#BELLEssima18 in the Land Down Under

As we now all know, Presidential granddaughter, Isabelle Duterte, is celebrating her debut in a few days. Her Malacañang palace pre-debut shoot has been published last month.

But unbeknownst to many, she had her first shoot early December.

So as everyone were in awe with the beautiful ensemble she wore in her palace shoot, here’s another set to amaze us.

Isabelle had three gown changes for this shoot: Another two of Garimon Roferos couture gowns and an Edgar Buyan couture terno; all a perfect fit for the theme: “Belle of the Ball.”

Isabelle in Garimon Roferos © Gianne Carlo Chua
Isabelle in Edgar Buyan at Martin’s Place © Jp Velarde
Isabelle in Garimon Roferos at Sydney Opera House © Gianne Carlo Chua

And yes! That’s the iconic Opera House in the background as the two-day shoot was set in Sydney, Australia and the beautiful South Coast as her family were here on vacation.

L to R: Gianne Carlo, Angel, Isabelle and Shen
The team at Westfield Sydney

Her production team are friends of the family who are originally from Davao: Sydney-based photographers, JP Velarde and Gianne Carlo Chua, together with camera assistants, Angel Go, Icon Jen Chua and yours truly, Shen Sabater, and stylist Ivan Jeric Digamon. Make-ups were done by Isabelle herself and by Julio Caro at Chanel’s make up studio.

Cronulla Sand Dunes
Isabelle in Garimon Roferos at Cronulla Sand Dunes © Jp Velarde
Isabelle in Garimon Roferos at Coolangatta Estate © Gianne Carlo Chua

It was a light, fun and easy shoot as the debutante looked effortlessly gorgeous and was a natural in front of the camera.

Isabelle in Garimon Roferos at Kiama Blowhole © Gianne Carlo Chua
Isabelle in Garimon Roferos at Kiama Blowhole © Gianne Carlo Chua

We’re all lucky and honored to be a part of this team!

Some of the official pre-debut photos are already out in the respective photographers Facebook and Instagram accounts.

All our thanks to Wows Sangkola-Magno and Ate Lovelie Sangkola-Rumera!

Isabelle’s official debut hashtag: #BELLEssima18

LOOK: Isabelle’s Save the Date by GCC Visuals (Australia):


P.S. No taxes of any people from any country were spent on the production of this pre-debut shoot. 

Follow JP Velarde Photography and Gianne Carlo Chua Visuals on Facebook for any photo and video services and enquiries. (Australian residents only)

It’s a wrap! From model homes to interviews to wedding and pre-debut shoots in one week!

It has been a long week for me and it just ended tonight!

Last Sunday, my housemates and I went to visit some model homes as they were planning to have their house built soon. I didn’t expect that visiting model homes would be so fun and inspiring. I can’t wait to be able to plan for my own house soon! Here are some of the houses we visited over the weekend:

Model homes

Next, I’ve had a line-up of job interviews from Monday to Wednesday. All three were a success! Heard some ‘wows’ and ‘great answers’ from the interviewers! Tee-hee. After a few days, I got two call backs already, but I have yet to decide on which offer to accept.

Now, the highlight of my week has been the pre-debut and wedding shoots we did.

Cronulla Sand Dunes
@ Cronulla Sand Dunes

Town Hall, Sydney
@ Town Hall, Sydney

On Thursday, GCC and I drove to Sydney at 3:30 am for an early start on the pre-debut day 1. It was an all-day shoot and we went to Townhall, Martin’s Place, Centennial Park, Cronulla Sand Dunes then to Circular Quay. Then arrived home at around 1:00 am. Long day, I know! Whew! Can’t post photos yet but I can’t wait to share it to you all!

Glenn and Cj’s wedding © gccvisuals

The next day, Friday, was the wedding shoot. We, GCC, Icon and I, did some preparation shots and it was the first time we used the drone! It was one of the best Aussie weddings I’ve seen as everyone was happy! The couple have some beautiful vows for each other and I can’t help but cry a bit! Haha!

I was able to rest on Saturday morning, but I had to work in the arvo.

Visuals Team @ Coolangatta and Kiama

And today, Sunday, was a 7:00 am start for Team GCC Visuals (GCC, Angel, Icon and me) for the pre-debut shoot day 2! Had some amazing drone shots from the DJI Mavic Pro around Kiama Blowhole. Afterwards, we went to some vineyard to take a few photo and video shots. Finished the shoot at the client’s place for some Filo lunch!

