Wednesday, January 31, 2007


With Manila's temperature hovering in the mid-60s Fahrenheit lately, posting this entry today may suggest wrong timing. Nonetheless, thought I'd better post it now instead of waiting another month or two in time for the sweltering summer months.

This picture of a reproduction of a 19th-century ice box was taken inside Casa Manila in Intramuros. Although the museum's no picture taking policy was strictly enforced on that particular day as always, through a friendly request, one of the security guards allowed me to take a quick shot of it while no one else was around.

Many of you may already know about this, but it was only last year when I first learned from Carlos Celdran — while taking his Intramuros walking tour — that blocks of ice used to be exported to Manila from Boston. Smaller chunks of which would then be delivered house-to-house wrapped in cloth or rice husks on a horse-drawn cart. A typically-affluent household back then spent about a thousand pesos a month to get a daily delivery.

The fortunate owners of an ice box were not the only Manilans able to buy and store ice during that time. According to Ambeth Ocampo, the alternative method used to store a block of ice was wrapping it with a blanket and then putting it in the part of the house which was least cool, or inside a dry closet without any circulating air. Supposedly, with the exception of the sun and fire, whatever will keep a man warm will keep ice cold.

Also, according to Ocampo, the ice came from the Boston Lakes, famous of which was Wenham Lake ice. It was so pure and very clean, as well as stayed cool longer than other ices. It also proved suitable for putting in one’s drink or mixing with food. Hence the reason why the imported ice that Manilans enjoyed then came all the way from Boston.

But of more interest was the fact that had it not been the export of ice to India, in which Manila happened to be along the route, local folks back then would have never experienced any chilled refreshments or sorbet. Ocampo wrote, “On Average, the trip from Boston to Calcutta took 103 days; the record breaking time was 86 days. Now, how much of ice melted? Well, to give you an idea, only 38 tons of ice reached Calcutta from the original 160 tons that left Boston. It was a loss of 76 percent, but the Tudor Ice Company still made money. It must have been very profitable, because it was not long before Tudor had a bout a dozen competitors.”

Before Manila's ice age, the locals enjoyed a glass of water cooled in an earthenware tapayan. Ocampo knew about this. What he was unable to find from archives and old newspapers were firsthand accounts of the Filipino’s first encounter with ice. He believes that such stories would definitely make an interesting footnote in our cultural history.

Would it be safe to assume then that halo-halo might have been concocted along the same time during the 19th-century?

The Ice Man Cometh by Ambeth Ocampo
Aguinaldo's Berakfast and More Looking Back Essays
Anvil Publishing 1993

posted by Señor Enrique at 6:40 AM | 49 comments

Monday, January 29, 2007


To this day, I sometimes treat myself to a triple scoop of dirty ice cream. They’re not actually dirty per se, but for some unknown reason, we grew up calling it as such. The ice cream vendor who plied our area back then was Mang Fermin; usually passing by our house between four and five o’clock in the afternoon. He had the same flavors — ube, queso, chocolate and vanilla. And every year on my sister Inday's birthday party, she would always ask for a gallon or two of Mang Fermin’s dirty ice cream to be served along with her cake.

I don’t recall ever knowing the price per gallon of dirty ice cream back then, but it only cost five or ten centavos for a triple scoop with a sugar cone. On the other hand, Magnolia Ice Cream’s Pinipig crunch, my other favorite, was only twenty five centavos. But twenty five centavos could also buy you a bottle of Cosmos Sarsaparilla and a piece of hopia (mooncake) at that time.

Dirty ice cream remains popular among the kids as it was when I was a youngster. However, the creamier and more costly sorbetes or ice cream products from Magnolia, Selecta and Nestle are selling well, especially during the summer season. Besides these three, there’s another dozen or so companies out there, including the manufacturer of fried ice cream.

