S: Philippines 2011
FC: Philippines 2011
1: an e-scrapbook for you by Lenny Kaye B.
2: Manila Skies The plane is crowded with faces tense. No room for overhead luggage. Duty Free shopping bags are tucked away in the remaining pockets of air in between shoes, coats and complimentary pillows. We all, it seems, want the same: to get home and be relieved of our baggage. Once far away, we long to be re-united; once privileged, we want to belong.
3: The aerial camera descends as the colorful ambrosia of Manila rooftops comes into focus. The sky, however, is unicolored, smog and clouds collaboratively block the sun. I am warm in my cardigan now. Yes, ‘Xmas time is near.’ I smell the familiar Manila air and know I’ve arrived.
4: attending the Global Media Convention on Boracay Island | December 8-10 at Boracay Regency
5: Christmas tree in lobby of Boracay Regency
6: All you can eat... served by "Bruno Mars" with toothpick(s) | lounging with new friends | Capiz-girl Mihara, Manila's own Johanna, and Rhea from Iloilo
7: Ambassador of People's Republic of China to the Philippines giving an elaborate talk while we listen with one ear...
8: at "House Dayang" - home of the president of P.A.P.I. - Press Association of the Philippine Islands | ...celebrating his daughter's birthday with Ray Langit, Attorney and Mr.Andy and having to gracefully deflect a marriage proposal
9: waiting for my roommates to get ready ... | ... for our final convention breakfast
10: To Borgie: Morning mercies soothe the islands with soft caresses of the tide on the shore. Gone is the threat of yesterday’s storm: only clear crystal blues as far as the eye can reach. The trilling tunes of nightly crooners are relieved by the tranquil sounds of the sea. Forgotten are the stories you us told last night of shady transactions, unpaid dues, broken hearts, and far away dreams. Foreignness among foreigners. Now, on the beach, there is only the soft sand beneath my feet - the hope for a better day. The knowing that this will be another day that will await tomorrow’s morning mercies.
11: picture-picture muna sa baybayin | "... So, I hear you're from the land of many [beaches]?" "Oh, I'm not a bitch - but I can be one if you like."
12: picture-picture with Boracay's Mayor below
13: finalists for Philippine's tallest Filipino award... | with PAPI officials and delegate from Palau (co-UHM-alumnus) below
14: a favorite place to be
15: in front of breakfast venue
16: last lunch with the girls at Mang Inasal's: Bulalo with Inasal Chicken... counting the utensils.
18: An army of palm trees leaning towards the sun shields the island on a bed of light ocher sands. Around it, there is an opaline tableau speckled with idle boats balancing on wings of bamboo. Rich and poor clash here on Boracay Beach. A small girl – too young still to read – shows me a letter from the Mayor. It states that her grandfather has just died. In the distance, her mother, clad in a light pink tunic. The Manila mom playing with her tsikitings, unlike me, finds a spare coin in her purse for the beggar girl. On the other side of Station 3, a white man with a furry front-view watches a local buff canoeing towards his boat. “Taho-o-o,” the Taho-man cries. “Taho, Ma’am?” he offers.
20: Marc Gumboc, who came all the way from San Jose (de Buenavista)
21: peach Bougainvillea and the discovery of a Swiss resto in a small Boracay backstreet
23: tipedi-tipedi-toe they move towards me stealthily – sideways translucent on the sand if it weren’t for their tiny antennae and the lightness on their feet they may even have gone unnoticed slowly – as if with an agenda too precious to give away, staccato steps, maybe even choreographed – they approach me I wait patiently, quietly, a few more seconds and they’ll be right at my feet but just before they reach me the kuya with the pearls treads lovelessly with his tsinelas on the miniature crab fortresses, offers me a strand of pearls from the Muslim sea I politely decline and watch my friends as they retreat into their invisible hideaways | Crab Dance
24: an unusual Christmas-Parol made of crab shells at d*talipapa
25: Finding Nemo again
26: Boracay-Love in any language...
27: figuring out the light toy that financed 2 cigarettes for 5 pesos
29: Bora's scenic sunsets
30: the sky is never clear there is a soft gray blanket across my canvass i must take this time to paint my words now as the sun is determined to set any minute | there are but feeble hints of orange reflecting her last rays on the waves that are carried to the shore on tiny ripples | dark clouds shaped like an anvil cover her and i can only make out a faint circle behind the pool of blinding, lava gold light | the last scuba divers hop ashore, one more paraglider navigating his way back carried on the favors of the wind
32: ... my feet are stretched towards the sun's orange reflection in the sky my view is seamed by green treetops above the shoreline i close my eyes to memorize the impression ...
