wrap and roll!

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.

scenes from the market

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.


Eggs only.


Port area during a freak thunderstorm.


At the transport terminal waiting for the last trip for the night.

end of day

Another Monday is about to be over, another day is done, and all’s well.


The watch repair man has gone home.  Work will never be finished but it can wait.


Catching up on the evening news.


There are 2 storeys to a side.


phone home


I thought I needed to go somewhere new because everything is starting to look the same.  It turns out that I just needed to change my schedule and free up Sundays for other things I enjoy, like a long morning bike ride.


Just around the corner from my house, a dressmaker’s shop long abandoned, a food vendor waiting for a big break or just to break even, and a flower shop that’s moving out.


College students, commuters and traffic stoppers.


A food cart by the pier, getting ready for the long night ahead.


I’ve always loved the glow from these pressure gas lanterns, reminds me of the time when we would light one up during those many nights of total blackout.  Siblings and cousins would gather around the light and we had great conversations.


I didn’t know these people worked overtime.


These are Cinderella shoes.. they only come out at night.

I was planning on taking a few months off from these photo walks to use that time for other things.  I don’t seem to have a reason for that now.

just moseying around


Today is walk alone and talk to no one day.  Feels kind of weird after seeing this guy who is on a high from sniffing glue, all alone and talking to no one.


The second floor of an old decrepit building as seen through a hole in the wall of another decrepit building I was standing in, ravaged by that super typhoon and will probably never get repaired.  These were big colonial houses during their prime, but are now nothing more than a pile of lumber being held together by rusty nails.


do not disturb, I’m busy


flowers for Jhadine


the balloon man must have been up all night.


There is money to be made in scrap metals, and more money if the metal is stripped and sorted by type.  Iron, aluminum, bronze, copper or brass, each is priced differently and if care is not taken in the segregation process, the cheapest material in the lot determines the buying price.


Buying and selling scrap metal is very much like any other business. The chain starts with pickers who scour garbage dumps for any scrap of metal they can find, then the small consolidators who buy from the pickers.  These consolidators are the ones who strip and sort the collected junk and sell them to junkyards, which in turn ships them to larger consolidators who prepare the shipment to more consolidators before the scrap metal finally reaches a recycling facility, then to factories that convert the recycled metal to new products to be sold to consumers.  As new and better products become available, old, obsolete and usually non-working items are thrown into the garbage bins for the pickers to collect.


This is how metal is stripped – by hand.


This pile of scrap took more than 2 trips to the breakfast buffet table to finish.


Electrical wires, taken from just about anywhere and sold for less than the price of one Starbucks coffee.


This sale would buy just enough rice for lunch.


Part of the sorting process is cutting off the contact terminals still attached to the wires.


No more second chances for these bikes.  They will be cut up and hand stripped of every piece of metal for recycling.

It seems like I’ve already shot everything there is to see here in this city, until today.  We’ve had 2 festival parades last week (finally!).  I took photos during one of the parades but I’m drawing a blank, given the fact that I’ve grown less interested in anything artificial or staged.  I skipped the other parade.  The lack of connection to the subject is the very reason why I didn’t bother to write about it.  Hopefully next year will be different.


How much does a tattoo cost?


For a little more than $1, a henna tattoo.


What you see is not necessarily what you get.. but you definitely get what you paid for.


This epic faith won’t last.

the end of summer

Summer has officially ended….


… but a little rain won’t dampen the spirit of the boys heading home from a day well spent floating happily on an inflated rubber tire in the bay.


On the side of the busy road near the bend at Anibong stands a nondescript work shop.


In it one can find a plethora of handmade tools, among them being a couple of calipers made from scrap iron…


..and the main machine that brings in the business: an electric water pump motor hooked to a set of pulleys that drive the steel rod of a homemade wood lathe.


Not having enough resources to buy the right tools for the job hasn’t deterred Bitoy dela Rosa from rigging up a contraption that more or less does the same job.


This piece will be the main leg of a new coffee table.


The final touches.


Sanding the wood for a smooth finish.


The end result after a few hours on the lathe.


While most woodcraft shops would already have lathe duplicators to make quick work of things that need to be duplicated, Bitoy has to painstakingly create exact duplicates the old fashioned way.

Bitoy occasionally moonlights as an instructor in a vocational school but would prefer to get a job abroad to better support his wife and their 7 children.

how was your weekend?


Was it a happy wash day?


Or did you go bird watching?


Or maybe spent it with your very best friend?


Or did you have some bonding time with dad at the movies?

Whatever it is, I hope you enjoyed it very much.  As for me, it’s breakfast at the local fastfood joint with the family, and no, I don’t interrupt the moment by taking selfies. Maybe somebody can take candid shots instead.


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