Hello! I'm Jasper Espejo, freelance website designer from the Philippines, at your service!
I've been delivering professional WordPress design and development to clients around the world since 2007. And this is my story on how I got started...
I grew up in Vigan, a town about 8 hours by bus north of Metro Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. Vigan is a beautiful town, listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Village because of the Spanish colonial houses and the old baroque church in the town center, all dating back from the 16th century.
In college, I studied Medical Technology but I realized later on that I did not enjoy being around sick people. After graduation, I took another course in Fine Arts. But after a few years hanging out with other artists, I learned that there’s not much money in it if you're in a small city like Baguio and unless you’re exceptionally talented.
My career’s turning point came when I went to work for the late Santiago Bose. Helping him create his large paintings in the late 90s was the peak of my short stint in the arts. Santi was keen on incorporating digitally manipulated images in his artworks, so he let me play with his laptop’s image editing program to produce images that were eventually transferred by acrylic gloss to stretched canvas and painted over. To accomplish the work, I became proficient in Corel Paint and, later, Adobe Photoshop to scan and digitally manipulate images.
While exploring the programs in his laptop I came upon Netscape Composer. I quickly learned that I can make web pages with it. I searched the web for tutorials and stumbled upon Webmonkey where I religiously read about html. I decided right then that I wanted to master this new technology. To push me further, Santi decided that we should make a website for our artists group, the Baguio Arts Guild.
For days, I read about Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver (owned by the Macromedia company then) from various online tutorials. A few weeks of self-study resulted to one ugly (by my current standard) website but that was where everything started.
Three years after my initial foray in web design, I accumulated enough html skills to land me a job in Manila with an American expat who ran a web design business from a home office. Within two years, the company was absorbed by a multinational market research firm and I was brought to Kuala Lumpur under a two-year contract to manage a newly formed in-house web team tasked to update the various company websites and to create online surveys.
After my KL stint, I worked for several American web design companies in Manila. In 2007 I decided to go freelance and have since helped many local and foreign businesses to bring their presence online.
The internet has changed dramatically since I typed my first lines of code in Netscape Composer. I am often amazed at the speed that new technologies develop. No wonder young kids now have to go to school to learn a trade that took me only a few weeks to study almost two decades ago. I do my best to keep up (still by reading online tutorials) because my love for creating websites is the one thing that has not changed. I am happy that after a few career dead-ends, I eventually discovered a profession that I truly enjoy doing.