Wednesday, April 30, 2008


There was a public meeting going on outside the Barangay Zone 306 hall yesterday, across the street from Kim Chong Tin Hopia Factory on Carlos Palanca Street in Quiapo. So right after I got the mini hopia that my mother had asked me to get for her, I crossed the street to check out what the meeting was all about.

It turned out to be the barangay officials' meeting with some of the street vendors of Palanca Street (formerly Echague).

Barangay Chairman Josie Dee was showing the vendors the new yellow-painted cart that all the vendors are encouraged to use beginning this coming June. There will be a stainless steel version of it for the seafood vendors. In addition, it was also mentioned that all vendors may be required to wear identical clothing like a T-shirt so as to identify them as authorized vendors in the area.

Although there wasn't any price set on the cart as of yet, the chairman assured the vendors that they may all borrow one in the beginning. Later on, they may arrange with the barangay treasurer to pay for them on installment basis -- 20 pesos a day.

In accordance to Mayor Lim's program, the barangay officials are encouraging the street vendors to adhere to all regulations, including remaining in designated areas and not to occupy the sidewalks. The barangay office has been receiving numerous complaints from many people for their inability to walk on the sidewalks, especially on rainy days. Furthermore, the chairwoman mentioned reported incidents in which some pedestrians who had taken to walking on the streets were hit by tricycles and pedicabs.

Many other significant points were raised by the barangay officials to improve the conditions on Carlos Palanca Street. And if such improvements were maintained, they argued, many more people will come to visit and shop at the area, which could result to an increase in business.

I wish the barangay officials and street vendors the best. With full cooperation from everyone involved, I'm sure they're bound to succeed. I will go back to Palanca Street from time to time to check out the developments.

For now, good luck, folks!

Related links:

On Carlos Palanca Street

Manila's Plaza Goiti

* * * *

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 7:16 AM | 17 comments

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


With the prices of many of our basic consumer goods and foodstuffs having gone up, it's good to know that the "dirty ice cream" peddled by our sorbeteros remain at a cool ten pesos per cone.

The "dirty ice cream," commonly called as such not because it's actually dirty, but on account of some anti-homemade ice cream campaign instigated by a major local ice cream producer many years ago. Hoping to dominate the local market, it bashed the process of homemade ice cream; pointing it out as unsanitary.

Ironically, although the misnomer "dirty ice cream" stuck to the locals' consciousness and has eventually become its generic name, it remains popular to the masses, especially during the hot and humid summer months .

Anyway, since ice cream is basically comprised of milk and other ingredients -- prices of which had already gone up -- I was curious to know how the sorbeteros are able to keep selling them at its usual ten pesos a cone. So the other day, as I enjoyed a cone of this homemade ice cream, I posed my query to a sorbetero, Mang Danny (photo above).

Mang Danny hailed from Iloilo and worked in construction since migrating to Manila. However, with age catching up on him, he has since switched to a less strenuous line of work. For the past two years, he has been peddling "dirty ice cream" in the streets of Manila's Malate district.

Every working day, Mang Danny wakes up at a little past midnight to head on over to the public market to buy grated coconut, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whatever else he may need as ingredients for making the ice cream that he will sell for that day.

As for the milk, sugar, cones and ice, those he must purchase from the ice cream factory where he is alloted the space for making the ice cream himself. The pushcart that he uses for peddling is rented from the same factory at 30 pesos a day.

The ice cream factory's prices that Mang Danny has to pay for such items (milk, sugar, cones, ice, and etc.), are much higher than those found at the public market, but the steep markup is how the factory generally makes its money.

Mang Danny's daily capital amounts to about P1,600. However, on a good day, he could pocket a net profit of up to a thousand pesos. He averages about P20,000 a month income during the dry and hot summer season. Once can only imagine how much more Mang Danny used to make before the widespread price increase.

A taxi driver, Cris Ilagan, on his afternoon break and enjoying a cone of dirty ice cream as he listened to our conversation, couldn't help but chime in, "You make out better than us taxi drivers, Manong!"

Be that as it may, we'll leave Cris' story for another day. For now, please enjoy these other photos from my "dirty ice cream" collection.

Have a cool day!

Related links:

Site of the very first ice cream parlor in the Philippines

Manila's Ice Age

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 8:17 AM | 50 comments

Monday, April 28, 2008


Fishing the water of Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard is nothing more than a game that tests one's patience. According to some of these Baywalk fishermen I've spoken to, the fish that takes the bait comes too far in between, and nothing much to be proud of.

