joanne. Some people call me JM, and some even make it shorter and call me J. How about you?
I’m a writer, blogger, photographer and host. I’m a very private person but through time, I learned that some things are not meant to be kept, but to be shared. (We never know the people that we can touch and bless when we do so).
This website is a way for me to do that. This is an avenue for me to share what I do and the things I love, which hopefully will help and inspire others too.
That’s it! But if you want to know more about what I do and why I do them, feel free to read more…
Ms. JM, why so serious?
I don’t mean to sound too formal, but the reason behind “Ms. JM” is because people thought that JM is a guy’s name. No, I’m not a guy. I may sometimes look like a guy, but I’m all female. So to make it clear, I’m a Miss.
My travel story…
(How it started? Read here.)
The gist: I love to travel and learn through people and experiences. Through traveling, I get to see the amazing masterpiece of God’s creative hands.
I find it astounding how my dream to travel became a reality. Traveling led me to contribute to magazines and host my own travel segment on the radio. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to do my first cover shoot and article for Travelife Magazine’s Taiwan Issue and host a travel segment at 103.5 Klite FM called Lite Bites.
(What about you? Do you have any dreams that you hope to accomplish? Maybe it’s time to awaken those dreams.)
Where to read my travel stories: Travel Notes
“I am so honored to have been a recipient of a heartfelt article. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for sharing your innermost thought and feelings on your experience. Your travels are divine, in the truest sense of the word. So is knowing you, JM. I thank God for you.”
– Chef Trisha Co (Melbourne, Australia)
I’ve always been svelte (you know – “thin in an attractive or graceful way” according to Mirriam-Webster). All right, I’ve always been skinny! So, it may not show, but I really love food!
One time I was having dinner with a guy and he said, “you eat like a bird.” Oh yeah boy! I eat like a bird ‘coz my Mama told me to chew my food well (lol). Little did he know, I was also called bottomless pit by a college friend. When not shy, I can eat… a lot!
A little background: I’m a graduate of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management from De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde. What I enjoyed most from my course was trying the different cuisines that we cooked (I tried) and plating them.
I enjoy anything about food – from street foods, gourmet meals, and organic (real) and healthy discoveries. So when I’m not traveling, I share some gastronomic finds (food and restaurants, and the things that I try to cook and learn) and anything about lifestyle at “Hearty Living”.
In 2005, I took up photography classes at Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). I didn’t have my own DSLR yet so I started practicing with what I have – my eyes. I started seeing things in different and more creative ways until I got my own camera.
My gear: I use Canon 60D + 50mm and 24-105mm (my all around lens). Sometimes, I also use my phone.
My forte: Nothing beats au naturale! I love photographing using natural light. Using natural light brings so much amazing colors, details, and life when capturing food and people.
Last summer, I started conducting my first Basic Photography Workshop for Kids and had a Lifestyle Photography Workshop for Moms at our exclusive event “Moms-Day-Out”, which was also featured on TV5’s “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.
What I love most? I find travel and lifestyle photography the most appealing and fulfilling for me. When travel and people (in their most candid state) come together, special things happen like these two:
“JM is such a delight to work with. She turned our trip to Batanes into an awesome magical pre-nup pictorial to remember. She’s such a pro without the quirks. JM also has the gift to make ordinary settings into extra-ordinary, beautiful images. I highly recommend her.”
– Mr. Ardy Roberto (best-selling author, sought-after speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, and husband of beauty queen and celebrity host, Miriam Quiambao.)
“Amazing photos captured by an artist’s eyes. The ordinary became extraordinary. I’ve never seen myself depicted like that before. My photos were like a mirror to my own self: that I am God’s beloved as his beautiful bride.”
– Ms. Cecilia Belda (Senior Officer External Relations Division at ASEAN)
WRITING & PUBLISHED WORKS
I started writing when my Mama gave me my first Hello Kitty diary when I was in grade school. After several years, I found the old diary and laughed at myself. My English and grammar was so terrible that I found it really cute. Years have passed and I’m still learning to improve my grammar. 😉
When I was in 4th year high school, I was “mistakenly” included in a section where all the crème de la crème of my batch was. That’s when I was challenged to do better academically in school. During that season, I also discovered my potential in writing.
After college, I started to write more using Multiply, Blogspot, Tumblr, and WordPress (blog buffet).
In 2010, I started my blog Hearty Chowder and self-published my coffee-table book called “Autumn Love”, which was sold at Mary Grace Café Women’s Can-Do Corner. Then, I began contributing for different travel and lifestyle magazines (which started in 2012) and wrote a piece, which was published at www.actlikeaman.org and in the book “Real Men Are Pogi” (see my other published works here).
This 2016, I was blessed to be one of the artists (yes, I doodle too) who contributed for OMF Literature and Googoohit’s Coloring book “Delight in the Word” (Coloring Through The Psalms for Grown-Ups), which is available in these bookshops.
It’s very interesting to discover the meaning of your name. Mine is “Joanne”, which means God is gracious. Do you know the meaning of your name?