33: racing against the sunset at happy hour
35: enjoying my last night on Boracay Island with the friend of a sculptor friend | Two Negrito girls and their friend (whom i've seen laying in the shade of a palm tree) scan the dark alleys & nest on the front steps of Andok's Litson, each with a balut.
36: embarking on a journey to "Roksas" by RoRo
37: sleeping hills mystified by the distance appear greenish-gray to me... above them, fluffy white clouds like cotton balls against a baby blue sky. | a horizontal line divides my view into 2 perfect halves below it, an imagined royal blue were it not for the meridian sunlight and saltwater | turning all i see into Monet landscapes. a herd of dolphins crosses our path as our vessel slices its way through the pacific waters, leaving the ocean to bleed with white foams.
38: Karaoke across the street for 5 pesos a song | and an after-school meryenda from the (deaf?) banana-Q lady
39: enjoying the rooftop view over Mindoro-Oriental with Abby
40: waiting at the newly opened Spa-center
41: ...and waiting, and waiting - naawa na ang secu: inalokan ako ng maupuan | watching the pigs out front
42: hanging out at Tita Shirley's home in Roxas with the kids
44: light rose Crown of Thorns found in their garden
45: view of their rice fields
46: taro plants and Kampanilya bushes
47: Riabelle and Shakira with their friends from the neighborhood | Sandipo (aka Excel) and Ederline with Tita Belley
48: stolen shots of Roxas Town from the trike
50: learning about the Mangyan and their crafts at the local tourism office
51: it shows samples of the Mangyan art of weaving and some musical instruments made with human hair
52: trees of dark red Hibiscuses and pink Bougainvillea on the road to the beach
53: catching glimpses of the Mindoro sunset from the balcony | and at the beach
54: "piso po!" He says with an outstreched hand His hair is curly, His eyes light brown acne scars mar an otherwise well-molded, amiable face His canary yellow Jesus-shirt had me fooled for a moment until i notice that His eyes are empty He accuses a passer-by at the Roxas Bus terminal of having broken His window then turns back to me, asking me once again to kindly spare him a peso-coin i dismiss His stereotypy as coldly as i can, unwilling to be moved by His story
55: on the bus taking us on the ferry in Calapan and from there to Batangas ... with about 3x its maximum capacity
57: Up on the pilot's deck ...
58: ... finally some peace and quiet. The bus is parked on the lowest floor along with our luggage and ill tempers. In between, the passengers, with tots, asked to sit and have a snack, babies appeased, "we'll soon be there." Up here, at least, a sweetish taste on my lips does away with the memory of unpleasant aromas of Nissin cup-noodle soups from the lounge and the heat in the flooded C.R. (though the C., I fear, has gone overboard a long time ago.) I am offered a seat by the Captain, whose uniform is still drying in the sun, and I gratefully accept, knowing that in just a few moments, I will need to share spaces again with those in whom I see a part of me.
59: (very much enjoying the fresh breeze and the view)
61: disembarking the Montenegro ferry
62: Reese's 3rd birthday in Las Piñas, Manila
63: mmm... ang daming handa nila Mommy at Lola!
64: (reluctantly) sharing her toys with best friend Gabe
65: May-ni-la: who could describe the hustle and buslte that beats your heart? The telephone wires that connect one district with the next? The strange color combos of light turquoise on salmon to cover up cracked house facades? The taxi cabs scanning the roads for anyone who - crisp and polished - wishes to avoid the stench of traffic and garlic-roasted peanuts? Bursting at the seams, you host stray dogs for a nap in fallow driveways. Slipperless kids, chasing roving tricycles. Everything is moving, it seems, but nobody is in a rush. Waiting is a luxury you afford us.
66: ... Four hours away from Manila's congested sides treets, the Taal Volcano looks as peaceful as ever: dormant, nestled in the fresh water of the Taal lake. From Tagaytay, we are offered but rare glimpses at it through the bushes that alternate to obstruct our view with fruit stands and food establishments. Our appetites are whetted by hands of baby bananas hanging like yellow-green lanterns and guyabanos dressed in black and green dragon costumes. The cracked open jackfruit appear like yellow cartwheels; pineapples are piled on top of each other next to baby feet of ginger roots and sweet potatoes. And in between, as if to add a christmasy touch to it all, are the bright bulbs of orange mandarins. But as we drive further into Nasugbu, Eric steps on the breaks to catch another sharp curve and kindly takes my mind off food ...
