Nonstop to Manila

Nonstop to Manila

Monday, March 8, 2010

Picture! Picture!

 (Pronounced, "Pitcher! Pitcher!)

I may have very well been most excited about feeding my new photography hobby on this trip...what with all the amazing photo opportunities I knew I'd have.   I thought it would be fun to put together a quick and fun blog entry around the theme of taking photos since that was my main obsession while in the Philippines.    

All of these photos of this wanna-be professional photographer were taken by my friend Marc and with his camera.   ;)     

(Below)  While I may be wearing that purple tank top for the 10th day in a row below, you can see that it unphases me since being a photographer for National Geographic is VERY serious business.  At least, that is the character I played every now and again.   If only i had a fancy camera...


(Below) I'm not *that* new to photography...I mean, check me out using the railing as a tripod.  ;)  This was taken at the Mall of Asia...the biggest mall in all guessed it..Asia.


(Below)  Even photographers like to have their photo taken.   Silly paparazzi...


(Below)  I may not have my Boracay tan yet in this pic, but y'all wait til I get really good at Photoshop....I'll be taking care of that minor post-edit in 4 seconds flat.


(Below)  Very serious photographer at work here.  Quiet on the set everyone.

(Below) I'm totally not against to drinking on the job.   As a matter of fact, the more San Miguel Lights I have, the more colorful my pictures turn out.  

(Below)  Cameras everywhere!  



 (Below)   Again, notice the resourceful move at using the table as a tripod?   Here's me shooting the pool sharks....(as seen in the "Lasing in Makati" blog posting:


(Below).....ooooohhhhh tattoos.   Speaking of, I've decided after enjoying my cheesy-as-all-hell henna tattoo, that I may get a REAL one after all.   I have an idea for what I want and where...I'm just not sure how I'll feel about it when I'm 50...

(Below) Fine models, diba? 


(Below) I'm not above fraternizing with my models..... hee hee

(Below)  Nor am I above fraternizing my with model pinoy BOYPREND......


(Below) "I LOVE YOU ARNEL PINEDA !!!!!!!!"


 (Below) Ok so this is part of the assignment that National Geographic sent me on.  They told me to shoot the Bayan and all of its colored splendor.   They said I was the perfect person for the job...y'know, considering that at that point, I had almost 40 tagalog words under my belt....


 (Below) Here's me being stealthy behind the van.  My only giveaway, my pasty white skin.  Otherwise, I was completely camoflauged.....completely... ;) 


(Below)  The woman in the van wants to know what the hell I'm doing there taking pics of the peeps and the jeeps going by.  In response to their looks, I would just yell, "Balut and Beers at Tita Ruby's tonight!  Ayos!"    Ok, so maybe I didn't really do that.....but they knew I was thinking it and they so liked me for it too. 


 (Below) So it was around this part of my photo shoot in the Bayan that I caught my best photo...the one that National Geographic plans to feature on the front cover of their 2010 "Best World Photos" book.  Or so I will keep dreaming...


(Below)  Hiiiii, Booooyyyys!!!!!!!   Smile!   Saaalllllaaammmmaaatttt Pooooooo!!! 


 (Below) Inside Tita Ruby's kitchen getting a shot of some clothes on a line across the way.   No such thing as clothes dryers here...maybe not washers either?


 (Below)  We sat RIGHT ON THE WING AND PROPELLER while flying in our itty bitty plane to Boracay Island.  


(Below)  Here's Marc taking a picture OF THE picture of the propeller.   My Dad will LOVE the shots I took of that thing.   I asked Marc about 10 minutes into our flight if he a demented vision pop into head of that prop breaking off, flying through our window and chopping our heads off.   Yes......he did too.   Funny and scary at the same time.  


 (Below) Don't I look official here on this runway?!!!


(Below)  Here's me taking care of my plane fetish.  


 (Below) Yes!  My first iguana sighting.   It was there that I waited and waited...and waited and waited....for him to come closer.  Just a little kiss was all I wanted.   Fat chance.



(Below)  Oh la la!  Self-portrait using Marc's sunglasses.  Here we are having drinks and relaxing on the beach while the sun sets.   

BTW, those are fake Chanel glasses I'm wearing that I got for 5 smacks on the beach.   :)  


(Below)  This guy pulled up to our catamaran on his kayak and was selling us coconuts!   He even cut them open and put a straw inside!   Hilarious.    It was so choppy and windy...but I wasn't worried about this guy.  He's a pro. 

Here's the video:


(Below) The photo shoots just never stop.

 (Below)  I had to get a photo of our henna tattoo artists, especially my artist.  He was stoned out of his mind....that tat still came out cool though!  I got my name written on the inside of my right arm in ancient philippino writing..... Marc suggested it and the guys were SUPER impressed.  No butterflies or flowers for this white Filipina import.... !


(Below)  Now how many photographers can you say you know with ancient Philippino writing on their arm?  

 (Below) Puppies!!!


 (Below) I am working on a blog entry that is entirely dedicated to the cats we found and rescued at Tita Ruby's house in Taytay.   I took over 50 photos and tons of video of these guys.  Stay tuned for the blog entry....what a story!  

Here's a video in the meantime...



(Below) And best of all, photographing my filipino family in the car rides was most fun!   It was like the Griswalds on their way to of.   



