Hello, my name is Niña Sandejas, but I use my rock pseudonym RosariOko (pronounced Rosar-Yow-kow) for very interesting reasons, too lengthy and unrelated to mention here. I’m very active on instagram.com/rosarioko, apologies to the people on my facebook.
I have been in the music scene since 2003. I sparingly started documenting gigs in 2004 while hanging out with Kitchie Nadal and working for Rivermaya as their stylist.
Eventually I found myself a constant fly on the wall at the NU107 studios without an official role, so I had access to a lot of artists and gigs and great access to new music.
Rock wasn’t my only racket. I did style Sarah Geronimo for one of her really early cutesy videos and accidentally deleted those images, haha. I hid from her whenever she’d spot me at music festivals, which I believe is the wrong move. We could have been friends. I have many pop stories for you and cameoed in their music videos but I won’t tell you which ones they are because they’re really embarrassing.
Taking images of our local music scene help me gain the skill the photograph bands not only here in the Philippines, but abroad as well. I’ve toured with Rivermaya, The Dawn, Greyhoundz, Razorback, Queso, Slapshock and Kamikazee not only nationwide but in the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Dubai.
I’ve covered several shows in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, including festivals such as MTV World Stage, Laneway Festival and Fuji Rock Festival.
Through these I was able to photograph my favorite artists such as Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, MUSE, Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Kanye West and I have to check my archives to remember all of them, but these are just my favorites.
As for local festivals, I was the official rock journalist for Muziklaban for 7 years from 2011 to 2017 until I outgrew it. Also, I’ve covered a lot of local festivals, but I don’t even know what the GetMusic festival is, they keep saying I shot that. I wasn’t there. I don’t know who wrote that press release but can I just say please do your research!
I don’t really have any definitive photography awards except for my photo being chosen by JPG Magazine in 2007 for an exhibit called, “Breakthrough” with 21 other photographers worldwide for a show at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. A photo of Rico Blanco’s last gig with Rivermaya was also chosen as the People’s Choice Award in Focus Project, a collaboration between Artists Wanted in New York (and I won a decent amount of $$$ there, thank God).
My photos were shortlisted on British Magazine NME’s Music Photography Awards in 2010 and 2011 and the highlight for me was when my photos were constantly featured on their webpage. I didn’t win, but hey, it’s NM-fucking-E, right?
I do have a legit award, but it’s not for photography. I won the PMPC Star Award for Movies for Best Original Song in 2010 for a song called “Sana Ako’y Marinig” which I composed for the movie Dinig Sana Kita (directed by my brother Mike Sandejas, yes he’s my brother, not my dad!) which won several Awards in Cinemalaya. So that’s totally weird and off kilter, maybe it just shows that I’m really a frustrated rockstar.
I’ve also done album covers for Japs Sergio’s “Monologue Whispers”, where I stabbed the hell out of a balikbayan box to create a smoky world with several moons in it. I also created the whimsical cover of Clem Castro’s Camerawalls’ Bread and Circuses cover and lastly, the simple yet subtle cover art for Malay’s Your Year (Pochoy Labog’s band).
So I’m not sure if I’m missing anything. I always try to keep moving forward than to look back, even though the value of these images come when they are looked at in retrospect. But things are constantly happening, including my hectic life as a mother of a 2-year old who does not want to sleep.
I’m really thankful to my husband Niño Avenido of Greyhoundz (who I fell in love with during our tours) and the grandmas for helping me take care of our little Momo, otherwise I won’t get to do all of this.