My favorite is Fruit in Ice Cream (FIC), though still a bit of a hassle to find a store that sells its products. FIC's supreme quality and unique flavors are incredible; I love Green Tea the most. For those mindful of their diet or sugar intake, FIC offers sugar free mixed berries and caffe latte flavors. And with such marketing strategies, who can ever resist not having even a single scoop every now and then?

posted by Señor Enrique at 10:00 PM | 50 comments

Saturday, January 27, 2007


The present Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is the sixth structure erected on the site. The very first one, made of nipa and bamboo, was built in 1581 but was razed to the ground by a fire two years later. Another one, this time made of wood and stone, was built in 1593, but earthquakes weakened its foundation; it had to be completely demolished. A new cathedral was later built on the site. It was the most impressive with three naves and seven side chapels; however, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1645.

A makeshift chapel next to the ruins was built, though temporarily, while the new Archbishop of Manila, Miguel de Poblete begged for alms from Manila’s residents to fund the construction of a new cathedral. In 1645, having collected sufficient funding, the fourth cathedral began its construction; it was completed in 1662 and would last for two centuries.

Unfortunately, during a Mass in 1863, it collapsed and killed hundreds of worshippers due to a massive earthquake. A fifth church was eventually built in 1879, and although it survived the 1880 earthquake, its toppled belltower was never rebuilt.

During the Battle of Manila in 1945, many local civilians were held hostage and subsequently massacred by the Japanese inside the cathedral. The American liberating forces, in retaliation, carpet bombed the entire cathedral and the surrounding vicinity to smithereens. Ruins remained on the site for many years until concerned Manila residents convinced the Catholic church in 1953 to build a new cathedral.

In 1958, the sixth Manila Cathedral was inaugurated. It was designed by Fernando Ocampo; Filipino and Italian artists created the interior artworks; and the stained glass windows were designed and built by Galo Ocampo.

Pope John Paul, during his first visit to the Philippines in 1981, elevated the Manila Cathedral to the rank of Basilica Minore and was officially named Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

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Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:19 PM | 28 comments


Inspired by the words of the great Manuel Luis Quezon, former President of the Philippine Commonwealth -- "education is the right of all citizens and that educated people is needed to ensure the upliftment of the masses and the creation of wealth for all" -- several prominent lawyers and justices founded Manuel L. Quezon University School of Law in 1947.

Its two campuses (the Administration Building and the Monzon Hall) still stand today on Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, Manila. These two structures, along with
San Sebastian Church to the west, are the commanding landmarks of this enclave of Manila's Quiapo district.

I have been going to Hidalgo Street quite regularly since late year when it was transformed as a photographers haven. However, that is the Hidalgo Street between Plaza Miranda at Quiapo Church and Padre Gomez Street. The area of Hidalgo Street where the campuses of MLQ University are located, is at the other side of Quiapo Church, across Quezon Boulevard, leading towards San Sebastian Church.

Besides the buildings of MLQ University and the Catholic high school of Saint Nazarene, along this stretch of Hidalgo Street are some vintage two-storey houses, though most appear hardly maintained and decripit. One can only imagine the grandeur they once projected during their heyday. Most notable of these old grand houses is the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, which is now a musem and stands right off Hidalgo Street at N. Bautista Street. But there is one particular old house that captivated me. I plan to go back there with my dSLR and seek permission from its owner to allow me to take some photographs of its interior.

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!


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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:25 AM | 19 comments

Friday, January 26, 2007


Time flies. This coming Sunday would be the fourth and final session of my basic photography classes held at Fort Santiago in Intramuros. It is a beautiful historic place; one of the oldest fortifications in Manila.

Named after St. James, Slayer of Moors (Santiago Matamoros), it stands at the mouth of Pasig River. A wooden relief sculpture portraying Saint James ferociously slaying the Moors adorns the fort’s main gate.

This is the site of Rajah Soliman’s native settlement which was burned to the ground by the Spaniards. In its place, the first Spanish fort was built; a palisaded structure made of logs and earth. The Chinese pirates led by Limahong destroyed it in 1574. Between 1589 and 1592, a stone fort was built only to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1645. It was then repaired and strengthened from between 1658 to 1663. Further repairs and renovations were completed in 1778.

During their respective colonial and occupational reign, the Spanish, British, American and Japanese forces made use of Fort Santiago as their military headquarters. The Japanese Kempei Tai imprisoned and tortured hundreds of men and women here at the height of the Second World War. Destroyed by the Americans during the battle of Manila, Fort Santiago was rebuilt in 1950 as a public park and declared Shrine of Freedom.