In the latter part of 2012, I experienced new depth of significance to my name. November that year, my family and I lost a very important person in our life –Mama. This transition changed the way I write. Writing became one of the ways for me to cope and heal from such pain and loss. I wrote to remember the grace that I experienced during that time. I documented the details of that season not just for me to remember, but for my future children to know about the same grace that is available for them to receive.
The “Episodes of Grace” made me share my innermost thoughts. Eventually, I found out that it also touched and helped people. I began receiving different messages from friends and people that I barely know about and how it touched them. It’s very encouraging to know how our most challenging experiences can be used to inspire others, and in return, bless us even more.
Big thanks to those of you who read my episodes of grace. You inspire me!
Some of the messages that I received:
“Admittedly, I’m not a religious person… so I tend to skip anything — blogs, books, etc. with quotes from the Bible. I didn’t quite understand what “inspirational author/blogger” meant in your description. It was the travel and photography part that I was looking for in your blog. But when I started reading parts of Episodes of Grace, I would agree with your friend, it does move one to tears.
I like listening/reading other people’s stories. It gives one a different perspective of things… of life. Thank you for sharing your journey… though personal and a painful one. Keep writing… it doesn’t have to be part 5-7. Random memories… day-to-day experiences… you’ll never know who gets to read out there.”
“Hi Ms. JM! I’m Maze. I was browsing through the internet to find something worthwhile reading, that includes articles about travels and life. Well, I think I was just really looking for real experiences from people who would make me feel more that I live a blessed life. I came across your blog Hearty Chowder. I was drawn to the pictures and didn’t notice I was nearing the end of your blog already.
As I read through, I got inspired by the story of your mom. I felt your strong love for her but was surprised upon realizing she died already. I cried actually reading your family’s story of how you went through the fight of cancer with your mom. Please know that I admire how you celebrate and appreciate life given by God. Just prayed for you actually right now. You may not know me, and it’s alright. Just want to say that your life and how you have this romantic relationship with our God is very much of an inspiration to others. Have a great day, continue glorifying Him with the work of your hands!”
– Maze Mercader
An excerpt from POP TALK’s Baler episode on GMA News TV. I was invited as one of the reviewers being a travel & lifestyle blogger What a fun experience!
ALSO FEATURED HERE:
HOSTING & TALKS
I started hosting in 2008 when I was invited to emcee a series of youth events with funny guy Joaqui Tupas a.k.a. “Boy Kulot”. Eventually, friends started to ask me to host at their weddings.
In 2013, I had the opportunity to host an event for Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP). That’s when I began hosting different seminars and cultural events (see my portfolio here). This also led me to co-host “Money Talks”, a radio show with Mr. Randell Tiongson and had my travel segment at 103.5 Klite FM called Lite Bites.
TALKS | WORKSHOPS
- September 27, 2016 “Blog about your Passion”, First Pangasinan Youth Tourism Conference at Sison Auditorium in Lingayen, Pangasinan
- August 31, 2016 “Serving with a Purpose”, at the Great Service Event for CCT’s Staff in Tagaytay
- April 12, 2016 “A Heart-to-Heart talk about Purity”, Discovery Camp in Bulacan
- November 28, 2015 “Finding Your Place in a Busy and Competitive World through your Passion and Purpose” at the 4th International Conference on Business and Communication (ICBC) in collaboration with Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia at Miriam College
- September 28, 2015 “A View from the Top: A Million Experiences, A Billion Opportunities” at the World Tourism Day for the League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Miriam College Chapter
- September 3, 2015 “Travel Blogging 101: Places and Perks” at Travel Blogs & Logs for the League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Miriam College Chapter
- May 23, 2015 Basic Lifestyle Photography at Moms-Day-Out: A Special Event for Women in Pasig (Workshop was featured on “Happy Wife, Happy Life” at TV5)
- March 28, 2015 Introduction to Lifestyle Photography at a Wellness Workshop in Makati
- July 19, 2014 The Pogi Summit (Handsomahan ng Real Men) at CCF Makati (Host and Panelist)
- April 9-10, 2014 Basic Lifestyle Photography Workshop for Youngsters in BGC, Taguig
In every thing, that I’ve been doing now I believe in what Maria Forleo said that it’s possible for someone to be Multi-Passionate.
My work as a Creative Entrepreneur is never easy. From the words of one of the Uber drivers that drove me to work, in this kind of business sometimes it’s famine and sometimes it’s a feast. But in all that I am and with every thing that I have may I continue to bless the one who gave me these gifts and abilities (Psalm 103:2) and encourage others in one way or another. I think these will matter more and these would always make life like a feast.
I hope I was able to answer some of your questions – what this website is all about and what I do.
I like hearing from my friends and guests! For other inquiries and if you think I can help you with any thing (photography, writing, hosting, talks, et al.), you may send me a message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I may also accept cash advertising or sponsorship but it will never influence what I write on my blog. What I publish on my blog will always be based on my own preferences and opinions.
So do you think we can work on something that will help and inspire others? Send me a message or just say hi!