konica c35

Manila Chinatown: The World’s Oldest

Posted on February 8, 2009

It’s Chinese New Year. Ongpin Street–the main thoroughfare of Manila Chinatown– is a traffic jam of shoppers weighed downed by their bags of tikoy (rice cake), ube hopia (taro pastry), and ma chang (meat-filled sticky rice).  Despite their heavy load, they continue to jostle, crane their necks and chirpily browse the sidewalks of trinket hawkers bargaining jade amulets, bracelets, and good luck charms in Fookien-accented Tagalog. Goldsmiths, vegetable vendors and traditional medicine sellers soon chime in. Beneath all the hullabaloo, atRead More

Manila Metropolitan Theater

Posted on November 2, 2008

Aboard the LRT before the train crosses the Pasig River, you won’t miss it: a lonesome structure with curious detailing on the busy intersection of Padre Burgos Street and Quezon Boulevard, once the “Grand Dame” of theater during the heydays of Manila before the Second World War. Meet the “Met”, the Manila Metropolitan Theater.  Designed in 1931 by architect Juan Arellano (1888-1960), this abandoned building is a prime example of Filipinized Art Deco, the geometric and decorative architectural style thatRead More

Carcar: Heritage City of Cebu

Posted on October 21, 2008

A drive down the southeastern coast of Cebu offers relaxing views of mangrove beaches, arching roadside acacias and, most remarkably, beautiful colonial architecture… Carcar City–the newest city in Cebu–is one of its oldest towns. This gateway to the south derived its name from tree-climbing ferns called “kabkab” that once marked the crossroad to other towns. Known for its booming shoemaking industry (home to the uncredited largest shoe in the world) and mouth-watering delicacies like lechon baboy (roasted pig), chicharon (porkRead More

Fuente Osmeña

Posted on September 29, 2008

Built in honor of Cebu’s “Grand Old Man”, Sergio Osmeña–the fourth president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines– and to commemorate the city’s first waterworks system, Fuente Osmeña is a fountain rotunda where major thoroughfares converge: Gen. Maxilom Avenue (aka Mango Avenue), Osmeña Boulevard (aka Jones Avenue, towards downtown) and B. Rodriguez Street. The oval was built in 1912. Since the 1980s, this was where anti-Marcos and other political demonstrations were held. Before malls became popular in the mid-1990s, manyRead More

Pasig River Ferry

Posted on July 14, 2008

One of the most wonderful additions to the metropolis is the revival of the Pasig River Ferry which, since its inauguration in February 2007, leisurely takes passengers to and from the heart of Old Manila… through the Makati Central Business District… up to the outskirts of Pasig City, and eventually northwards to the shoe capital, Marikina City.  Sure, this may not be a trip down the Seine, but a cruise through the city’s first highway aboard these air-conditioned catamarans provides a uniqueRead More

Quiapo: Faith & Frenzy

Posted on March 11, 2008

If you can handle the nitty-gritty of Manila, holler your way through the rowdy streets of Quiapo–the labyrinthine downtown of the Philippine capital–where a plethora of goods are sold at most probably the best bargains in the metropolis. This includes, yes, photographic goodies like vintage cameras and film! R. Hidalgo Street (Map here) is considered to be the photographer’s Mecca, where, if you’re patient (or lucky) enough, you will stumble upon a true-blue lomographic camera (like a second-hand Lubitel 166B)Read More