Sunday, April 29, 2007



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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:40 PM | 31 comments



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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:45 AM | 28 comments

Friday, April 27, 2007


2007 Aliwan Festival
starts at 3:00 pm on Saturday, April 28th at Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park.


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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:41 PM | 12 comments


Your favorite photographs, when printed and framed, could make wonderful gifts to friends and family, as well as add life to the otherwise staid walls in your house. However, finding a good place to get your pictures framed in Manila can be a hassle.

I had only disappointing experiences with unreliable and unscrupulous picture framers in Quiapo until a fellow photography enthusiast, Noel, hooked me up with Tupe. The guy knows his craft and his prices are negotiable and reasonable. No wonder Noel only entrusts his treasured photographs with this guy.

His shop, Tupe Arts & Frames, is located in the newly-refurbished Grand Central Market along Quezon Boulevard near corner Fugoso Street (a few meters from the pedestrian overpass); across the street from the Music Warehouse building.

Tupe's contact number is 0918-231-4462.



posted by Señor Enrique at 5:52 AM | 30 comments

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have to stop by Quiapo Church and light a couple of candles so as to spiritually breathe life and energy to my online photo storage system's main servers which, according to their announcements, are now dying and must be replaced. Thus, for now, some of the pictures with my previous posts cannot be viewed until these servers have been replaced. I apologize to my readers for this great inconvenience.

It is also with great sadness to learn yesterday that my cousin's wife's cancer had made a turn for the very worse. She now has to be confined in the hospital, which supposedly costs the family about a million pesos a month. Besides the grave concern for the mother's deteriorating condition, the entire family is also coping with the family's fast depleting liquid assets.

This incident reminded me of an architect I had become friendly with a couple of years ago. As if suddenly, two of her aunts suffered major illnesses and had to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, he was the only one in the clan that these two relatives could run to for financial assistance. In his frantic attempt to raise the much-needed cash, he coordinated the rush sale of certain pieces of land that they owned down south.

This guy badgered me to buy a piece without acknowledging the fact that I had no interest to set up residence in that particular region of the country; neither would he realize that I don't have that kind of money to begin with. Even if I did, I still had to give it much thought because that area is a hotbed for skirmishes between the military and the local rebels.

Eventually, this man maxed out all his credit cards with cash advances, as well as found himself applying for additional personal bank loans. But worse of all, the incident turned him into one deeply angry middle-aged man. I do understand the dire situation he was dealing with at that time, but it was wrong of him to fault those who didn't buy any piece of land that he was hawking.

Unfortunately, I wasn't spared his wrath, which only reminded me of the old adage, "Circumstances don't make a man; they reveal him."

So, light some red candles I will for health, love and abundance for all.

Today is another scorcher in Manila at 35 degrees Celsius. Keep cool everyone!


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:35 AM | 22 comments

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


With Manila's temperature recently hovering in the mid-30s Celcius or mid-90s Fahrenheit, these kids surely know how to cool themselves, though doing it in the waters of Manila Bay may not be all that good an idea.

The bay still needs major rehabilitation to make it a truly safe swimming spot as it once was.

When I was these kids' age, I was fortunate enough to have a charming river right next to my aunt's house in Subic. Every afternoon at around three in the afternoon, practically most of the kids in the barrio could be found there. Its flowing water was clean that if in case during horseplay you accidentally swallowed some, there was no need to worry, for it was disease-free at that time.

However, since we shared the more popular swimming spot with some carabaos and a group of women doing their laundry, it was always a good idea to remain upstream. But, the barrio carabaos were so docile they didn't mind us using them as diving boards so, we'd end up swimming near them anyway. The only thing we abhorred were the leeches, though they weren't really plentiful.

There were days it would be so humid that my cousin and I would go with my aunt's maid when she did the laundry at around ten in the morning. While she did the wash and enjoyed gossiping with the other women, my cousin and I would be busy swimming and catching some fish with our homemade spear slingshots.

We also played tricks on my aunt's maid at times like slipping some rocks at the bottom of the pail covered by the freshly-laundered clothes on top. We'd roll over laughing as we watched her struggle to lift it.