Kiama Blowhole – Drone shot

I had to work again in the arvo but now, I’m in my PJs, freshly bathed and ready to sleep!

Learned many things this week! Looking forward to learning more in the next few weeks left for 2017! Thank you to GCC Visuals for teaching me how to use all camera equipment and for being patient with me!

For photo and video needs in Sydney down to the South Coast, contact GCC Visuals through Facebook, Instagram or at 61451 526 692 for Australia only.


Photo 23-11-17, 9 13 07 pm
Toowomba, Queensland

I’ve been asked numerous times about how I got here in Australia. It’s been a bit tedious to respond separately so I’ll write a rough round-up of the process.

There are multiple ways to enter OZ but I’ll be focusing on the student visa application. For information about other types of visa you can apply for, click here.

When I applied for the student visa in 2014, it has seven visa subclasses, but as of 2016, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) simplified it into one visa subclass, subclass 500. I’ll try to be as up-to-date as possible as the Department makes changes on visa requirements every July.

Let’s start…

  1. Ask yourself if this is what you really want. Studying away from home isn’t a walk in the park. You’ll be exposed to many new experiences: culture, education system, weather (depends on which state you’re staying), friends, expenses, workplace environment, to name a few; and it will drop on you, all at once.
  2. Decide what course you’re going to study. (Preferably a 2-year course, if you want an 18-month or 2-year extension after graduation) Then choose which school you’re going to study at.
    • You may want to apply through an agency which will be easier but may incur additional fees.
  3. Check your course fees and requirements. Check the English language test score your course requires. Medical courses require higher English scores. In addition, most schools require fees paid upfront every semester for international students.
  4. Schedule your English exam. There are five different English exams accepted by DIBP but the popular ones are IELTS and PTE. I find PTE easier and more convenient as results are out within five days. Unfortunately, PTE is only offered in Manila. Exams are always full, so book in advance.
  5. Gather requirements. While preparing for your exam, start gathering requirements like visa forms, transcript of records, diploma, birth certificate, passport(check expiry), NBI clearance, employment history and evidence, marriage certificate(if applicable), driver license(if you intend to drive here), and financial requirements. Photocopy all documents and have them signed as certified copies. A document checklist can be found at DIBP’s website.
  6. Apply at your school of choice. After getting your desired English score, you can now contact your school, send in required documents and they’ll send you an Unconditional Letter of Offer, which will outline the payment process. Check with your school if they have included medical insurance in your fees. If they haven’t, you are required to get an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). After paying, your school will send you a Certificate of Enrolment (CoE).
    • Note that you can’t apply for a student visa if you don’t have a CoE.
  7. Apply for student visa. Most, if not all, visa applications in Australia are lodged online. Your agency will do this for you but if you’re doing it on your own, create an ImmiAccount and follow the steps. Payment will be done through here as well. After paying, the account will list all documents that you need to attach to your application. It’s easy peasy. I’ve used ImmiAccount for two visa applications already. No fuss!
  8. Wait for DIBP acknowledgment. DIBP will send you an acknowledgment letter for the receipt of your application. They may request additional documents which you can just attach through your ImmiAccount.
  9. Health examination. If no further documents are requested, DIBP will ask you to undergo a health examination. You must create a HAP ID and print your referral letter found at ImmiAccount: My Health Declarations. The results will be sent directly to DIBP by your chosen health provider.
  10. Visa grant. Or refusal. Usually, grants are sent two weeks after your health examination. So congratulations! Or not.
  11. Other things to consider:
    • Accommodation arrangements. If you have relatives here who offer you FREE accommodation, then you’re lucky! Living expenses in Australia is expensive. Rentals are paid WEEKLY and may range between $150-250, depending on location and may or may not include utility bills.
    • Other expenses. Food allowance, course requirements such as books and uniforms, transportation fare, one-way plane ticket.
    • Work restrictions. Students are only allowed to work 40 hours a fortnight.
    • Work application. Let go of your pride and don’t be picky.
  12. Welcome to Australia! The first few months may be difficult but if you persevere and don’t give up, you’ll get through it!

This is not a thorough list of the application process therefore you may need to do additional research online. Let me know if I overlooked some steps. Thanks!

For exact visa fees, financial requirements (show money, statutory declarations) and other requirements not mentioned, please refer to DIBP’s website.

For nurses, I think you can choose a different pathway like a bridging program. I’m not entirely sure but you can ask fellow nurses that are already here in Australia.

Good luck!