Monday, August 31, 2009

Monochrome Monday: "ANTI-"PELLER

(Re-posting from my main blog, with slight modifications)

We have a joke here in the Philippines about a certain airline whose former trade name- Asian Spirit- mocked its flying prowess: You leave as an Asian, you arrive as a Spirit.

I had no choice- even our head honcho was flying to Catarman (a city in central Philippines) via this carrier. It would be conduct unbecoming a minion if I were to stomp and throw a tantrum given the dire circumstance we were in. Either way, it seemed suicide.

The air conditioning of the plane did not work.

The flight attendants had no carts to place their wares on. They resembled little match girls- what with the makeshift handle of the carton of food they were dispensing slung daintily around their necks, semi-wet with perspiration. I’d rather be a street sweeper than be a flight attendant for this airline.

Oh- the inhumanity.

There were no overhead compartments to stow our stuff in.

Even the cockpit seemed to suffer from lack of storage space: I swear, I saw plastic bags hanging just above the captains head reminiscent of local neighborhood stores which had buntings were foodstuff or what-nots were kept, when the curtain separating the cockpit from the passenger cabin was drawn aside.

We were seated beside the giant propellers that I imagined would become unhinged anytime and slice through the plane a la Las Vegas magic show- only this time there would be no happy ending. The two halves put asunder no one can put back together ever.

For the most part of the almost two-hour trip, it was relatively peaceful. I think I even dozed off for at least 15 minutes. However, there would be instances when the plane’s engines would ‘choke’, the constant whirring and drilling sound emanating from the wing area would fall silent. Quite naturally, the absence of the constant droning would slap me into a state of absolute wakefulness. And quite naturally, like anyone facing impending death, I can’t help but… Pray? No.

Chuckle. During those moments I would chuckle to myself, like a madman, just imagining my great fortune of having enjoyed what could have very well been my last meal- Oheya Multigrain Snacks, a Crossini-brand pastry with choco-hazelnut filling, and Refresh mineral water- inside a 36+-year old aircraft that resembled and sounded and felt like a washing machine. What a way to go! One for the blogs, I might say. Why stop there. Worthy of a movie deal even. I can see it already up a marquee: Death By Flying Washing Machine. That ought to catapult me to fame, albeit posthumously.

Guess what- I lived to tell the tale.

aboard an aircraft en route to Calbayog City, Samar, August 2006, using a digicam.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

PhotoHunt: Surprise

We spent about an hour or so exploring the Beaufort River aboard one of the tour boats from the marina. The antebellum homes dotting the shorelines were matched with many a great tale, including some Hollywood gossip about sunbathing stars who offended local sensibilities. We found neither movie actors nor the other major attractions on the water- the river dolphins. After scouring the supposed area where they congregate, our boat captain just proceeded with our quick survey of the US Intercoastal Highway as it meanders through Beaufort.

As we were about to return to the marina, the captain pointed to some old pier posts or wooden bridge support structures that have found a new purpose- perches on which local birds have created their homes. As if on cue, an osprey peeks out of its nest to take a look at our boat. That it became an instant celebrity amidst all of us camera-toting paparazzi is an understatement.

on the Beaufort River, Beaufort, South Carolina, April 2008, using a digicam.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: HAPUNAN (Dinner)

Isa na ito sa mga pinakakakaibang hapunan na nakain ko. Ang payak na platong ito ng mashed potatoes at lingonberries ay sinamahan ng sinabawang karne ng reindeer! Muli, ang pula-pula sa plato ay lingonberries at hindi kabahagi ng ilong ng isang lumilingon sa pangalang Rudolph... Sana ay hindi nga talaga... hehe

HAPUNAN = DINNER This is one of the most memorable meals I've had. This simple plate of mashed potatoes and lingonberries is made more interesting by reindeer meat stew! Again, the reddish parts on the plate are lingonberries and NOT remnants of the nose of someone who goes by the name Rudolph... I sincerely hope not... hehe

Zetor Restaurant in Helsinki, Finland, August 2007, using a digicam.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monochrome Weekly: ADVENTURE

It's so difficult to leave the house when great adventures can be had (vicariously) at the turn of every page while sitting on the cozy sofa.

at home, August 2006, using a digicam.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

PhotoHunt: Ripples

Completed in 1606 and renovated in 1854, the San Agustin Church is the only surviving church among the seven built by our Spanish colonizers in Intramuros- the Old Walled City of the Philippine capital of Manila. A mixture of Japanese and Allied bombs flattened the city in World War II but the San Agustin made it through the carnage since it was converted to a makeshift hospital for the war's casualties. Now a World Heritage Site, the San Agustin continues to evoke awe and reverence from visitors with its cavernous interior, ornate altar, interesting murals, and bullet-ridden facade, among other cultural and religious curiosities.

