A San Antonio transplant explores the South Side through a camera lens

Growing up in the Philippines, Jico Gallana dreamed of being a photographer. He couldn’t afford a camera though, until 2011 when he bought his very first one. Without any formal classes and relying solely on self-teaching from books and the internet, Jico has begun to make a name for himself as a talented travel photographer.

Jico and his wife have recently traveled to picturesque locales like Japan and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. He posts his photos on his Instagram and Tumblr accounts, where his fan base continues to grow.

“Travel photography, landscapes, and cities are my main thing, rather than events or portraits,” Jico said. “That’s what I’m really into.”

When he moved to South San Antonio six years ago, Jico settled into his new home, but he wasn’t familiar with the local scene. So, he grabbed his camera and began to explore. His goal was, and continues to be, finding off-the-beaten-path places away from the typical tourist spots.

When he’s not traveling or at work as a physical therapist at the San Antonio State Supported Living Center, Jico is out photographing his favorite spots on the South Side: Hot Wells, Mission Reach, and The Greenline to name a few.

Despite living nearby, Jico had never been to The Greenline until he saw a photo of the 43-acre linear park on Instagram. When he went to check it out for himself, he was amazed at everything the park had to offer. A photo he posted from that day attracted the attention of a fellow photographer from Los Angeles, and Jico was pleased to be able to share it with him.

“The South Side has a reputation of not having much to do, but it’s amazing!” he said.

As a resident, Jico is excited for everything happening at Brooks, like the new restaurants and jobs. And he plans to use his photography to make sure other people know how great his chosen home is.

“I’m the type of person who wants to know what’s going on. What I want is to showcase what San Antonio has to offer for people who haven’t been here before,” he said.

His goal is to grow his photography into a full-time gig, but for now, he loves the no-pressure freedom to explore the world around him.

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