The fort’s dungeons were originally created as storage vaults and powder magazine. However, due to the dampness caused by the humid weather and the nearness of the vaults to the Pasig River, the Spaniards decided to build a new powder magazine. The original vaults were then converted into prison cells and storerooms.

Rumors abound that a flooding chamber existed within this complex — a small underground dungeon wherein prisoners stood helplessly as water flooded in up to waist level. And with the high tide, the water would rise and drown them. Supposedly, some twenty bodies were discovered by the Americans in this chamber when they occupied Manila in 1898.

Over the ruins of one of the oldest brick barracks dating back to 1593, stands the Rizal Shrine. Built in 1953, it is a modern museum with a permanent exhibition of the national hero’s memorabilia. A replica of Rizal’s cell where he was detained during his final days is the museum’s main attraction.

As I had once mentioned in a previous entry, Manila's Historic Fort, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect venue for a photography workshop. And for those who live in Metro Manila or in the surrounding provinces who wish to take weekend classes in basic photography, I highly recommend this workshop offered by FPPF. Seasoned professional photographers conduct the classes, and what would usually cost P5000 is only P2750 because the program is sponsored by Fuji.

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:21 AM | 24 comments

Thursday, January 25, 2007


When I was about ten or eleven years old, my sister Inday and I had seven close friends; regular playmates who lived within a house or two from either direction of our house in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Two of them were sisters — Baby who was the same age as my sister, and Nena who was a year my junior.

Whenever we had no school, we played from morning till lunchtime. We’d rendezvous again around four o’clock when it began to cool off a bit. Sometimes, when we couldn’t wait until the late afternoon, we’d play inside our house. Hide and seek was our favorite. And since it was our house, I knew every nook and cranny where I could vanish without a trace. When the taya or “it” guy started counting off to twenty, everybody would scramble off to find a place to hide. I would take advantage of this frenzied commotion by grabbing Nena’s hand to take her with me to my secret hiding place.

During the first two times, we would just sit next to each other inside that cramped closet and remain quiet until it was time for us to come out and join the others. However, by summer’s end, I had become brave enough to plant a quick kiss on her cheek. I never told anyone about it and neither did she. It remained a secret we fondly shared.

When we were among the company of everyone else; I hardly looked at Nena or speak to hear directly. I was afraid someone might pick up on it and start to tease us about it. However, in those rare moments we shared alone together, nothing else mattered or existed but her. On top of it all, we needn’t utter a single word to each other. I guess it was because we were both unsure how to deal with what we were feeling.

Nena’s parents, like my mother hailed from Bicol and were very close to my parents; similarly, her elder siblings were close with mine. Nena was the fifth and youngest child. Her brothers and sisters inherited their mother’s fair complexion, while Nena took after his father as evidenced by her darker skin tone which I adored.

Everything was just wondrous until one night while we were waiting in line at a procession to take the statue of the Fatima from a neighbor’s house and bring it to another. As we were waiting for the other people to assemble and start the procession, I foolishly engaged in some rough play with two other friends. I got so involved that I didn’t realize the lit candle I held in my right hand accidentally set fire to Nena’s hair; she was standing on the line directly in front of me and behind her sister. Luckily, an alert adult noticed and immediately put it out before it caused greater damage.

Nena was incensed; her anger exacerbated by the boisterous taunting of the other kids. She gave me one menacing look before she ran home crying. That was the very last time she ever looked at me.

After a day or two, I started going to Nena’s house under the guise of checking out what his big brother was up to. Understandably, her brother would greet me with a bewildered look etched on his face; he was after all my older brothers’ friend, not mine. No one had any inkling it was Nena I wanted to see, except for Nena herself, and this was the reason she never came down to their living room. And later on, whenever I would catch her by their door or down in their living room, she would dash upstairs as soon as she noticed my presence.

I never enjoyed Nena’s company ever again, for shortly thereafter, they moved to Quezon City. So there I was, already a casualty of romance, though a mere pre-pubescent youngster.

posted by Señor Enrique at 5:24 AM | 34 comments

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I was originally planning to post the second part of my entry about paranormal experiences, but at the last minute decided to save it for another day to lighten things up a bit.

