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Pinoy Migrant Makes Headlines for Stunning Photos of Life Canada

"Malaking bagay ang photography kung bakit nalagpasan ko yung maraming challenges na dumating sa buhay ko habang nandito ako."

Filipinos all know the feeling of being abroad and being away from their loved ones. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) get homesick and some will just opt to go home to be with their family—foregoing the greener pasture offered in a foreign land.

For Lito Laparan, being in Canada is leaving a career in the Philippines to accompany his son. A former media man, relocating to a foreign country wasn’t in his plans. But when a petition came from his wife to live in Canada, Lito chose to turn away from a career he built and start anew in a faraway place. (Read: Meet the Filipino Who Overcame COVID-19 Alone in New York)

Wala sa plano kong magpunta ng Canada. Hindi ko lang kayang mahiwalay sa anak ko who was 13 yrs old then… ayaw ko lang lumaki yun anak ko na walang tatay kaya nandito ako,” Lito tells My Pope.

pinoy-photographer-captures-vibrant-canadian-life
Photos from Lito Laparan Instagram

Just like all Filipino abroad stories, Lito, too, dealt with problems and loneliness while living in a foreign country. And while he knew what kind of life awaited him in Canada—he can’t pursue a media job because you have to study in Canada to be able to have a career you want—Lito still chose to leave the Philippines to be with his family.

Hindi rin nakatulong yun mga problema sa Pilipinas that time. Yun tatay ko naaksidente, nagkaroon siya ng head injury dahil sa vehicular accident. Tapos marami pang personal problems. In short, sobrang lungkot dito sa Canada lalo na nung dumating ang winter nung 2018,” says Lito. (READ: How do OFWs celebrate Christmas?)

To battle and escape the negative feeling, Lito sought photography and began capturing the vibrancy of his adopted home. As a beginner, nobody was paying attention to Lito’s shots on social media. But later on, as he took the time and effort to improve, people began noticing him more. What was first a hobby turned into a passion that got him the recognition as one of the most skilled photographers in Alberta, Canada.

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Photos from Lito Laparan Instagram

My Pope talks with Lito about life and photography, and how sometimes all you need is determination and a little bit of skill to start something new.

Did you always like photography?

Yes, but I have a phobia in using a camera. Yun ang problema ko. Pero bago ako nag decide na bumili ng camera nag research muna ako , I watched a lot of Youtube videos. Nagtanung-tanong din ako dun sa isang kakilala kong photo journalist sa Pinas. Ayaw ko naman masayang yun pera sa pagbili ng isang gamit na hindi ko naman ma-mamaximize.

What’s your most favorite subject to photograph?

Sunset. Bata pa lang ako nagpupunta ako ng Laguna Lake sa bayan namin ng Angono, Rizal para pagmasdan yun paglubog ng araw. Basta merong sayang hatid sa akin ng paglubog ng araw. Yun bago kong paboritong subject ngayon ay street photography at mga landscape. (Read: Meet Natalia Tsarkova, the Pope’s Official Painter)

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Photos from Lito Laparan Instagram

Dito, lalo na kapag spring at summer wala ako sa bahay halos gabi-gabi . Bibili lang ako ng kape tapos pupunta na ako sa park at nanonood lang ng paglubog ng araw. I’ll take out my camera once the sun sets kasi yun ang oras na pinaka maganda, lalabas yun kulay ng photos. Dito sa Canada, nagkukulay pink ang langit matapos ang paglubog ng araw kaya parang photog’s paradise itong lugar na ito.

Can you tell us more about these photos?

Photo #1: Giving up Is Never an Option 

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Photo from Lito Laparan Instagram

I took that photo in Griesbach, a residential community in Edmonton. Meron kasing hill itong community na ito na kapag nasa tuktok ka makikita mo yun 360 degrees ng Edmonton. Paakyat pa lang ako nang makita ko yun batang yan na iniaahon yun bisikleta niya. Ayaw niya sumuko at talagang determinado siya na makarating siya dun sa itaas. So, parang ordinaryong tao lang na determinadong marating yun mga pangarap niya sa buhay at hindi siya magku-quit para makuha niya yun gusto niya.

Photo #2: Afternoon Walk 

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Photo from Lito Laparan Instagram

This was taken from a hill in Griesbach. It’s an ordinary scene here in Canada. Makikita mo kahit na anong oras meron tao na inilalakad yun mga aso nila. That’s how important pets are in this country. Gusto kong ipakita yun kulturang ito ng mga Canadian na sana magaya ng lahat ng mga Pinoy. Yun tratuhin nang tama at respetuhin ang buhay ng mga also. (Watch: This ‘Pinoy Dog Whisperer’ redefines the meaning of responsible pet ownership)

Photo #3: Downtown Edmonton 

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Photo from Lito Laparan Instagram

I took this during the first week of January 2019. It was close to midnight. I was wandering around the city, taking pictures of the Legislature building compound before they remove the Christmas decor. Pauwi na kami at naghahanap lang ng bukas na drive-thru ng Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s when we stopped at a stop light. Napansin ko lang yun ganda ng mga ilaw tsaka yun pagkakahanay ng mga building kaya kinunan ko. 

Photo #4: Travel Season Is On 

pinoy-photographer-captures-vibrant-canadian-life
Photo from Lito Laparan Instagram

This was taken in the summer of 2019 in Jasper, one of the most popular places in Alberta. Sobrang excited ko kasi sa postcards ko lang nakikita yun mga photos ng Jasper. 

Yan yun lake na pwedeng lakaran dahil sa mababaw na tubig. Sobrang na amaze ako sa lugar kasi sobrang taas ng mga bundok. Yun talagang matataas na bundok eh makikita mo na mayron pang mga snow sa tuktok. Humanga ako sa mga Canadian dahil sa pagmamahal nila sa nature. Naiisip ko noon na ibang-iba sila sa ating mga Pinoy kasi sa atin pinapatag yun mga bundok, kinakalbo ang mga gubat. I got jealous and angry. Naisip ko yung mga greedy developers at sa mga pulitikong nagpatakbo at nagpapatakbo ng Pilipinas. (READ: Wildlife Trafficking and Fatal Diseases: Is nature punishing us with coronavirus?)

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