kids’ corner

Sabang District, August 17, 2014.  It is now 9 days and 9 months after Haiyan/Yolanda and this place is experiencing a rebirth.  Houses are sprouting like mushroom and the population density is rapidly increasing.  Soon it will be back to what it was before.


There is a season for the games children play and the toys they bring out, and this is the right time to go “around the world”.  I’d better take a step back or else the world will come crashing into the camera.


An obligatory group shot of the neighborhood kids.  Taking group photos of kids is one way of letting the adults know that I come in peace, especially when almost every adult male in this community has a lot of tattoos on them.


I think it’s time to sort photos like these, especially from earlier and happier times, not that this isn’t a happy photo.  And I will be needing prints this time.


Rubber bands are these kids’ form of currency.  It can be stretched to fit any budget.


Place your bets!  Color coded dice on a makeshift color board.  Somebody has to teach them how to save money so they can have a better life.


“When can we have our print?”

Soon, I hope.




slow day

The regular Sunday activities are slowly returning as people (city dwellers, mostly) have more or less settled back into their old routines.  While there are still many things to be done, houses to be relocated, jobs to be created, livelihood training to be taught, Sundays will always be days of rest and recreation.


Chess also happens to be a spectator sport, especially when there are bets on the table.


What’s better than switching channel between commercials?  Having one television for each channel.  Now if only the rest of the hundred and one television sets are fixed…


Teach a man to fish and he’ll go hungry if the fish aren’t biting.


lock and key

These crafts will still be around in the next decade or two, even in this world of throwaway stuff and disposable lives.





white elephants

Rainy day today, 2 typhoons this week.  Both of them missed us.  What a relief considering that a lot of the typhoon Haiyan survivors are still living in tents while the rest who have not been relocated have already erected their new houses along the shorelines, on the same site where they once stood, to be washed away again come the next disaster, which I hope doesn’t happen in this lifetime or the next.  By the looks of things, the government is stuck in endless meetings and has come up really short in terms of decisive action.


Art imitates reality, just not today.  For sure there will be glorious sunsets in the days to come, and sunrises too.


The show is over. This herd will be thrown in the back of a truck and shipped to the next destination.


With the elephants out of commission, he’ll have to settle for whatever target is available.  If only he realizes that there are so many white elephants he can shoot at, he probably would’ve spared Winnie the Pooh.

street smart

How do you keep street kids out of trouble?


It might run counter to common sense to trust these wily kids with anything, but if there’s anything they could use, it’s trust.  Most of them are smart and hardworking, and if given guidance and education, they are the types who will most likely succeed.


No, he is not stealing the ice blocks that have just been loaded into the fishing boat.  That is ice that couldn’t be accommodated in the hold and would have just been left to melt under the sun.


They certainly understand teamwork.


And they don’t hesitate to dive in when the situation requires it.


There seems to be  a tacit understanding between these kids, the ice delivery crew, and the boat crew.  The kids are given some of the ice for free or in exchange for their help, to sell to the refreshment stalls in the surrounding area.  The money they earn will hopefully augment their family’s earning.  Most importantly, as one delivery crew mentioned, it keeps these kids off substance abuse that is prevalent in the area.


child’s play

Children will always see the world as it is, and when they play pretend, it will always be a mirror of the environment we are bringing them up in and the society we are exposing them to.  We adults often do not realize how far down the hole we have already dug ourselves into, and in the process drag our children with us.


This child’s play has become too frighteningly real and disturbing, especially in this society where the population growth has gone unchecked.  While it is just a balloon under that shirt, there is no telling what is already ingrained in the innocent mind.


Our education system may have addressed the basics like teaching Jenny Rose how to write her name…


…but does it teach about the consequences of being too premature or irresponsible, or both?  Has society been too busy making a living and have forgotten that it is the numbers that define the quality of life?  Hasn’t anybody realized that all the arguments about population issues are being debated by people who do not have to fight off siblings for their share of the only meal for the day?


We’re back to normal.  Yes, indeed.  And it’s not good.  No, it never was.

Everybody has been hoping that after what we’ve been through, things would get better.  We have been looking forward to hear the drumbeats fill the streets with energy, with rhythm, with life.  This would be our celebration of life.

But the spat between our city and provincial governments has been on an endless rerun, the actors reading from the same script that should have already been washed out by the deluge.  Both parties have their own parades and their own reasons, and none of them is giving way.  No street parade for one party, and I wasn’t keen on watching the other.  This is an epic story but I don’t have a lifetime to spare on the details and it’s all irrelevant now that it is past.  We’ll see what happens next year, if it will still be another political grandstand.


This is what it is like to come up short – 18mm from more than 10 meters away.  No close up festival photos unless there will be a street parade next year or until I get another piece of glass.  I’ll worry about it when the time comes.


There’s always something more interesting than taking canned shots of dancers on stage, and that is candids under the bleachers, away from the heavy downpour.  But that’s only me.


Now if only our politicians will grow up and learn from these kids…



Sibling love.

The procession of the devotees of the Patron Saint, Señor Santo Niño on Monday afternoon after a fluvial procession.  I do hope that there are prayers offered for the enlightenment of our leaders.





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rain and water

Anyone who has spent enough time at the beach will certainly know the pleasure a cool soothing rain falling on salt water brings.  I am at a loss for words to describe the memories brought about by this, and so I leave you with your own happy thoughts of times gone by.






It’s an hour into the night and the light begins to fade.  The street lamps cast their glow on people now heading for home.  Rides are getting fewer, the wait is getting longer.  There is time enough to take care of the hunger.


Another shift has just started for the alfresco restaurant by the street corner serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.


From instant hot noodles….


…to a sunny side up


…or a cloudy moon, there’s always something for the weary traveler.


Hot water is available…


…for coffee but not for a hot bath.


Anyone can sit on the benches, even those who have only ordered smoke.


Junk foods galore;  Chippy has been around since my childhood days.


A splash of water, a dab of soap and a final rinse and the bowl and cup are ready for the next hungry customer.


The clean stainless cups and a pitcher of water stand in ready to quench thirsty customer while the dishwasher takes time out.


The vendor takes a little breather but the seat never gets warm.


back in town

If I were to count all the days I got out of bed early, most of them would be Sundays, the reason being the thought that I can go back to bed at any time during the day.


There’s nothing like having a quiet time to appreciate the surrounding beauty,


and being able to focus without distraction.


It’s all quiet at the carnival.  They’re back in town to entertain guests who will be visiting Tacloban from this day until well past the City Fiesta on June 30.


Jupiter is in full view this morning, and somebody at Disney needs the Batman.


The circus dog takes time to contemplate on the meaning of its existence.


This new attraction will either fly high or flop.  There is no middle ground.


No free performance for me today. The veteran trapeze artists are so confident about their abilities that they do not need any rehearsals.


Let the audience cross their fingers and hope that none of the trapeze artists miss a catch, but the chances of the swinging showmen falling into the net is much less than that of a spectator falling off this perch.


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