Anyway, while in Quiapo the other day, I chanced upon a street vendor at Palanca Street and took a picture of his merchandise — local Maya birds and those gray ones called Jaba from China. The Maya sells for twenty pesos each, while the Chinese birds, P200.

When I was a kid, I had two cages of about a dozen Mayas. It wasn’t because I was breeding them that I had that many; my father bought me one every Sunday after church. I also had another cage with only a single black bird that I trained how to emulate my whistling.

At that time, my brother Taba was studying at FEU (Far Eastern University). I was fascinated when I watched him as he practiced at home how to properly dissect a frog for his biology class. I was intrigued and planned to do the same thing. So one afternoon while some siblings were out and the other folks at home were napping, I grabbed Taba’s tool set and proceeded to practice not with a frog but with one of my pet birds that I drowned in a tub of water. It was a mess, for I had no idea what I was doing.

As I finished cleaning up, I was suddenly overcome with remorse for having killed one of my pet Mayas. It also felt as if my other birds had nothing but fear and anger towards me. To show how sorry I was for what I did, I opened the door of each cage and set them all free, including the large black bird. Funny thing was, throughout the rest of the afternoon, no one even noticed that all my three cages were now empty.

That evening when my father came home from work, I sat next to him and told him the truth. Much to my delight, he didn’t get upset at all. He just sat there quietly as always as he smoked his pipe.

Since then, I never again did any act of cruelty on any other animal, except on my father’s nasty cat that I used to douse with water hoping it would rain immediately afterwards so I didn’t have to go to school. And even though a fan of western movies and TV shows, I was never fascinated enough to join my father on any of his trips to hunt for boars up in the mountains of Subic. Although my father taught all of us how to handle a gun, I was glad he never forced anyone of us to hunt and shoot some poor animals. Nonetheless, to this day, I still cringe whenever I remember how I had killed that poor bird just to play doctor on him.

So there you go, Niceheart, the third thing you might not want to know about me.

posted by Señor Enrique at 8:38 AM | 18 comments

Monday, January 22, 2007


It was undoubtedly one of the most harrowing experiences that I had ever endured; continually, that is, for about a year and a half during my mid-twenties.

After many years of not having talked about it, I mentioned it to my friend and fellow photography enthusiast, Noel, right after he shared with me his ghost hunting adventure in Corregidor two weeks ago.

Noel is well-read in things paranormal and wasn’t at all rattled by what I told him; however, he adviced against my blogging about it. He was afraid that some people, after reading what I have to say, might be convinced that I have a couple of loose screws in my head.

Told him that at my age, vying for popularity is the least of my concern. I’m much more interested to be of some help to those who might have endured similar maddening experiences. Other than that, my writing about it would also be a way to respond to Niceheart’s meme for which I was tagged — Five Things You Might Not Want To Know About Me. This entry would make the second, while the first would be my entry yesterday, Glass Medals.

At any rate, this mind-boggling experience I speak of would occur just when I was about to fall asleep at night. At first I would hear a buzzing sound coming from outside the house. The sound would become noticeably louder as it enter my bedroom. Once inside, it would emit a high-pitched grating sound similar to that created by a circular saw.

Unable to move any part of my body at this point, I would then begin to feel a jolting sensation akin to that of an electrical charge that would penetrate from the top of my head and make its way inside all the way down to my toes. Although there wasn’t any pain involved, my entire body, however, would convulse involuntarily. And as soon as this electrical charge had reached down my toes, I would pass out completely.

The next morning I would awake and head for work like any ordinary workday. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I would begin to remember what had happened the previous night.

In the beginning, it would happen at least twice a week. I was intensely terrified by it that instead of going home from work, I started hanging out all night and would only come home when too exhausted or obliterated to be worried about anything else. It was also at that period that I started to drink regularly just to calm my nerves, but it wouldn’t happen whenever I was drunk or even had a single bottle of beer.

