The threatening typhoon has finally fizzled out.  Is there a need to be thankful for after all we’ve been through?


The rain used to be delightful.  Now it brings a feeling of heaviness.


The soft patters now sound like crashing bedlam.  Everything is all coming down at once.


Hope.  That’s all that’s left of the tired and weary spirit that has been tried too many times for far too long.


Tomorrow can always be better than today.  There are so many things to be thankful for, just look at the bigger picture.




For the past few Sundays I faced a dilemma whether I should take my camera or should I go ride my bicycle?  There need not be a choice to make if I still had my back up camera, but sadly my Lumix drowned in sea water last November.  Then there is that competitive urge to keep up with the veteran bikers despite the fact that they have about 9 year’s head start, and I’d like to make at least 1 road trip touring the islands on a bicycle in this lifetime.  That’s one for the bucket list.


For now, this is how I will be fitting my photography to biking, same as how he fits in that front basket.


and talk about fatherly love in teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle… I’ve been there, done that except I didn’t know that it would have been easier to just grab the shirt instead of reaching under the seat for a grip.


I was wandering for an hour, uninspired, wanting to go home and skip a post or two in the process.  Somehow something always comes up and this is where I guess I call myself lucky – an unexpected subject.

Jun has built a cottage by the edge of the bay, a fish cage nearby, and was able to send his 2 daughters to college from his hard work.  Everything he has built over the past 40 years has been washed out, and today he is starting anew.  He is hopeful, with big thanks to the people who have made it possible for him to make a fresh start.  One of these weekends he will take me out for a ride in his new boat and I am definitely looking forward to that.


And this view is the reason for this entry.







Timex revisited

The landscape here has changed since I’ve last visited nearly 11 months ago.  I remember it was a sunny morning, people were smiling, and all was good.  But now things have changed – the sky is gloomy, life isn’t going too well, but people still manage to smile, especially children.


In the coming weeks or months, everybody here will be relocated to a safer place up north.  They will surely miss this place, but it’s for the better.  Hopefully there will be no more nightmares and panic whenever a storm passes by.


Despite the low pressure and the gloomy skies, they seemed to be in high spirits.


Either his pair of shorts is long or his legs are just short, or maybe it’s both.


He did ask to be photographed, and I obliged.  Now if only my photo printer had not drowned, I would have given him a print, and everyone else whom I’ve photographed.  It was supposed to be my Christmas project but that didn’t materialize.  Perhaps it will happen this coming Christmas.  It should.


Weekends are not to be wasted.  Taking a break from work is a requirement for a better life.


And at the same time kids have to learn the trade so that they can better appreciate the efforts their parents are making.


This is home to a boat builder, a pedicab driver and a fisherman.  In a place like this, they can all be just one person.


This is San Jose, where the waves were as high as the coconut trees and black as night.


Tacloban is still on the drawing board stage.  The city’s master plan has just been presented a couple of days ago, but the details are still to be formulated and the donors’ pledges have yet to be funded.  We have a very long way to go.

busy street corner

This is by far the busiest Sunday I’ve seen in downtown Tacloban post-Haiyan.  Business is flourishing; traders from the south have occupied all available commercial spaces and the sidewalks haven’t been spared.  Long lines of people everywhere, especially lines for food.  Fastfood, that is.  Money is switching hands, and that is good.


The opportunities seem to be endless.  There are needs to be filled, and anybody with initiative and an entrepreneurial mindset is bound to succeed.  This vulcanizing shop on 2 legs could be the next success story.


I miss the old flapping metal wings of days gone by, the wooden wheels and the bright hand painted bird feathers.  Toys these days are mostly made of cheap plastic at a not so cheap price.


These boys will have to play with plastic toys for now…………


… and him, a plastic chick.

the way things are

The shanties that have been blocking the view of the bay have already been torn down and the evacuees have finally been relocated to temporary bunkhouses while waiting for the permanent shelters to be constructed.  Things are moving at a pace that a snail can run circles around it.  People have come to rely too much on relief goods and dole outs.  One misguided sector has started to demand cash and they are growing restless.  This does not bode well.  The relief phase should have been over weeks if not months ago and the recovery phase should have started immediately after that, but the government is dragging its feet.  

While some people wallow in self pity and helplessness, there are those who are eager to start anew.


Today is the maiden voyage of the floating tub Frigidaire.  I arrived just in time to witness the blessing of the bay water.