The small sapsap (ponyfish) is what's usually caught in this water, while the bigger kanduli takes the bait mostly during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Kanduli is a relative of the hito (catfish), and traditionally associated with the popular local dish sinigang sa miso. The biggest kanduli caught in this area measured no more than six inches. Nonetheless, it's considered a prized catch.

Some of these Baywalk fishermen also admit to releasing the fish they've caught because of the polluted water where they come from. The others, on the other hand, take home their catch of the day -- to clean and grill as pulutan (hor d'oerves) for their evening's drinking bout with friends.

Despite the less than auspicious fishing condition in this Baywalk area, still
many come fishing in this part of the city -- for the relaxing aspect of it, as well as for the enchanting sunset that awaits them later that evening.

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 8:51 AM | 25 comments

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The rice retailers of Metro Manila's Suki Market are laughing off the notion of a rice supply crisis in the country. They unanimously attest that the rice millers where they get their supplies from are abundant with rice inventory.

Hence, the common lament among these rice sellers is not about the dwindling supply of rice, but the sharp decline in the retail end of the rice business since the price of rice started going up.

Meanwhile, after the recent raids in some rice warehouses conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), some rice millers are crying foul. They resent being unfairly called "hoarders."

During a recent meeting with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, some rice millers suggested that the nation ought to be rejoicing instead. They argue that the availability of large volumes of palays and rice proves that there is ample supply and milling capacity for the upcoming rice lean months of July, August and September.

Nevertheless, the NBI intends to continue its unannounced inspections of various rice warehouses. It is also reminding all warehouse owners to secure the appropriate licenses if they want to continue storing large inventories of rice.

Back in Suki Market, in an attempt to stay within their usual budget, many customers have been opting for a lower grade of rice. According to the rice sellers, the Sinandomeng has become the most sought after variety.

Previously retailing at about 25-to-26 pesos per kilo, the Sinandomeng has gone up to as high as 33 pesos during the initial days of the price increase. It has since leveled off at 30 pesos per kilo.

As for the less fortunate segment of the population, there is the government-subsidized commercial variety of rice. However, the government has recently pulled out this cheap NFA (National Food Authority) rice from the public markets.

Its distribution has been assigned by the government
to certain local government units (LGUs) and military contingents -- believed better able to identify the indigent members of the population.


posted by Señor Enrique at 11:50 AM | 26 comments


Jayson, a member of Chow King's service crew at a branch I frequent in Quiapo told me that next week would be his last. His 4-month contract with this franchised restaurant has come to an end. He said this as he served me the halo-halo I had ordered one hot afternoon last week after getting some photos printed.

Since I've noticed that he has always been an efficient worker with a pleasing personality, told him that I was expecting that he would be hired as a regular employee anytime soon. At some companies in the States, most kids sign on as temporary or part-time employees. And in most cases, once they've proven they're worth their salt, so to speak, they'd usually end up being asked to come on board as full time staff members.

Unfortunately, it is not the same here. Jayson told me that the best he could hope for is for his manager to recommend him for a 4-month contract but at another branch of Chow King. In essence, he could spend the next few years of his young life moving from one Chow King branch to another without ever enjoying the basic benefits and perks given to regular employees.

When I mentioned this to my sister, she said that SM also engages in similar unfair employment practices. It's a way for a company to cut operating costs, she added.

As for Jayson, he has one more year to go with his studies at a maritime college in Manila. He said with a tinge of sadness that as soon as he graduates and receives his degree, he will immediately apply for a job abroad as a merchant marine. This he considers a viable option to enable him to help his mother (a single mom) defray the costs of his two younger siblings' schooling.

I bear no resentment towards Chow King or SM Department Stores, for their quarterly earnings must meet the expectations and demands of their investors. But nonetheless, with their continued successes in their respective industry, I wish someday soon they will strive to improve their employee benefit programs as well.


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:22 AM | 20 comments

Saturday, April 26, 2008


She might have been named after the doyen of Filipino cinema -- now ageing though still working -- but this Gloria Romero is not in the glamor business. She is, in fact, a pushcart vendor and quite adept at her tasks. It takes her no longer than ten minutes to peel off the skin and carve out the eyes of a regular-sized pineapple.

A whole one (peeled and all) she sells for 50 pesos, while a slice, slightly salted, for ten pesos a piece. She makes a profit of about 30 pesos from each pineapple. Only recently, Gloria's selling prices were literally half of what they are now. The recent surge in the price of pineapples forced her to raise her prices.