I was working at the record industry at that time and there were many parties to go to with free food and drinks. I could go out almost every night without spending that much money on account of these complimentary passes and invites. Nonetheless, I wasn’t really much into alcohol so I stopped drinking altogether. I also began to encourage myself to cope with this unexplainable phenomenon without getting overly freaked out by it as before. Thank God, the frequency of its recurrence eventually waned down.

It wasn't fun at all. Psychologically, it felt as if some force was pulling me towards some plane that humans don't usually thread into. It was a maddening experience, to say the least; especially when it was something one can't comfortably just discuss with anyone.

At first, it was only my brother Taba whom I approached about it. Since he worked at a hospital, he instantaneously surmised that a CAT scan might yield some answers. I agreed, but then reminded him that these electrical charges emanated from the outside; not at all triggered from within like some sort of epileptic seizure.

Also quite perplexing was that it would only occur whenever I was fully relaxed and about to fall asleep. And come to think of it, during that time, I was not going through any personal unsettling or stressful dilemmas. Life was pleasant, though staid and predictable.

Afraid that the doctors in his hospital might suggest a psychiatric evaluation -- hence opening the possibility of insurance companies having access to such medical records, as well as potential future employers -- my brother suggested that we not pursue getting a CAT scan, and just wait things out.

There was an upside to this whole madness, however.

A couple of weeks after beginning to experience these electrical charges, I started feeling an intense desire to be creative. It was amazing. Although I didn’t develop any incredible artistic skills overnight, I was compelled to learn any aspect of the the visual arts.

At one point, I completely redesigned the company's weekly merchandising newsletter and turned it into an impressive weekly catalog. For that alone, my boss was so thrilled of the outcome he promoted me; hence, I became the assistant to the vice president of merchandising in less than six months of working in that record company.

With copies of our company newsletter comprising my portfolio, I gained an appointment with the dean of advertising and graphic design program at Parson’s School of Design and was immediately accepted for its summer program. From that time forward, instead of going out to party every night to numb my fears, I couldn't wait to get home to work on my school projects until the wee hours of the morning. Despite all those late nights, I never felt exhausted at all upon waking the next day. It was puzzling, but fun.

This nighttime episode with the electrical charges eventually dissipated. And after about a year and a half, it completely stopped. I never did find any probable cause or definitive explanation for it. Subsequently, I’ve learned to accept it as one of those things in life that I was meant to experience for whatever reason. I had to think of it that way for self-preservation. I was afraid that delving into it might only make me slip into the deep end. I’ve come to accept the idea that perhaps, the answers await in the afterlife. Something to look forward to, I guess.

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:20 PM | 28 comments

Sunday, January 21, 2007


This is the very first I had ever won in the realm of photography — as second place winner in both Portrait and Still Life categories — awarded at the end of our workshop last December. I didn’t blog about this before; not that I was ashamed of it, but it was because I didn’t want to appear ostentatious, though neither one was a first prize winner.

However, something happened last week which made me change my mind: during the presentation of everyone’s assignment in our Basic Photography Workshop, the candid picture I had taken of a young girl in Fort Santiago was overwhelmingly chosen as the favorite of the entire class. Although I admitted what I learned from the previous workshop was the key factor in my success wth this picture, I thought, to be fair, I should now at least disclose my previous background in photography; instead of being eternally discreet or secretive about it, especially amongst my fellow photography enthusiasts.

I have always been fascinated with cameras since I was in grade school. A candy box shaped like a camera and a plastic toy camera where my dearly treasured playthings then. My father even entrusted me with our Kodak Brownie camera during family outings; I was always responsible for safekeeping it, as well as taking snapshots at family events.

When I moved to New York, like my friends, I, too, would always have a camera stashed in my backpack (a borrowed Minolta SLR from my brother James). I never got into developing and processing my own black and white films, but loved taking photographs of practically anything. I was thrilled when Minolta came out with its fully-programmable SLR; I was now able to enjoy picture taking even more but without the hassle of configuring correct exposure settings, which I was never inspired to master to begin with.

My ongoing interest in photography reached a higher level when my best friend asked me to help him open his fashion accessory design studio on Seventh Avenue. Although he studied industrial design in Georgia Tech and Pratt Institute, his overall designing skills were taught to him by his father, a Paris-schooled and -trained couture designer. Actually, my friend’s desire to enter New York’s couture fashion industry was not motivated by the money to be made in it, but by the allure of beautiful women and the notorious partying in that community. Anyway, we originally planned to be in it for only three years the most, but we lasted eight years.