THANKS MARC for taking such fun photos.  I had no idea you were doing this......these will be great to look back on when I make it into the BIG LEAGUE someday..  ;)


Monday, March 1, 2010

Shantytown, P.I.

So if you are anything like me, you get overwhelmed when you see so many words on a page......say in someone's blog, email, or other written piece.   If we share this in common, maybe you also like me, will simply choose not to read any of it, skim the photos, and then just hope that the person who wrote the piece doesn't ask you, "So, what did you think of my blog??"  

If such is the case for you, not to fret.  I know who my fellow ADDers are.   So if nothing else, you must at least check out the first few pics below so you see the shanty homes that line what I believe to be the Pasig was one of the most interesting sights of the trip.  Also check out the last few pics as they portray how shy yet quick to warm up the cute little Filipino children are. 

So far in this blog, I've shown some of the people and sights of small-town-Philippines, Taytay, Rizal.   (How I love her so.)   The set of photos below were taken on our way to the Visoria and Quiapo neighborhoods, which were on the other side of Metro Manila.  (About 2.5 hours commute traffic from Taytay).   At this point in the trip, Metro Manila's HORRIFIC traffic hadn't even phased me because I was in total and complete awe with all the sights I was seeing from behind the windshield of Tita Ruby's van.   It was all I could do to stop snapping my camera at times and just be truly in the moment to soak it all in with my own eyes (vs. the lens).  


So I shot these photos while standing on the side of a long, straight road that takes you from Taytay to another road/turnoff that leads into Pasig City (and from there onto Manila and the Visoria neighborhood).   


I was blown away by the site of these shanty homes along the river, which were in such bad shape and looked to be on the brink of collapse.  Huge boulders and broken asphalt were situated in large piles between some homes, perhaps evidence of prior collapse. (Remember, this area was affected by the typhoon flood last Christmas).  

 After 5 minutes or so of driving down this road and seeing these homes,  I FINALLY asked Marc's  Rod to PLEASE pull the car over so I could take pictures.   At first, I didn't want to hold us up and ask to pull over, but as we kept driving on, I was getting sick to my stomach with the thought of passing such an amazing photo opportunity up.   I'm so glad we stopped. 


 You can't tell from these photos, but this river is polluted, the exhaust is thick in the air (I'm surprised downtown Pasig City is so clear in the background), and there are several smoke streams in the air from people burning their garbage.   Outside temp was about 90+ degrees with 90+ percent humidity.....




 I know there are a lot of what seem to be the same photos, but I really do love them all differently so I chose to post all of them. 



 (Above) When I was taking this photo, I could hear a kitten crying in distress, perhaps buried in the rubble.  It took everything I had to not start crawling over all the rocks to find and save it.  I had to learn very quickly here in the Philippines that animals are very low on the priority list and well...I can't save them all.  (Although I'd certainly try if I could!)


(Above)  Someone lives here. 


 (Above) Photo from Marc's camera.   You can really see the smoke from the burning trash in this photo. 


(Above) Clothes on a line outside someone's front entryway.  (Notice I didn't say front "door?")


(Above)  Here are clothes dying on a line that is across the street from where I was standing and shooting the photos of the river and homes.  


(Above)  This is looking up the road.  See the little kid in the blue shirt, red shorts right on the roadway?  

 (Above)  I was tripping out at how dense the homes, stores, etc. were along this heavily trafficked road.  Dogs, chickens, cats, CHILDREN, etc. all roam around and play along the very edge of the road here.  I even saw dogs sleeping, partially hanging over into the roadway and cars driving AROUND them.  Kids ride on mopeds, bicycles, sometimes 4 or 5 to a bike...and weave in and out of this traffic without wearing head protection.  Yet somehow, it all works out.  I never saw a single accident while there.   And I was on the road a LOT. 

(Above)  Yet another shot of the road

 (Above)  Yet ANOTHER shot of the road.  (Because 3 isn't enough)  :)


(Above)   Marc and I had a bit of an audience while we were shooting the shanty homes and river.  This little guy didn't quite know what to make of our activity.  


 (Above).   Here the audience gathers to get a closer look at what's happening. 

(Above).  Little did they know, Marc and I where taking this photo shoot quite seriously and were getting them from both angles!  Ha!  

  (Above)  Marc tells them in tagalog to get together for a photo.   

I think the little boy on the far left was saying to his kuya and ates (brother and sisters), "what's up with this funny filipino guy and that crazy american accent?"   

If he said it in English, it would sound like, "what ees up weeth thees punny pilipino guy ond dat crazee umereekhan oxent?" 

Oh and "Kuya (brother) is pronounced "koo-yah" and "Ate" (sister) is pronounced "Ought-Tae"


(Above).  "Hey, Kids!  Smile for the camera!  On three, Say 'KILIKILI POWER!'" 

Kilikili Power means Armpit Stench....ha!   I dare you to ask why "kilikili power" happens to be 1 of the 40 tagalog words I learned on my trip....!!


 (Below)  Construction works assemble rebar on a home across the street smile.  I caught them watching me so I was happy to catch one of them smiling.  Well, truth be told, that smile was a response to me yelling, "long sleeves hugh?  I can smell your kilikili power from all the way over here!!!!!!!!!!"