Friday, January 27, 2012

Of dragons, lions, temples, and streets

Inside Seng Guan Temple

A fire breathing performer during Chinese New Year



An unusual group of lion dancers

Lion dancers

At Estero

At Estero

A girl and a dancing lion

Instead of elephants in the room, let's get back to the dragons and other mythical (and ordinary beings) that abounded during the recent Chinese New Year celebrations in Manila.

From the streets to the temples, it was challenging to see and capture the order within the chaos. Amidst the crowds participating in the festivities and rituals, there were also scenes that revealed the complexities, divisions, and contradictions in our society. Families with little means mingled next to the privileged; barefoot children danced with their homemade, papermache lion to the beat of a tin can drum, mimicking the more lavish lion dancers. While several people fell victim to criminal syndicates and petty thieves, others showed a generosity of spirit and shared food and money for the occasion. And in a few rare performances, children and adults played traditional Chinese instruments to crowds more attuned to the louder, garish music of the modern era.

Perhaps these photos lack the fireworks of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Still, here's a glimpse of what I saw while roaming the streets.



  1. Napapadalas ako rito. Ang ganda nung unang litrato. Nakatunganga lang akot nakatingin sa liwanag.