The pineapples that she peddles come from the farms of the nearby Cavite province, which are trucked to Divisoria -- the central drop off point for many goods traded in the metropolitan area. Gloria buys them in bulk and loads up her cart in the morning. By noon, she is at her usual spot in Quiapo busily peeling and selling these pineapples. She usually sells out her day's inventory by the late evening, and would then head back home -- pushing her cart back to Tondo where she lives.

Gloria is proud to admit that she comes from a family of street vendors. She started selling shopping bags in Tutuban during the Martial Law years back in the '70s, and has peddled many other items since then. And for about a decade now, she has been selling only pineapples.

She has four children; the eldest is already married with children, while the other three are in high school. The money she earns from her work makes a substantial contribution to her husband's income; enabling them to afford the usual expenses involved in raising a family. Her prayers, she admits, is for her children to continue doing well in high school so they would someday make it to Pamanatasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, one of the Philippines' most prestigious universities that is tuition-free.

A jovial and hard-working mother, I couldn't help but wish that Gloria Romero's every prayer gets answered.

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 11:00 AM | 22 comments

Friday, April 25, 2008


The sudden summer rain that came this morning brought along with it some cool air. Indeed, a welcomed respite for many Manileños. They have endured the sweltering temperatures in the metropolitan area during the past weeks, as well as the extended brownout the other day that shut down all air-conditioners and electric fans.

The rain also washed out the heat off the pavements which made taking a nap a favored lunchtime activity or inactivity by some lucky folks like this fruit vendor and her daughter.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:49 PM | 6 comments

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Besides Divisoria, I notice that Quiapo offers truly affordable prices, especially with certain produce and fruits.

The imported red apples, for example, costs ten pesos each at Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, while the fruit vendors of Salazar Street in Binondo price them at 20 pesos.
The seedless grapes sold by Plaza Miranda vendors for 60 pesos a kilo can at times go for as much as twice that price at leading supermarkets in the city.

A favorite of mine, the yellow kamote, sells for 60-to-80 pesos a kilo at Suki Market at Mayon Steet in Quezon City; whereas, in Binondo, it sells for about 40-to-60 pesos. In Quiapo, it sells for only 25-to-30 pesos a kilo.

I'm not an expert bargain-hunter, but with the current widespread increases in food prices, it pays to keep abreast of where to find certain foodstuffs with lower prices than those at nearby public markets.

And for those who may argue that the extra effort and costs to commute to Quiapo may diminish the potential savings one would make, I suggest doing what most Quiapo die-hard shoppers do -- do your marketing tasks right after attending mass in Quiapo Church.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:23 AM | 22 comments

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Undoubtedly, the staggering number of commonly-held superstitious beliefs here in Manila may fill an entire book. And it would be maddening for any one to even think of trying to adhere to each one.

Out of this entire volume of astonishing insight for the excessively credulous, one that gives me the creeps to this day is the sight of a black cat. And at the risk of embarrassing myself, I have to admit that I oftentimes recoil from the sight of one about to cross my path. Perhaps, such trepidation is rooted in a long-held superstitious belief in the family, or it could just very well be a simple dislike for anything deemed as harbingers of bad luck.

Be that as it may, I must also admit that black cats make an interesting subject for my camera, and I considered it a lucky day when I saw this one lounging around.

Incidentally, unlike in the United States and several European countries, in Britain and Japan, having a black cat cross your path is considered good luck.

Here are a few cat superstitions from other countries (
source: Pet Love Shack):

Scotland: A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.
Italy: - A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it.
USA - It is bad luck to see a white cat at night.
Ireland - To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck.
The Netherlands - Cats are not allowed in rooms where sensitive
private family discussions are being held.


posted by Señor Enrique at 10:02 AM | 15 comments

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Related link:

Earth Day at the CCP - Manila Bulletin


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:43 PM | 9 comments

Monday, April 21, 2008


Entitled "Sining at Kalinangan sa Baywalk," it's a presentation of cultural performances by various local groups. A wonderful production made even more enchanting by a backdrop of a gorgeous setting sun at Manila Bay.

Last Saturday's feature was the Philippine Normal University chorale and rondalla groups. Mayor Lim gave the opening remarks, while PNU President Lutgardo Barbo conducted the welcome address.

The classic "Bituing Marikit" by Nicanor Abelardo was performed by Dennis Van Grospe along with the PNU Rondalla. It was among the rondalla's eclectic repertoire that included "Fifth of Bethoven" and a transporting medley of local pop music.