It was a simple send off.  We didn’t have any champagne around to christen it and before it hit water, and despite the availability of beer as substitute, we didn’t want to risk breaking the boat.


Just a few minutes into the maiden voyage and something tells me that that tub is going to become an old maid, never to sail again.


On the other side of the bay, a community is sprouting.  This will be the new “normal”, which is not any different from what was normal before the typhoon.


This is her new home.  Her previous home was on the beach at the other side of the peninsula.  It was washed out by the surge.  This new home is quite near the beach and is still inside the danger zone, also in danger of being washed out in the future.


there and back again

Summer is here once more but it seems like the days are getting shorter, or perhaps it is the working hours that are getting longer.  And then there’s the bike ride that I look forward to after a long day.

The last 2 photo walks threw me off my normal routine, and I’ve found myself having too much time with nothing to do on a weekend.  We still have a long way to go to put our lives back to where we were, and by going back to doing the things we used to do puts a semblance of normalcy while we’re on the road to recovery.

The topic of conversations still remains the same up to this day, and it can drain the spirit in so many ways.  How I wish I can forget about it, even for just a day.


So today I’ve decided that there will be no serious conversation except for questions pertaining to the coefficient of friction and maximum velocity.


After some serious experiments, we’ve concluded that anything that is fun should be repeated over and over again.


One day they’ll miss this beautiful scenery, especially the sunrise from behind the mountain.


I was very glad to see a familiar face from a photo walk a year or 2 ago.


Now this is chilling out big time.  We should all be doing this more often.

a tired smile

Come walk with me on a late afternoon on any given day and you’ll definitely smile at the sight of screaming, giggling and laughing children playing with wanton abandon.  Enjoy that smile because it’s not going to last.  This is one part of the world where population growth has been increasing exponentially while the  standard of living has been going the other direction.  The millennia old marching order remains the same despite the difficult life – go forth and multiply.


It is very common to see a family of 5,6,7,8,9, 10 or more, but nobody ever asked the mothers if they would like to have that many children.  Of course some will argue that having that many children is a blessing, but for whom is this blessing?  For the children who have to share  a bowl of noodles for lunch and dinner?  Or for the parents who have to content themselves with whatever is left after all the kids have eaten?  There are exceptions, though.  Some large families have managed to do well and live comfortable lives, but that is only a small part of the demography.  The majority is stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty, and here we have people dictating on state policies, people who will never know what it is like to be a mother of 10 who is living in the slums and too busy taking care of the kids and other household chores that there is no time to find work.  And what if one child gets sick?  Theories and dogma seem to be so out of touch with reality, and the sad part is that those who think they know what’s best are usually people who live in comfort.  They too are so out of touch with reality.

We’re past the 100 days mark from the storm of the ages.  People are still living in makeshift shanties with no relocation sites ready for them to go to.  Many places are still without electricity.  Consumer goods are expensive, and public transport ceases to operate after dark.  There have been one too many stories of drivers finding their fully loaded vehicle suddenly without any passenger, or some drivers dropping passengers off at houses where all residents have supposedly perished in the storm surge.  These stories will only continue to grow in number.


This is at Anibong.  It has been a long time since I last saw a gas lamp (Petromax as it is called here despite the brand being a Coleman or Butterfly).  I would like to see it lit after it has been repaired.


People have resorted to riding on 2 wheels.  I too have been on my motorcycle a lot more often, and a weekly bicycle ride whenever I needed some fresh air.  Vulcanizing shops are enjoying the good business.


It’s almost dinner time and there are still some customers waiting.  This is tiring work.

never on sunday

No I didn’t miss my Sunday routine, I just missed out on interesting things to shoot.  And I got tired of seeing so much destruction, of people still struggling, and of people just waiting for things to happen.  We’re still so far from normal, and it will be that way for some time, or maybe for a long time.  I need a break.


..and some cold drinks.


Boxes belonging to Mario.  All of them.  Smells very fishy.


The street sign is so negative.  Somebody should rephrase that.


6:30 pm, downtown area.  No standing in line to take the public transport, only standing alone because almost everyone else have already gone home.


A seat with a view, with a view of the bottom too.


Once there was a way to get back home… and I will sing a lullaby.

There’s a big difference between shooting on a weekday and shooting on a Sunday.  I guess I can take some weekends off for a while.

a quiet weekend




I will reserve my commentary for another day.  This is just too beautiful to spoil with social issues, no matter how pressing.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,723 other followers