67: snacks at Pico de Loro with the girls
68: picture-picture muna!
70: ... the cove is rimmed by dark waters as i step into it, shifting sands swallow my feet. there is a sunset somewhere, but from where i stand, there is only the dark green shoreline flickering like an old, grainy silent movie. The salt water pricks my cheeks, my body is itchy with tiny electrocutions. A family of mackerel fly across the waters' surface and I am bashful now to be invading their space... but before they can say anything, the life guard tells me come back to the shore ...
71: an artistic take on the rice fields
72: magpaganda muna | bago maligo
73: smelling the Plumeria trees
74: views of the resort
75: Evangeline's random moments | "we wanna wish you..."
76: walking to M.o.A. ...
77: ... for an Odyssey to Greenhills ... | ... with Hanna and her friends
78: at Greenhills with Luvly
79: testing Luv's talent for endorsing Plores de las Pilipinas
80: pink Poinsettia and bilious green Orchids
82: on the shaky commute back to Parañaque
83: evening rush hour should be the worst time to want to catch a Sucat-Bicutan bus. here, in the Ayala bus terminal, tucked under the Magallanes Skyway, i could pass for a doughnut from a Krispy Kreme factory inside an oven. the hot air that blows through the tunnel mixed with the buses' exhausts and my kababayans' sweat materializes on my skin and i follow the crowd as if rallying for a People Power 3 to literally hop on any vehicle taxiing slowly enough towards home
84: Christmas tree and ginger bread hearts at Resort World
85: Noche Buena a trois...
86: ...with Manang Julie
88: Hai(na)ku Feliz Navidad the carolers sing with out- stretched arms for loose change
89: breakfast with Auntie Vicky, kids and grandkids (in anticipation of toblerone-scented poo-poo the next day)
90: learning Chopsticks
92: Auntie Vicky | Nelvic | Daniel | Dustin
93: Ate Zalie | Ate Lolit
95: photo shoot in the front yard
96: mango tree in front yard
97: Kuya Bong | Auntie Vicky with Tito Arman | Tito Dani(lo) and Tita Nene
98: happy talking in the lanai
99: Aunt Pema with kagat-labi
100: Tito Arman and Tita Lyn
101: daughters of Aunt Pema
102: Tito Danny's car under the mango tree in the glow of the taxi cab
103: Tito Danny and Tita Nene
104: a new pair of glasses for Manang
105: Reese on the piano et al.
106: Reese with Daddy and Indoy playing with new toys given by Tita Lyn
107: Ate Ruth | Tita Lucy | Tito Nardo discussing over breakfast with Kuya Don and Ate Ruth
108: Indoy playing with Reese
109: Reese jamming in new dress from Lola Ining
110: Reese lifting the weights | of her Tito Ryan
111: "Is it a motorcycle?" - "No, it's for exercising!"
112: *ido = dog in Hiligaynon
113: in the shallow ebbing of my slumber, while the darkness dwindles into the memory of just another dream, i awake with only my ankles detained under the covers. my eyes are closed as i hark the neighbor's ido*, bidding his masters goodbye, have a nice day, echoing the tricycle engines that convoy them out of annex 32 only the sweet chirpings of the bushlark offer some consolation for unredeemed hours of sleep and while the doughnut man honks his rubber horn, i picture him with his styrofoam box strapped onto his BMX as he rides into the madness of the morning
114: whiling away the final hours with Puto Bumbong to sweeten the goodbye
115: Ryan takes us to N. Aquino Int'l Airport | (btw, my mom hearts Eeyore...)
116: Dubai Dawning It is with a heavy heart and a tearful eye that I find myself at gate 214 of DXB. My pack of Sky Flakes Crackers is the only thing that reminds me now of where I came from. Inside what seems an almost sterile airport lounge dressed in sparkling granite, I hark an unfamiliar silence... until, shortly after the public call to worship, my Swiss co-passengers start trickling into the waiting area and the guttural sounds of their dialects - like the scraping clear of frosted windshields - invite me back to reality. | view from airplane over Zurich
117: seeing the light at the end of the tunnel