Category: This Provincial Life

All Saints Day

Traditions last as long as families and significant others keep things going…

November 1 is such a day for Filipinos. In remembrance of their dearly departed, they give their annual dues, in the form of flowers, candles, and prayers. There is that Catholic belief that the souls of the dear departed are in Purgatory, and they cannot pray for themselves, thus they would need their loved ones on Earth to pray for them. By mentioning their names and praying out loud, the dead will have a better chance for getting into heaven.

In these areas, columbariums are still non-existent, and thus the townspeople visit their dead in the cemetery, where the tombs are stacked impossibly high next to each other, OR, that tiny graves are dug in between plots.

No, there is no actual planning and landscaping, and thus, it can get pretty crowded. The following photos are a glimpse of how All Souls Day is commemorated here in the locality (and pretty much for every other provincial town here in the Philippines…)

 

 

Photos: Allie’s First Birthday!

ย I actually enjoy milestones. And a couple of days ago, September 1, 2017, I was able to join in on the first birthday party of a darling little sweetie, Allie. ๐Ÿ™‚

My dear friend Alex and his wife, Jennifer invited sent me an invitation a month beforehand to Allie’s Mad Hatter-themed birthday party.

Now, Allie is as cute as button, and has the most pleasant temperament of any child I’ve seen. She is one of those adorable babies that absolutely brighten your day both in person, and of course, social media.

She has quite a personality of her own…doted on by her parents who were so obviously in love with each other, and a family from both sides that was always, hands-on with her care.

I love babies, don’t get me wrong. Despite not having my own yet, I’ve always looked at them with a kind of hopeful positive feeling that they were going to somehow make things right in the world somehow, in their own way, some day. They were the primordial “soup” that could turn out into a masterpiece should their parents put in all their best efforts. Although I do acknowledge that parenting is not easy, it makes me appreciate all the more the love and care (and time, definitely), mothers and father put into this.

This sweetie here, is a lucky little charm(er). Love her.

๐Ÿ˜€

Photo: Lovers at Sunrise, Siargao May 2017


Lovers at Sunrise, Siargao, May 12, 2017.

One time, a friend of mine asked me, “How do you find these people (i.e. Lovers) to photograph?” I answered, “I don’t know, they just happen to be there most of the time…” Anyway, when I was there, we were given leave to go out to a popular resort place in #Siargao, and I was one of the first people out of the van. Walking up the boardwalk, I saw these two wrapped in an embrace, motionless like stone. But they were not stone…far from that. They breathed as one, like a living entity of two hearts, ensconced in each other’s mutual loving presence.

Later in the day, I would hear a reading of Pablo #Neruda’s “Sonnet 27”, and remember distinctly what this embrace would feel like, and how wonderful it was to have been loved, “…as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul… where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

There is a beauty to its vulnerability that draws me closer. I don’t think I have to explain myself, but I feel it is necessary to say that although I love the emotions love brings, it is not the idea of it, that drives me to write in such a manner. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Sugba Lagoon, Del Carmen, Siargao

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Sugba Lagoon, May 11, 2017.ย 

 

Was in Siargao, Surigao Del Norte for a week. It was absolutely beautiful over there.

The takeaway lesson for this trip was that, if you say yes to an invitation, you just might get the surprise of your life…and a positive experience to change your heart for the better.

๐Ÿ™‚

Photo: Mr. Fruit Man

 

CherryVoy (“my friends call me Sean”, Businessman specializing in Fruit. Dumaguete, Philippines, March 2, 2017. ย 

It was his bright auburn hair, I saw first… and then the oranges.

And then like I always do, I reached for mine phone and pretended to walk by while making a photo.I only got to walk a few steps when I realized that my “surreptitiously-done” photo was not what I wanted (or not what I had pictured in my head).

No matter, I thought, I could still remedy the situation. And besides, I could choose a few Mandarin oranges…:-)

“What’s your name? ” I asked him.

My mother, in the meantime, was haggling, but ended up buying more fruit than my oranges. She’s pretty good at it, I suppose, but he was adept at being “firm” about the prices. It was actually entertaining to see them banter about it a bit while she tried to have her way with the purchases.

“CherryVoy…but my friends call me Sean.” he said.

“Hey, would you mind if I took your picture?” I asked, “I think your store has such bright colors, I think it would make a really nice photo.” He gamely posed, and I took a few shots with my phone camera. When I showed them to him, and asked if it was alright if I could post it online. He looked through the ones I had taken, and smiled as if to say that he liked how he and the store looked. He easily consented.