As in all small companies with continual cash flow problems as ours, everyone has to wear as many hats possible, so to speak, to cut down on expenses. Besides my usual chores, I also handled all of the company’s audio/visual marketing presentations, including taking still photographs of our products used in runway shows. And since our clients were Seventh Avenue’s top couture houses, during the famous New York fashion week, I was assured an "all access pass" in any premier runway show I wished to attend. The pictures I took we would later use when creating our own catalogs and PR materials. I also produced our video catalog that were distributed to our list of private clientile. However, the video shoot and all its technical post-production work were handled by an independent team we hired.

When we eventually burnt out due to extended hours of work and excessive partying, we finally called it quits; however, my interest in taking pictures never wavered. By that time, I began to favor carrying a smaller point & shoot camera in my bag, while my SLR I would only use on special occasions. It wasn’t until here in Manila when my interest in photography was once again greatly rekindled, though rather slowly, as inspired by my desire to create an added dimension to my blog entries.

Here are the photos that won me two glass medals (modeled after a camera lens):

posted by Señor Enrique at 8:11 PM | 22 comments

Friday, January 19, 2007


Bought two lamps from a street vendor in Quiapo — one was a clamp-on, the other a regular desk lamp model — and two of those spiral white bulbs. Later on, at National Bookstore in Avenida Rizal, I bought a sheet of black felt paper. As soon as I got home, I emptied one of the plastic containers we have in the house and used it as my soft light box (plastic is an effective light diffuser which prevents glare and hotspots on the subject).

As for my model, it was Batman. Out of the entire superhero lot, I think Batman ranks among the top simply because he doesn’t possess any superhuman powers and yet he’s out there every night battling the goons of Gotham.

Here are the results of this photo session:

One of the reasons photography can be so addictive is because it’s an activity much like playing. When I was doing this shoot the other night, I lost all sense of time and space; not realizing it was already way past midnight. It was that much fun. It used to be that I took pictures mostly out of the house somewhere; however, since learning more about the mechanics of my camera, I started doing more shoots inside the house using common household objects as my prime subject.

I have more to learn about lighting so right after this current workshop, the next class I plan to sign up for is studio lighting techniques. And although most of the information is now available online, there’s still nothing better than the actual hands-on learning process.

posted by Señor Enrique at 9:24 AM | 24 comments

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Based on photos I have been submitting in my photography workshop, our instructor, Ador Pamintuan, remarked that I seem fascinated with black and white lately. Indeed, I am.

You see, I think sometimes the best way to highlight an image’s composition and range of tones is to present it with only its basic elements — devoid of distracting colors.
And without the color element, a photography student will be forced to better understand how individual colors like blues, reds and yellows will translate as different shades of gray.

Although some may regard monochrome as old fashioned, there is, however, a classic beauty in it that is truly worth exploring.

There are many accomplished photographers who may be considered masters of black and white, but my all-time favorite is Ansel Adams. I was fortunate enough to have found a second hand copy of one of his books at a news stand cum used book stall on Avenida Rizal near corner Ronquillo Street. It was in excellent condition; got it for half its original price.

I haven’t delved into his personal history, and therefore, not that knowledgeable about him. However, I do know he was one of the great artists of the 20th-century. This book, Photographs of the Southwest, features some images he had taken from 1928 to 1968 in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

It is not a travelogue, but a powerful and evocative collection of images depicting America’s unique landscape, which includes its people and architecture. Some of the photographs in this book have been seldom, if ever, seen or reproduced before. It is most definitely a recommended read, especially for photography enthusiasts.

By the way, does anyone have any idea where I had taken the top photo?

Ansel Adams
Photographs of the Southwest
With an essay on the land by Lawrence Clark Powell
Little, Brown & Company, 1976

posted by Señor Enrique at 1:56 PM | 16 comments

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Found this Molave wood sculpture by Manila artist, Romeo Factor, at the Contreras Sculptures at SM Megamall’s Artwalk.

