It was the acts of courage during the 1986 EDSA Revolution that lead Monty Papa into the world of images. Back then, he was just a 16-year-old taking photos of the many rallies happening on the streets during that tumultuous moment in history. He was also a teenager whose parents forbade him from going to more worrisome spots like Mendiola or the University Belt in Manila.
Nevertheless, the amateur photographer made his way to polling precincts, Camp Aguinaldo, and of course EDSA, where he witnessed massive tanks crawling into a sea of protesters and other unforgettable scenes. “I was amazed as I saw the nuns go up to soldiers, place flowers around the barrel of their ArmaLites, and hang rosaries on their necks,” he says. “I guess I was bitten by the photojournalism bug.”
Though he had an inclination toward images, he wasn't able to pursue it. Papa says his passion “...devolved into taking photos of family, which quickly led to my losing interest in the art of photography.” And so he put down the camera for other things.
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Papa, now 50, became a stockbroker, the president, in fact, of his own company, Papa Securities Corporation, a father, a traveler, and also one of those crazy running enthusiasts, who has completed 17 marathons, including the six big ones: Boston, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, London, and Berlin.
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Three years ago, his daughter was accepted in the Savannah College of Arts and Design in Hong Kong, so Papa included a new routine in his already full life. Shuttling between Manila and the cosmopolitan city, he found himself searching for the best spots in Hong Kong, the places that don't look like the feed of your favorite micro-influencer or any of the travelogues that tourists pick up.