just looking

When I started this blog, I couldn’t wait to upload and post the photos I’ve taken earlier in day.  That was then.  Now my photos sometimes remain in the camera, untouched for weeks.  I’ve come to recognize the issue; it’s not procrastination but a lack of motivation to bring my work laptop home to download and edit the photos.  Tonight, I brought my laptop home.  The thought of these photos waiting to be processed is beginning to disturb my conscience.

Where to begin after a long break?  The public market.  Lots of people there and no one would notice.


Watching eggs, eggs, and more eggs day in and day out.


Ol’ blue eyes.  I don’t know why anyone would put this doll head on a motorcycle.


Behind bars.  I think I may have disrupted their peace and quiet.


I have never considered getting tattoos and probably will never get one in this lifetime but that has never gotten in the way of my curiosity.  Some people probably look at tattoos with disapproval while I, on the other hand, am fascinated by them, excluding of course those inkblots that look more like doodles and chicken scratch.  Then again, everybody has his own story to tell.


This is no ordinary tattoo shop.  In fact, it is a not even a tattoo shop but rather is a junk shop.  And that isn’t a tattoo machine.  It is an empty ballpen tube, a sewing needle, a motorcycle tire spoke, an electric motor from a discarded CDROM drive, a cellphone charger, all held together by some scotch tape, sewing thread, glue stick and one small screw.


The pattern is hand drawn using an ordinary ballpen.  And it is done on sweaty skin on a hot summer day.


After failing to draw a decent pattern, the subject finally decided on getting 3 stars under the old tattoo.  His 3 children perhaps.


The neighborhood boys have also come to watch.


I forgot.. the foot switch is an ordinary light switch and it’s probably skin ink and not printer ink.   Maybe one of these days I will get lucky and be able to watch a professional tattoo artist at work.


It’s Election Day in the Philippines today.  We’ll finally be done with the political posts on FB and other social media sites.  I’ve done my duties as a citizen of this republic and I am looking forward to a better future for this country.

Meanwhile, it’s time to chill out on this hot summer day.


It’s been more than a month since I’ve last taken my camera out for a walk.  I guess I just needed a break and hopefully be able to see the same everyday scenes differently.


Gory Friday (Warning! graphic content)

Every year on Good Friday, a passion play of the life of Jesus happens all over the country. I’ve seen a lot of these plays as a kid, during a time when taking week-long vacations in some exotic destination was still unheard of.

As luck would have it, this is the first time I’ve seen it up close.


Penitentes line up in formation, getting ready for the procession at high noon.  Water is sprayed, maybe to cool off or to take the sting off the open cuts that have started to bleed.


A few hard smacks on the back to start it off.


The whip is made of leather or nylon strips with wooden slats tied at the end.


2 rows of 5 cuts on each shoulder blade. He asked for 20.


That’s 10 for him.


I may have heard 40.


The procession begins.  The scene, from the main players to the street audience, could have very well been an accurate portrayal of what might have actually happened.


And he falls on his knees; one of the many along the way.


Does this absolve any of their sins?


At the foot of the hill.  It is going to be a long hard climb.


and the burden is heavy.


Calvary Hill.


To the faithful, the stations of the cross.


As if the whipping wasn’t enough..


Smart phones have taken away so many things, like a person’s dignity and the solemnity of this play’s ending.  Much worse are those taking selfies.  Sometimes I wish people would practice restraint, or maybe just learn to be respectful.


The final moments, the relief upon knowing that the nails are going to be pulled out in a short moment.  And one last click of the phone camera.


catch of the day






Valentine’s Day threesomes





This morning was spent on a long bike ride and the afternoon in bed.  Glad I had some leftover unposted photos from previous walks or I would have been a zombie by now.  There really should be 2 Sundays in a week.




“bagul” or coconut charcoal, headed for the public market.


Sunday group

minding the business

Weekends are for those who can afford them while the rest has to keep up.


Hard boiled eggs and fried hard boiled eggs, take your pick.  It’s faster than fast food.


This is where the sole searching ends.

I hope you all had a great weekend.


the waterfront

Sunday morning is decidedly my best time to go out for a photo walk.  There is no work, no rush, no appointments.  It is my alone time although technically I’m meeting new people every time I head out with my camera.

Today is another visit to Anibong.  This place holds a lot of memories of the people I’ve met.  As I passed through a narrow passageway, I remembered having taken a photo of a boy who had albino rats as pets and I wondered where he is now and if he’s alright.  I hope he is, and his family as well.


The waterfront.


The morning chore of gathering water from the artesian well because there is no tap water in this area.


Signs of an early summer: kites.


From the sky up above…


..to the water down below…


The key to happiness is to have simple pleasures.

trial by fire

A fire broke out at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Around 70 homes burned down and more than 80 families were affected.  This is not the way to start the year.


The only consolation was there being no casualties.


There are things one cannot bring out of a burning house, and some were left with only the clothes they were wearing.


Being battle scarred veterans of disasters, people here painfully understand what it is like to be left with nothing.  Mobilizing resources has become an immediate response to situations like these.

Above is the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation – Tacloban Chapter unloading clothing, hygiene kits and blankets for the victims of the fire.  Aside from them, many other non-government organizations have also come to aid those who were affected.


Relief goods distribution always starts with a solemn prayer.


Tickets are distributed in advance to intended recipients of the relief goods.  This simplifies many things associated with the distribution.


A mother and daughter having a special bonding moment while waiting their turn.


Sometimes it is not easy to be on the receiving end.  It is awkward for some, especially for those who have always been independent and self reliant.   This is the reason why the handing over of these blankets have to be done formally, to give the recipient a sense of dignity.


Followed by a hug, to show compassion.  It goes without saying that empathy goes with it.


And a sack of rice for each family.


Spotted among the watching crowd….

That was last week.  Today, another distribution by the One Way Bike Club.


This time it is lumber and roofing materials.


A big thanks to generous individuals who made this possible.


I count myself lucky to be in the same club with these decent people.


In the next few days, everyone in this community will be sleeping under a roof.


A local resident.


Bayanihan is and will always be a part of the Filipino culture.  It is the spirit of volunteerism among community members to help one another.


What was left of the house and the motorcycle.


The fresh catch for lunch, prepared on a slab of lumber laid on the ground.


This was the kitchen, the bedroom, and the living room.


Better days are coming, and hoping for more donors to help get these people back on their feet.


The fire car wasn’t able to save the day.


The neighborhood convenience store.


Sunday morning bath and play.


Another civic organization, the Junior Jaycees, gives the children a much needed stress debriefing.


The sleepy Spiderman.


It is very heartwarming to see that more and more people are stepping up to help those who are in need.


Nobody is singing in the rain… not yet…


For the rest of us, life goes on.