As it turns out, it was a ย Win-Win situation, I’d say. ๐Ÿ™‚

(And man, those were some of the sweetest Mandarin oranges I’ve had. If you’re ever in the Cang’s Department Store area, drop by his store, it is just right beside the parking spaces. I think He can give discounts…if you ask nicely. :-))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before All Souls Day

“So, what are you going to do with these pictures?”

(I often get asked why I take pictures… I have a voluminous collection of snaps in my iphone, which I carry around while my “formal” camera is in repair. I just see something I like, and then, I see possible stories in my head because of it. Or, in some way, I am reminded of something that happened to me…it could actually be anything. ย The following pictures are examples.)

Gentleman in yellow. October 30, 2016. ย (Do you know how, when someone looks up and points at the sky, you immediately want to look up and see what it was he was pointing at? Well, this was what I felt when I saw this person staring at something in the sky behind me. I actually never got to ask him what it was, but that look on his face was interesting enough.

T

It was just a big red dump truck, really eye-catching. You couldn’t miss it.
Flowers in ready for November 1 (which is a National Holiday for us here in the Philippines.
The theme for the afternoon was yellow.
Yellow #2 Girl in a yellow t-shirt, waiting for the florist’s version ofย ikebana.l
Yellow #3. I saw her while walking down the street to get to the pop-up flower stalls near the public market. She wore a gold-colored top, and a tiny yellow umbrella, which I doubt provided a lot of reprieve from the sun. ย I think she probably was squinting, more than the fact that she was mad at me. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Ship Builder

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Edmund the shipbuilder. April 2015. Dumaguete, Philippines.

 

He had a grand old beauty on his shoulder…

While on one of my occasional walks on the promenade some months, I saw this fellow with four of these ships in his hands. This one was the biggest, and he had three more medium-sized and small ones in the other hand. I was so taken by the details of the handiwork that I had to ask for his permission to take this photo.

He obliged of course, and I said, “Thank you, I’ll let my friends know about you!”

When I posted it on one of my social media sites, I immediately was flooded with queries as to the cost of the ships, and how we could contact him. These tiny details, crucial they may be, was overlooked as I was mesmerized, and busy trying to compose the picture in my head. Embarrassing it may have been, I was at a loss, and could only tell people that he was around at the Boulevard and that I would ask him when I saw him again.

A few months later, ย I was with my friend from grade school and he was the one who noticed him. He said, “Hey, isn’t that the guy you took a picture of?” So we met up with him, and I asked the questions that I needed.

His name was Edmund, an Ilonggo from Guimaras, and he regularly traveled to sell his boats. They were actually costing from Php 3,500 to Php 6,500, and could be made to order.

Things of beauty, these things were.

If you see Edmund on the Boulevard, do me a favor…Say hello, and check out his beauties. Who knows, maybe you might fall in love with them like I did! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Pedicabs

Pedicabs in line. Philippines. August 2016.

Small streets call for small modes of transportation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Where I come from, the more popular mode of public transportation are these “pedicabs” (others refer to them as “pedibox” just because) and they are likened to “taxicabs”, because they bring you to wherever you want in the city, for the going price of 8 pesos per trip (or a little bit more if you want to go someplace farther).

They are convenient, breezy, and fairly cheap mode of transportation, in a city that has 1-2 taxis in service. ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo: the full moon

The full moon on a sunset plane ride. The Philippines, July 21, 2016.

ย When one looks really hard, and is patient enough, one sees colors and light in the way one wants to see it.

I took this photo while in the plane to a city a couple of hours away from where I live in order to attend the conference. Traveling alone, I was able to enjoy my precious few hours of silence and not being bothered by anyone for conversation. (I love my solitude when I want it.)

What I love about this picture is the ethereal quality of the vivid pinkish hues in the sky, in stark contrast to the dark blues and blacks of the ground and the sea below, punctuated by a silvery white full coin of a moon.

Ah, but it was love!

~ S.

 

The Ladies in White

The white house near the Bian Yek in Dumaguete has always held a mysterious air.

When I was in grade school, someone told me that there were “White Ladies” who lived there, and that they were really old and frail.

I remember one time late one after whilst riding a pedicab, and looking up, I saw them, three ladies sitting out in the terrace… The deep set eyes looked menacing to me, the bones of their face were so high and prominent and they made their features appear hook-like and menacing, and their hair was white and buffeted by the breeze.All this made them look more menacing… Than they should have been. And although I mustered up the courage to stare, I couldn’t…and I had to turn away and avert my eyes.

(I did that every time I passed that place…which was almost every day.)

Nowadays, I’m not sure if it is occupied by anyone, but the childhood memory of the elderly ladies and an overactive imagination had me pegging those elderly ladies unfairly as scary beings, when in fact they were just elderly women being cared for by their caregivers.