I made my rounds at the public market and it looked very much like any other Sunday.
The usual crowd was there; the men selling their fighting cocks, and the vices they share.
The aggressive display of feathers in a game of intimidation that usually ends in a bloody mess after all bets are in at the cockpit.
At the other side is the vegetable section. A little man takes over a grown up man’s responsibility.
While another watches over the brooms that they may not fly away on their own.
The barber snips away, unmindful of busy Sunday traffic outside his window.
The brake repairman strips away the old linings, preparing them for bonding the next day.
It was a normal Sunday like any other…. Almost..
Exactly 2 years ago, hell and high water were loosed upon us. She had a name – Yolanda.
Most of us have managed to pick up our lives and move on, either out of necessity, or because there is no other choice. For whatever reason, life goes on. And tonight, as we pray for those who have gone, we also celebrate life and look forward to better things to come.
This year, grand preparations were made for this commemoration. Activities for the whole day and VIP guests gave the news media a field day with so many events to cover. Two monuments were unveiled, and a huge gathering of people came to attend the many ceremonies left and right. Candles were lit along the streets from Anibong to Tanauan, all in commemoration of the families, friends, partners and lovers whom we never had the chance to say goodbye to.
While the mainstream press and photographers were busy training their focus on the VIPs, I decided to visit Fisherman’s Village on this night. This place is one of the hardest hit areas; on one side is the bay and on the other side, the sea. It has seen better days and surprising myself as of this writing, it is my 3rd visit. (Timex and Timex Revisited.)
The bay is very calm and the night is cool. Across, the city lights stand out. The view is just breathtaking.
Candles for the dearly departed by the front door.
This is what remains of the neighborhood.
One small candle and a simple prayer before going back to the daily grind.
Near the airport and away from the limelight. This does not make the candle lighting any less solemn. On the contrary, one can easily be lost in fond remembrance of happier times.
They may be at play, but they know the reason for these candles. They have probably gone through what I can only dare to imagine.
For the departed and for hope.
We will never forget. Thank you world, for being with us during our darkest hour.
The Tzu Chi medical mission came to Tacloban City last October 22, 2015. Comprised of doctors from various fields of expertise, nurses, practitioners of traditional medicine and volunteers from Singapore, Manila and Tacloban, a total of over 5,000 patients were given medical attention in a span of 2-1/2 days.
A planeload of doctors, nurses and staff, all volunteers.
the one-man news crew
the waiting area
words of wisdom
the empty makeshift dental clinic one day before the mission..
prescription glasses for the patients
fuel for the long hours
prepping for the operating room
the pediatric clinic
Acupuncture was a very misunderstood science to many of the locals until they went home without the pain and the numbness.
A surgeon takes a break after many hours at the operating table.
Break time while patients are either being prepped or getting their final stitching.
The crowd outside.
All smiles to start the day right.
The fellowship night, starting with a solemn prayer.
A presentation by the Singaporean Tzu Chi medical team.
And these are the men and women of Tacloban City who worked very hard to make this mission go as smoothly as possible. A big thanks to all the volunteers who contributed to the success of this event.
2 weeks have passed since the medical mission ended, and that says a lot about how liberal I have been in taking timeouts.
While most of us are getting ready to hit the sack, there are still some people who are a long way from calling it a day.
The volume of unfinished athletic uniforms for the upcoming meet has the sewer going faster than a sprinter in a full marathon.
The glazier grinds off the sharp edges of the jalousie window glass at a rhythmic pace to make for an early morning delivery.
Meanwhile, the rest of the neighborhood sits quietly by the sidewalk, enjoying a late night movie on cable tv. It’s a peaceful night.
I am already on overtime and need to hit the sack for my early morning bike ride. Goodnight!
And this has become evening walks with my camera…
It’s going to be dark for a little while longer…
Al fresco dining at downtown Tacloban, anyone?
I just met a friend who hasn’t yet found the inspiration to return to photography, and then I ask myself, am I really inspired when I do these weekly walks or am I just following a routine? Short answer: this has become routine, and then once in a while inspiration hits me from out of nowhere.
It’s almost midnight and I’m still doing a photo walk. Surely it’s not an addiction; I’ve skipped a few weekends here and there to make room for other activities and also to make sure that I don’t run out of subjects to photograph.
There’s really nothing new except for the haze that has covered the skies these past few days. I didn’t realize that it made for a really nice background.
On the left is the Tacloban City Convention Center, or Astrodome as it is called by locals. The lights on the right side is the city proper.
Fishermen are still out during this time of night to lay out their nets.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bay…
Hot water for coffee or instant noodles and some chitchat by the fire side. The man’s wife is abroad, and by the way his story went, she has probably left him. One of his children works in Singapore and the another in Luzon. Still another is unemployed and has given him grandchildren to take care of. He is living with a different partner, saying that his life could have been wasted if he remained lonesome.
It’s twelve o’clock and all’s quiet.
Today we take a day off from the domestic drudgery and enjoy a race weekend for a change.
the registration desk
last minute prep
to the starting line
the final push
mountain bikes on tarmac
four wheel category
dancing to the finish line
the clean win
the michael jordan of biking
the fastest young biker
racing to the finish
5 laps to go
the water boy
Win some, lose some. It’s all part of the game.
Mondays are usually dreadful. Adding an activity to look forward to at the end of the day makes it a little bit bearable.
If only there was lighting in the courtyard, there would be less grumpy people in the neighborhood.
A boat sits on its dock. The fisherman empties it of water from the afternoon downpour and talks about stolen fish nets, debts and his sick child. It’s the usual sad tale and I’m counting my blessings.
It’s the children’s job to play.
on a roll..
The weary rests.
“Then you listen to the music
And you like sing along
You want to get the meaning
Out of each and every song
Then you find yourself a message
And some words to call your own
And take them home” – Bread
In a nondescript shack on a fine Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I came across a small workshop making spring roll wrappers.
Who doesn’t like spring rolls? or deep fried banana wrapped in these paper thin sheets of flour?
The repetitive choreography here was very much like a lesson taught by Mr. Miyagi – wax on, wax off.
There are no fixed working hours. A shift is equivalent to finishing 3 sacks of flour. That’s roughly 12 hours of work but the pay is ok.
Click here to watch the video.
Monday evening at the market.
The footwear section. Used shoes, slippers and sandals, still functional and affordable for everyone.
The vegetable section of the public market.
the entertainment department
The meat section is almost empty.
Port area during a freak thunderstorm.
At the transport terminal waiting for the last trip for the night.