The PNU Chorale, besides performing the opening program's doxology, also captivated the audience with its presentation of various classic Filipino songs, as well as popular foreign tunes.

This cultural show is Mayor Lim's concept of a wholesome entertainment for the enjoyment of all visitors to Baywalk at Roxas Boulevard. It has been going on every weekend for quite some time now.

Incidentally, earlier that Saturday afternoon, prior to the performances by the PNU groups, the crowd was entertained by the band from the visiting Indian Navy as coordinated by the Philippine Navy.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:38 AM | 18 comments

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This young man certainly knew how to while away a lazy Saturday afternoon. And although his chances of catching something worth bragging about may be nil in this not so pristine waters of Manila Bay, the stunning sunset that graced the horizon must've have certainly made everything worth his while.

* * *

EXIF data:
Taken: 2008:04:19 06:03:47
Camera: Nikon D80
Aperture: F9
Shutter: 10/3200 sec
Focal Length: 36mm
ISO: 400
WB: Cloudy


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:15 AM | 26 comments

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It was confirmed by an editorial staff member a couple of months ago that the photo and accompanying text from my blog entry "A Smile as Bright as Sunshine" was to be published in Baby magazine's March issue. I was to be sent a promotional copy, she added.

March came and went, and haven't received anything; hence, I forgot all about it. That is, until my nephew called to say that he had bought a copy, and offered to bring it over so I could see it. You see, it was his daughter Alexandra's photographs that I've taken and posted in that particular blog entry; one of which was published in Baby magazine.

He bought another copy to be put away for safe keeping. When Alex gets to be old enough, he plans to give it to her as a birthday gift. I shared his excitement. However, in my case, it was because this marked the first time that an entry from my blog was picked-up by a glossy magazine to be published.

It was featured under the heading, "How to take the best shot of babies."


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:35 AM | 27 comments

Friday, April 18, 2008


In the weeks since Dr. Schaaf’s surprising pronouncement was made public, “The Leaf,” originally thought to have been made around 1839 or later, has become the talk of the photo-historical world. The speculation about its origins became so intense that Sotheby’s and the print’s owners decided earlier this month to postpone its auction, so that researchers could begin delving into whether the image may be, in fact, one of the oldest photographic images in existence, dating to the 1790s.

Excerpt from "An image Is a mystery for photo detectives" - The New York Times

Read complete article here.

* * *

EXIF Data:
Canon IXUS 65
Aperture: F2.8
Shutter: 1/320 sec
Flash: No

posted by Señor Enrique at 8:27 AM | 12 comments

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The “Dear Peace” traveling exhibit showcases the outputs of the young people who participated at a summer peace camp held last May 8-12, 2006 at Maryhill, Taytay.

Named “Impressions of Conflict, Expressions of Peace,” the camp activities were created to empower Christians and Muslims to work together for peace, with young people as catalysts. By focusing on their similarities, whether in faith or identity, participants and facilitators alike gained a new perspective in achieving lasting peace.

Communication Foundation for Asia, the proponent of the Children and Peace Project, conducted this summer peace camp project. The participants attended a series of media workshops: the basics of painting, writing, dramatics, photography, video production and music using ethnic instruments, to express their thoughts on peace.

This “Dear Peace” traveling exhibit is currently at the Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila; its opening ceremony was held last Monday. Gemma Cruz-Araneta of the Manila Historical and Heritage Commission, and Adel Tamano, president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Monday's opening event, titled "Tertulia sa Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila" also included a lecture program
presided by Monina Santiago of the Museo ng Maynila. It highlighted the local Muslim heritage and its significant contributions to the Philippine culture. Adel Tamano conducted the opening remarks, while Gemma Cruz-Araneta, the open forum and closing remarks.

The main speakers were Dr. Isiri Abubakar of UP-Diliman,
Teresita Hermano of Communication Foundation for Asia, and Mayor Lim's consultant on Muslim affairs Bae Bayolan Tamano Marohombsar

From the Pamantasan, the exhibit will move to the Museo ng Maynila.
Please call 405-0135 for information.


posted by Señor Enrique at 8:16 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Many thanks to, the official website of the City of Manila, for having picked my photo essay -- The 63rd Commemoration of the Battle for Manila.

I'm truly honored to see it
featured quite prominently on its Historical and Heritage Commission page.

Maraming salamat po!


posted by Señor Enrique at 10:19 AM | 37 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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