It was mainly my appreciation for both our indigenous wood and local artists that inspired me to acquire it. Since then, I had purchased two more wooden sculptures by two other Manilenyo artists. Thought my buying these would demonstrate my support for our upcoming local artists.

Incidentally, members of the National Press Club are in an uproar over the clandestine sale, for P10 million, of the huge mural that used to hang on the wall in the dining hall of the National Press Club. The creator of the mural was national artist Vicente Manansala; the buyer was an unidentified private individual.

Those behind the sale of this national treasure claimed that termites were eating up the mural which is painted on lawanit boards, and that proceeds of the sale would pay for a new elevator.

However, this mural was commissioned to Vicente Manansala by the Manila Chronicle when the press club building was being built in the mid-1950s. It was donated to the NPC by the Lopezes with the condition that if the NPC doesn’t want the mural anymore, it would revert to the Lopez family. I can only surmise that a long litigation for its return to the righful owner might be in the offing.

Be that as it may, for those looking for some artsy things to do, here are some visual art exhibitions in Metro Manila that are worth checking out:

The Colonial Imaginary
Photography in the Philippines during the Spanish period (1860-1898)
until February 28th
Telephone: 527-1215

Extramuros: Life Outside the Walled City
Nineteenth-century prints from he BPI collection; genre scenes of the city and country
until January 31st
Telephone: 757-7117

Herbs, Harmony and Health
The science and history behind the traditional Chinese medicine
until January 31st
BAHAY TSINOY (Kaisa-Angelo King Heritage Center)
Telephone: 526-6796

posted by Señor Enrique at 8:11 PM | 15 comments

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I treated myself to another calesa ride the other day, though this one was rather short — only from Escolta near Sta. Cruz Church to Juan Luna and Ongpin Streets in Binondo.

For the benefit of those who haven't been to Manila for quite some time, I had taken pictures along the way with my point & shoot camera to show how some of the city’s streets look like nowadays, which are not really strewn with disgusting litter. Yes, there’s some here and there, which cannot be helped, but not as bad as one might perceive. Manila’s street sweepers do a good job considering how crowded some streets get, especially during the rush.

Come to think of it, the streets of Manila are even better cared for than those in some parts of Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. So for an old city, Manila isn’t all that bad.

The second to the last photograph, incidentally, shows the latest mode of transportation for hire that plies the the streets of Manila. It's a home garage concoction made up of steel pipes, bicycle tires and an engine similar to those used in small boats. It's called a "kuliglig."

posted by Señor Enrique at 4:54 AM | 28 comments

Monday, January 15, 2007


Does anyone know the folklore behind this pot-bellied Buddha? I know it’s an icon of good fortune and abundance, but that’s all I know about it.

Personally, I’ve always regarded it as a Chinese Santa Claus with a sack full of goodies. And what I love most about it is his cheerful disposition; not to mention it’s something that can be displayed all the time, unlike Santa Claus who goes back to the closet right after Christmas.

Nonetheless, I believe that for the most part, our fortune is already within us. We just need to develop the tenacity, confidence, and perseverance to follow our dream and make that fortune within us manifest out into the world.

For those still weighted down by disappointments, or worse, fear of failure, let us consider what others went through before they became successful in their respective endeavor:

Rodin was rejected three times by the art school he wanted to attend. His uncle labeled him hopeless and uneducable, while his father said, “I have an idiot for a son.”

Teachers of Enrico Caruso, the legendary Italian Opera singer, said he had no voice at all and devoid of any singing potential. His parents encouraged him to pursue engineering instead.

Francois Traffaut chose to work as a movie critic for many years because he was mortified of actualizing his dream to become a film director.

Georgia O’Keeffe labored as a commercial artist before she overcame her self-doubts to paint what was truly in her heart.

Maya Angelou once claimed that every time she started to write a new book, a sense of fear would engulf her. Although she had written eleven books, she would say, “Oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.” She overcame her fears by just doing what she had to do.

So the next time we’re confronted with similar mental hindrances, better we remember these folks and how they persevered to follow their bliss; thereby enjoying a life of abundance.