But the best time and most fun at the river was during the afternoon when it was filled with many kids. Besides swimming, there were various games going on that we'd lose track of time. There was always a long line to get a chance to swing from a rope tied to a tree branch and drop while screaming with joy into the cool water below. Some would swing and jump two or three at a time. It was so much fun!

Eventually, by the late afternoon, some irate mothers would come marching to the riverbank looking for their kids. And in their attempt to avoid getting scolded in front of their playmates, some kids would frantically grab their clothes and run home butt naked.

And almost always, by the time we were all leaving, there were the older kids who would show up after having gathered some guava leaves. They've come to the river to wash their wounds fresh from having been circumcised that summer. And supposedly, right after dinner time, I heard the riverbank took on a quieter and more romantic ambiance; becoming an idyllic haunt for older teens and young adults to meet with their lovers.

When I returned to that river after many years of having lived in New York, I was saddened to find that it was no longer a thriving wonderful river it once was. Mt. Pinatubo was to blame.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:15 AM | 41 comments

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


What a wonderful way for avid photographers to continue celebrating Earth Day; that is, by joining this international photo contest.

Amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to submit single images or themed portfolios in the following categories:

• My Garden
• Plant Portraits
• People and Animals in the Garden
• Trees (annual changing category for 2008)

There will be a new special award for Young Garden Photographer of The Year for teens under 16.

• Closing date for submissions is January 2008.

• Online entry at - this website is due to be accepting entries from May 2007.

Further information about the venue and prizes will be announced shortly. For updates, visit the Garden Photographers Association Website.



posted by Señor Enrique at 6:28 AM | 23 comments

Monday, April 23, 2007


These shells are from my collection of about a dozen or so pieces of various shapes but mostly of small to medium sizes. I don't have any of those huge conch shells that can be used as door stops. I acquired these shells rather uneventfully; not while strolling along a deserted beach under the golden hue of a glorious sunset on the horizon. I simply bought them from an arts and crafts vendor at SM Megamall during some native handicraft trade fair.

That's how unromantic I've acquired my shell collection, but I appreciate it just as much and, in fact, polish every piece once in a while. And while doing so, I am always reminded of the other items or objects that some old friends collect.

In New York, books, vinyl records or CDs, and concert ticket stubs were always the most popular. But as we got older, some branched out into collecting rare watches, original paintings by unknown artists, hats, objets d'art, and garments. Some would even drive long distances to out of town garage sales or estate auctions with the sole intention of finding the missing pieces to complete their collection.

As usual, the more disposable income one has, the more exotic or rare his or her objects of fancy are. However, there are those just as intensely fixated on what regular folks may regard as seemingly mundane items (such as those drinking glasses and bottles from the Depression era). Nevertheless, as with almost anything in New York, the thrill lies in paying a minimal amount for something that will, hopefully, become incredibly valuable someday. But for some, it's simply the matter of acquiring the desired pieces and to someday pass them on to one of their children.

Many lazy weekend afternoons I've spent with friends -- learning about obscure historical bits of information through the objects in their collections, as well as listening to their fascinating tales of acquisitions as if involved in some large scale arbitrage. To this day, they love to talk endlessly about their personal collections.

But then again, their freshly-brewed coffee and home-baked pies were always just as good; hence, making an avid repeat audience out of me.


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posted by Señor Enrique at 9:01 AM | 26 comments

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Their goal is to help the women in the towns of Daraga and Guinobatan, Albay, who to this day languish in evacuation centers, caring for their children while living under appalling conditions and suffering from various women’s illnesses.

To alleviate their plight, Cathy and a group of her friends, intend to bring 500 bags containing toiletries and underwear to the women in these centers. Five hundred may not be much, but providing care and kindness to even one soul can sometimes spell the difference between hope and despair in the life of a woman who toils day and night for her family.

Each bag is worth P200, and contains the following items—one toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, bath soap, three pieces of underwear, a wash towel, a bottle of shampoo, and a bar of laundry soap. The items will be placed in a re-usable katsa bag to be sewn by a community of indigent women here in Manila. Their target is to raise 500 bags by May 13, Mother’s Day, so that they can bring the bags to the Bicol mothers the week after.

Please visit Cathy's site for more information on how you can help.

Thank you!


