Monday, April 30, 2012

The face

Cat chiaroscuro

The cat? He's just here. Waiting for you to come home.


Now how about this one? Can you find an unexpected face in this reflection of the floor of a jeepney? Several people have. Sometimes, I can't predict what people will find even in my own images. Every so often, their reactions and interpretations surprise me, and I learn something new about other people's ways of seeing.


*While riding a Katipunan jeepney

the catch

cat in front of up arcade03 030312

That post of yours reminds me of those Where's Waldo? books, or that I Spy series.

My turn. So where's the cat?


*A cat at the UP Diliman Arcade area

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A photographer's shoe

A photographer's shoe

As the temperatures heat up all over the world, shouldn't we appreciate -- more than ever -- that increasingly rare, cool shade provided by trees? I once chanced upon a photographer, shown with his red shoe peeking out, who climbed this tree to get a better shot. I wonder what ran through his mind while standing against the trunk of this majestic acacia. Did he take this canopy of leaves and tree limbs for granted or did he consider how fortunate he and the rest of us are that trees like this exist?


Saturday, April 28, 2012


girl selling peanuts at masagana street

True. Give me a cool breeze and shade under a tree with that pakwan and I'll be good.

So we can give the meralco electricity meters a break from racing each other due to electric fan and air conditioner usage.


*Meralco electricity meters far away, yet so close from one of the neighborhood tree's shade.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Respite from the heat

Respite from the heat

I tend to think the summer heat brings out the worst in humanity: intolerance, violence, suffering, demolitions, and environmental crimes, to name a few.

Every so often, though, let's look for some moments of respite, scenes in everyday life to cool down our weary senses. Forget about Magnum ice cream. These cold slices of watermelon are cheaper, healthier, and more visually appealing.


*A watermelon vendor in Quiapo, Manila.

Monday, April 23, 2012

summer time

agham fire smoke behind trinoma sign

And with that, summer time is here. That time of unnecessary fire accidents as well as unnecessary trips to the mall.


*Smoke from a fire along Agham road last April 20, seen behind Trinoma's signage along North Avenue. The dark blemish on the top right is from a blood stain still on the lens after all this time :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On the sidelines


Like you, I decided to take a different approach to documenting Good Friday this year. I decided that I'd rather my images were in black & white and shades of grey than the blood red, which -- admittedly -- made me slightly nauseous. I also tried to focus more on the sidelines, on the nuances, and on the smaller stories, sometimes finding symbols and meanings that I had not expected. There was also a mood within the crowd that I tried to translate through this sequence of images.

Even if this story has been told year after year in various ways, by photographers much better than me; even if this story has become almost ordinary or clich├ęd to some, I still feel it is worth an attempt, another consideration. In the process, I find myself trying to make sense of what I see and perhaps confront my feelings about culture and society. And through such attempts, I get to realize how lucky I am to grapple with the language that is photography, which adds another layer of complexity to how I experience and express life's stories.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

send in the crowd

angeles city holyweek crowd

I think there would be no shortage of those two (flagellants and photographers) in events such as that.

Hey, it was my second time to document it, too. And I believe I already got the shots I wanted from last year. So what I did was turn back from the event, and take pictures of the crowd.

I hope they don't mind the limelight.


*Family watching the Senakulo at Baranggay Lourdes, Angeles City

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Of flagellants and photographers

The flagellant and the photographer

It's that time of year again, when the slightly pungent smell of blood spatter fills the air.

This Friday will be my second time to document the traditional observance of Holy Week in Pampanga. I wonder who will be greater in number during the procession and Senakulo: the flagellants and devotees or the photographers and tourists with their cameras.

I wonder, too, about what such traditions say about our society -- our enduring belief systems, motivations, contradictions, and extremes.


*In Barangay Lourdes, Angeles City during the religious holiday of Good Friday, 2011.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

the fear of translation

angeles city flagalant

One teaching I remember the most in my years of Catholic schooling was this:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Looking back at that line from Psalm 111:10 though, you'd think good 'ol David there was painting God like he was Batman. Until you realize that line was just a mistranslation (Oh go look it up yourselves).

Then you realize that mistranslation might be intentional, as fear is much better to use in controlling your congregation than love.

Then you'd realize again that, indeed, God is being presented like Batman.


*At Angeles City, with a Jesus mask-wearing flagellant.