Art and Soul
By Pam Grout
Andrews McMeel Publishing

posted by Señor Enrique at 10:38 AM | 14 comments

Saturday, January 13, 2007


University of Santo Tomas

Many thanks to Noel Guerrero for sharing his expertise in night photography. I owe you lunch my friend!

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:05 AM | 22 comments

Friday, January 12, 2007


For those looking for something fun to do this weekend, going around Quezon City with a digital dSLR or point & shoot camera and taking some pictures of people of the city at work or play might be something to consider.

The Cultural and Tourism Affairs Office of Quezon City is inviting all photography professionals and enthusiasts for its digital photo contest. The full details are as follow:

The Quezon City Digital Photo Contest

Theme : People of Quezon City at work and leisure

Start of the contest: December 18, 2006

Deadline of submission: extended to January 31, 2007


1st - P20,000
2nd- P15,000
3rd - P10,000

Seven participants will also be selected for a consolation prize of P5,000 each.


- contest is open to all amateur and professional photographers

- all entries must be in 11 x 14 full color prints preferably with border

- participants can submit only 2 entries, original and large file in CD

- photos must portray human interest in which subjects reflect the lives of people in Quezon City wheter at work or play at anytime of the week.

- photos must distinctly identify a particular place in Quezon City; a brief description or caption of the image must be included

- the entries should have never been published in any newspaper or magazine

- winning entries are considered as property of the Quezon City government through the Cultural and Tourism Affairs Office (CTAO). Photo credits, however will be given to the winner when their works are exhibited on other occasions.

- digitally manipulated photos will be disqualified

- each entry must be accompanied by an information sheet to be provided by the CTAO

- submit entries to the Cultural and Tourism Affairs Office, 9th floor, Quezon City Hall, Elliptical Road, Diliman Quezon City

- for inquiries, please call Ceri or Marivic - 925-6045 loc. 335 or Romy Mariano – 09192128114 or Boyet - 9223232 / 925-6045 loc. 255

Many thanks to Tammy David of
Digital Photographer Philippines for sharing with us this information.

posted by Señor Enrique at 9:31 AM | 10 comments

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Sometimes I think that one of the reasons I was put here on earth is to learn, or better still, embody the essence of forgiveness by being challenged every now and then to apply it. Like today in which I was confronted with a maddening situation created by someone’s outright immaturity.

It is indeed tempting to succumb to anger and think bad thoughts about the culprit; however, in the end of the day, I would still be feeling enraged while the other guy would go about his usual ways unperturbed. I say unperturbed because if he weren’t, he would never even think of committing such things. My only choice in this matter then, although extremely challenging, is to simply forgive that person.

To succeed, I would have to remind myself that I do not want to fill my consciousness with negative thoughts about him and his action. Also, I have to say to myself silently, “Whatever he has done, that’s his problem.”

I learned this practice back in New York when I came across a book by Emmet Fox in which he argued that if you saw a little child unable to reach a high shelf, you wouldn’t condemn him for it, because you know that in due time he would gain the height. So it is with spiritual infants — we have to give them time to grow. And for not condemning but instead understanding them, we help them in the process. And by helping them, we free ourselves. To quote Emmet Fox:

"Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a Cosmic Truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner and the jailer. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate. You must cut all ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save his soul, too, making it just so much easier for him to become what he ought to be.”

Perhaps, in one way or another, this is what letting go and letting God is all about. Only problem is, although we may have already forgiven the person who had offended us, certainly, angry thoughts would come back to nag at us. In this case, what I would do is say the following silently to myself:

The good in me salutes the good in you. The good in me understands the good in you. Therefore, I forgive you. I bless you. I free you. I understand you and you understand me. I release you to your highest good.

Another that helps me is silently saying to myself as I think of the offending party, “Go to God. Go To God.” I would keep repeating this like a mantra until I have cleansed myself of negative thoughts about that person and what he had done.

Try it someday and let me know how you fare with it.

The Sermon on the Mount
By Emmet Fox
Harper & Row, New York, 1938

Photos taken at Fort Santiago, 1/7/07

posted by Señor Enrique at 8:25 PM | 38 comments

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:22 PM | 18 comments

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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