Ruben Nepales donates a copy of his well-received ‘Through a Writer’s Lens’ to UST library

Published April 2, 2021, 8:08 AM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

Ruben V. Nepales with a paperbound copy of his ‘Through a Writer’s Lens,’ originally released as a limited hardbound coffee table book edition.

Ruben Nepales, an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), donated a copy of his best-selling coffee table book, “Through a Writer’s Lens,” to the university’s Miguel de Benavides Library.

Pilar Romero, Dean of College of Education, presented the book copy on Ruben’s behalf to Fr. Angel Aparicio, Prefect for Libraries, Malu Madrunio, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Maria Cecilia D. Lobo and Diana V. Padilla, Chief Librarian and Assistant Chief Librarian, respectively.

Ruben and his wife, Janet, who are both journalists based in Hollywood, are proud alumni of UST’s Faculty of Arts and Letters. He received The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (TOTAL) Award in media, the highest alumni honors given by UST, in 2012.

Ruben donated a limited hardbound coffee table book edition copy of “Through a Writer’s Lens,” which features more than 1,000 photos of stars that he took in almost two decades as a photojournalist in Hollywood.

Each of the 200-plus top and beloved talents, from Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Stewart to Robert Pattinson, included in the book has an interesting, memorable quote culled from the photojournalist’s columns of these stars.

From left: Maria Cecilia D. Lobo, Chief Librarian, Malu Madrunio, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Fr. Angel Aparicio, Prefect for Libraries and Diana V. Padilla, Assistant Chief Librarian, receive a limited hardbound edition copy of Nepales’ ‘Through a Writer’s Lens.’

Also a passionate advocate and believer in the Filipino and Filipino-American talent, Nepales spotlighted in the book Lea Salonga, Darren Criss, Hailee Steinfeld, Jon Jon Briones, Vanessa Hudgens, Nico Santos, Reggie Lee and Vincent Rodriguez III; filmmakers Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza and Ramona Diaz; cinematographer Matthew Libatique; songwriter Robert Lopez; animators Ronnie del Carmen and Paul Abadilla; and more.

The special collector’s edition copies of the book, published by Bessie Badilla, creative multi-hyphenate who also served as the art designer and layout artist, sold out. The copy that Nepales donated to the Miguel de Benavides Library was one of the last remaining hardbound copies.

Now, the well-received book is available as a paperback (resized from 12” x 14” to 8.5” x 10”) on Amazon. The paperback copies, at $75 each, are available at this link:

“Through a Writer’s Lens” earned praise in the media.

From left: Diana V. Padilla, Assistant Chief Librarian, Malu Madrunio, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Maria Cecilia D. Lobo, Chief Librarian and Fr. Angel Aparicio, Prefect for Libraries peruse ‘Through a Writer’s Lens.’

Variety’s Tim Gray remarked, “This book is a great showcase for the photography and reporting talents of Ruben Nepales. With both, he finds the perfect moment to showcase these individuals, and Hollywood in general.”

Manila Bulletin’s Nestor Cuartero raved, “A stunning collection of works, both photographic and textual.”

Asian Journal’s Momar Visaya wrote, “Beautiful…The photos themselves offer a different, more casual side of the stars. Through the years, Nepales has developed a knack for capturing the right moments of his subjects when they show their range of moods, from pensive to playful.”

Positively Filipino’s Gemma Nemenzo commented, “Behind these celebrity revelations in pictures and words, this book spotlights what is obvious – Ruben is a superb interviewer with that most sought after skill: the ability to make his subjects feel relaxed and safe in his presence, the better to draw out their real selves. That he is also able to capture such animatedness in his pictures likewise speaks of his photographic skills.”

Emmie Velarde, writing for Rappler, pointed out, “Unwitting snapshots, cinematic quotes…A great number of these 1,000-plus shots were snapped during press conferences across a span of 20 years, with much forethought and respectful timing, sometimes with haste and urgency…”

Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Rito Asilo opined, “Gorgeous…It is this homegrown sensitivity and time-honed artistic impulse that have enabled Ruben to catch Meryl Streep in a seldom-seen playful mood, visually immortalize the delightful raconteurs concealed by Ian McKellen and Judi Dench’s much-revered screen personas, and bring out the natural charisma that makes George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Michael Fassbender and Oscar Isaac tick and click with their adoring fans.”

The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor wrote, “Imagine curling up…with a cup of cocoa and browsing thousands of odd photos of Hollywood celebrities: Robin Williams’ eyes welling with tears from laughing so hard. Olivia Colman appearing ‘unroyal’ with a funny frown. Or Ian McKellen wickedly breaking into song.”

“Through a Writer’s Lens” is Nepales’ second book, following his 2012 book, “My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood,” which won in the print journalism – book category of the Migration Advocacy and Media Awards presented by the Office of the President of the Philippines’ Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Based in Los Angeles, Nepales won honors from the National Entertainment Journalism Awards and the Southern California Journalism Awards, both presented by the Los Angeles Press Club.