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A boat passenger peeks from one of the windows while in transit from Tablas, Romblon to Batangas City.

Being a photographer and an avid traveler is more than I can ask for. It’s two of my most desired activities that I don’t think I can’t live without. What better way to celebrate this but with a special photo series at Binary Silver?

Series 55: In Transit is now commencing. These four photos are just a peek of the set with a total of 15 black and white images.

And speaking of special, what better way to mark my most anticipated month of the year, February, which is just a few hours away, when I get to be a year older not only in life but in love.

Continue Reading "Langyaw In Transit"

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The carroza bearing a replica of the 17th century image of the Black Nazarene which was brought from Mexico in 1607.

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Time ticked to 1400H and the crowd, filling all available spaces in Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, are already roused. Men are already standing while some are warning others who were wearing shoes to stay away or for women to go to the sides. Whistles are blown, the announcer at the stage is crying out instructions but already drowned out by the crowds’ chants of “lubid, lubid, lubid” (“rope, rope, rope”) and “viva, viva, viva.

Suddenly, the gates of the church are flung wide open and the pair of abaca ropes stretches out to the sea of people where it is grabbed by the devotees. The small carroza bearing the 17th century image of the Black Nazarene starts its crawl as the devotees pull. Firecrackers erupt and smoke spreads, smelling of pulbura (gunpowder). Towels and handkerchiefs are thrown to the image while men atop the carroza wipes the statue and throws it back. Some men and women are ready to give an arm or a leg in order to jostle, climb up and touch the Christ.

Continue Reading "Madness at the Nazarene feast in Quiapo, Manila"

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A magnificent view of the coast of Caraga from a high promontory.

map_caraga.gif Other than the Spanish era stone church and Pusan Point, there is not much left to do in the town of Caraga. But on a clear and calm morning, at a promontory just near the church, this beautiful view of the coast and villages is just breathtaking. The sea is clean. Fishermen are coming back to land with their catch and a few waves slowly approaching the coastline draws a moving white line.

There are lodging houses here but the ones found at the town center are sometimes not available. It is better to use the government owned guest house but if you’re all alone, the place looks scary. But it is cheap. The caretaker offered it to me (no receipts) for just P250 for a night in a big room with toilet and bath. As for food, there are several eateries or carinderias around. If you’re not particularly sure of the suitability of the meal, buy canned food and have it cooked.

Continue Reading "Around the town of Caraga"

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Aklanons partying
nightly on the streets around the plaza.

theLOOP map_kalibo.gif Aklanons surely know how to party! And they do it nightly around the streets bounding this Visayan capital’s plaza fronting the church in the run up to the festivities of the Ati-atihan that is celebrated every third Sunday of January. And yes, I was witness to this enjoyable and exuberant revelry as I made a mad dash from Cebu to Makati via Mindoro while finding time to spend a night in Kalibo, Aklan*.

The plaza is all teeming with people from all walks of life: sitting on the grass covered portions, at the main stage, filling the benches and steps near the monuments or occupying the tables neatly laid out at one corner where people can have barbecue and a round of beer at the same time listen to a band playing. From here they spill to the street gawking or, better yet, join in the impromptu street dancing.

Continue Reading "Pre Ati-atihan revelry in Kalibo"

Caraga is not only famous for its century old, Spanish colonial era church but also, by reason of geography, its claim to be the easternmost point in the country which is punctuated by Pusan Point. This landmark is accessed in the town of Santiago but is still a few kilometers from town over rolling hills, coconut groves and small fields. One should ride a 4×4 vehicle but the best way to enjoy the trail is to hire a habalhabal, from the town or in Caraga but the latter entails a lot of expense as it’s quite distant.