The photo above details the waves, curls, lines, and golden flourishes on San Agustin's pulpit- witnesses throughout the centuries to not only many a friar's sermon, but also to care tendered to wounded soldiers, and, currently, society wedding ceremony.

the San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila, June 2009, using a digicam.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: MERIENDA (Snack)

Matapos ang ilang pagliku-liko sa loob ng pamilihang bayan, narating din namin ang isang tindahan kung saan nakisiksik kami upang matikman ang kakaibang halo-halo ng Pikit. Gawa sa fruit cocktail, cornflakes, gatas, yelo, at asukal, ito ang natatanging pampalamig sa gitna ng kainitan ng tag-araw sa Mindanao.

MERIENDA = SNACK After weaving through the aisles of the public market, we found ourselves amidst the throng of people inside a snack shop eager to taste this unique Pikit concoction. Made from canned fruits, cornflakes, milk, shaved ice, and sugar, the Pikit halo-halo is the best way to cool down after staying under the summer Mindanao sun.

halo-halo shop, public market of Pikit, North Cotabato, March 2009, using a digicamera.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monochrome Monday: CUT

A boy has his hair cut by a barber practicing his trade in an outdoors community salon beside the Pasig River.

I once had a barber who cut my hair once every three weeks since I was three years old until I was 25. When we moved from my hometown to a metropolitan area some 30kms away, I opted to go have my hair taken care of by barbers in a shopping mall but it has never been the same.

I hope this young one will continue to enjoy the expertise and extra TLC of their local barber.

a Gawad Kalinga village in Mandaluyong City, 2007, using my Woca 120G toy camera.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

PhotoHunt: Artificial

This human-made lake is a favorite among amateur fishing enthusiasts. For romantics, it is a perfect setting for weekend escapades. For families, it forms part of a refreshing summer getaway. For me, it is an interesting, if not lulling, photo opportunity...

Isla Parilla Resort, Alabel, March 2009, using a digicam.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: TANGHALIAN (Lunch)

Tamang-tama ang dating namin sa lugar na ito: kasal ng anak ng isang mataas na pinuno ng lalawigan. Sa ilalim ng pinagtagpi-tagping parachute, kawa-kawang pagkain ang inihanda para sa daan-daang dumalo sa salu-salo. Bagaman dala-dala lamang namin ang aming mga sarili sa tanghaliang ito (kami ay "aksidenteng" naimbitahan lamang), nag-alay naman ng mga katutubong sayaw ang ilan sa mga kababayan ng bagong kasal. Busog ang aming tiyan sa kanilang masarap na kanin at nag-uumapaw na kaldereta, busog naman ang aming mga puso't isipan sa kanilang kabaitan at ibinahaging kabihasnan.

TANGHALIAN = LUNCH Our arrival was perfectly timed: it was the wedding day of one of the children of a top leader of the province. Under the makeshift tent, a seemingly unending parade of food was made available to hundreds of guests. While our presence was our present to the newlyweds (since our invitation to the event was... "impromptu"), groups of their neighbors gifted the couple with performances of local dances. Our bellies were filled with the delicious fare and we got to take home a generous amount of their culture and innate kindness.

Bontoc, April 2006, using a digicam.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monochrome Monday: PAUSE

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come...
"Funeral Blues" - W. H. Auden

Rest in peace, dear Cory Aquino, former President of the Republic of the Philippines. For leading the fight that toppled a dictator, restored democracy, and forged a nation ever so strongly together- we will be eternally grateful.

Calderon Hall, University of the Philippines College of Medicine, September 2006, using a digicam.