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:17 AM | 9 comments

Friday, April 20, 2007


Lucky are those with kids in the house. Whenever daunted by the task of reading the manual that comes, say, with a recently-purchased high tech cell phone, just hand it over to one of your kids and he’ll have it figured out in no time at all. That’s what I did when I got a new Nokia a couple of years ago. With my nephew’s coaching, I began enjoying its features sooner than had I studied the manual on my own.

It was another nephew who taught me how to put an end to those unsolicited messages, which were nothing more than marketing messages from my carrier that also eat up my load. There were times I had to quickly find a spot on a busy roadway to park my car (thinking I had just received an urgent SMS message) but only to discover it was merely Smart hawking a new service or product. Oh, well, certainly with convenience comes nuisance as well.

The ease of communication nowadays is really staggering, especially when compared during my youth. It used to be when PLDT took ages to hook up a household with a regular telephone line. These days, the demand for a landline has slipped drastically because of the availability and affordability of cell phones.

I am not one to upgrade to a newer model of cell phone every year, but if I ever needed to get a new one anytime soon, rest assured, I'll be asking the kids in the family first for their opinion. Darn, when I was a kid, the most high tech gadget I had was a Sony transistor radio with a leather case and strap. But that's altogether another story for another day.

Have a good weekend!


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:17 AM | 34 comments

Thursday, April 19, 2007


It was sheer madness, if you asked me. Because in my desire to get as close as possible for a good shot, I suffered from a momentary lapse of reasonI risked getting my toes run over by the escort motorcycles who didn’t have that much space to maneuver to begin with. Nonetheless, these escorts must keep the motorcade moving even at a snail’s pace. There was also the main truck driver who kept blowing his horn at me for my having blocked his path as I kept taking pictures of the group of men on the flatbed his truck.

It was insane! I was seriously more intent on getting well-focused and -composed shots than worry about getting hurt.

There was also the throng of well-wishers and spectators, who crossed the designated police lines just to catch some candies, baller IDs, and T-shirts being hurled by those personalities from the truck. I often found myself sandwiched between this wave of people and the police escorts, but I had to wedge myself right through and make my way towards the next spot up ahead and secure an ideal position for the next series of shots.

Ed Santiago, my photojournalism mentor, (left photo) believes that this area of photography sharpens the photographer’s gutfeel; thus, urges all his students to often practice photojournalism.

Documenting the scene as it happens is the core of which; hence, on that particular day, despite the respective politics, philosophy, track record and integrity of the group of men up on that truck, my intention was merely to document the event with my camera. I wasn't there to create history or provide a personal dissertation on these personalities' respective school of thought or achievement (or lack thereof).

Anyway, being quite savvy with the streets of Santa Cruz, Manila, instinctively, I knew which position would best give me a certain structure as backdrop, or where I could climb a bit to get my camera as near within eye-level with my subjects who were up higher aboard the truck.

And every time I captured the desired scene, the adrenalin rush that came with it fueled a greater desire to run towards the next ideal spot. Right there and then, I experienced a moment of epiphany — realizing that this has got to be, more than anything else, what most photojournalists live for — the adrenalin rush. No wonder some of the seasoned war correspondents would find themselves standing in the line of fire, so to speak. What matters most to them is no longer their safety, but the perfect shot or footage to share with their readers or viewers back home. That’s how crazily diligent they can be.

I was drenched with sweat as I took my final shot while standing on the base of a street lamp at T. Mapua Street. It was a narrow street and I was only a few meters from the motorcade so, when I yelled for the mayor to throw me a T-shirt, with a smile on his face — probably appreciating all that effort I’ve exerted in photographing his entourage — threw one towards my direction.

The mayor must have played baseball when young because the T-shirt landed exactly on my right hand without my over-reaching for it. But suddenly, someone grabbed the T-shirt from my hand — spraining my ring finger as he forcefully pulled it away from me. The mayor saw it and with a simple gesture, a couple of his security men grabbed the teenager, retrieved the T-shirt, and handed it back to me. I yelled, “Thank you, mayor!”

Most public officials might have a love-hate relationship with the media, but here in Manila, the mayor, at least, appreciates their presence.



posted by Señor Enrique at 7:54 AM | 16 comments

Wednesday, April 18, 2007




posted by Señor Enrique at 6:38 AM | 16 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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Name: Señor Enrique
Location: Manila, Philippines

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