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June 16-18, 2011, SMX Convention Center

Nothing to do this weekend? Head on over to Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center for Canon’s Print for Smiles. It’s for a good cause. See you all there…

Click to enlarge

‘4 Hours In Manila’s Chinatown’

My new post was just uploaded over at T+L Southeast Asia. The photos are pretty much the same as this post but it’s a short intro for a visit to Manila’s Chinatown instead of a photography standpoint.

Other post at T+L Southeast Asia are: Shen Ken Township, Taiwan and Mt. Pinatubo Spa Town. Original post on this blog are Tofu Capital and Mt. Pinatubo, Part 1. Check ’em out.

t+l sea_feb



The very polluted Pasig River that runs through the Binondo area

Binondo aka Manila’s China Town akin to the dirtiest parts of the world. Where trash is controlled chaos, where the Chinese underworld operates, where wholesalers call home and where food is always a comfort.

One restaurant that stands out is Sincerity, already an institution serves up Chinese food from the Fujian Province of China. This is real, unadulterated Chinese food. On a diet? Skip this place. The closest thing they have for dieters is the Coke Zero. Armed with an 85mm f/1.8 and an empty stomach, for an hour and a half, the place gets shot with a Canon and a healthy bill at meals end.

The EF 85mm f/1.8 on a x1.6 crop sensor DSLR like the Canon EOS 7D goes all the way out to 135mm in full frame numbers. It is a great walk around lens even if zooming in and out takes a bit of walking. This is one lens where it can reach the good stuff-like say in a car, roll down the window and bang, you have the shot. Streets in downtown Manila are one way and narrow. The 85mm f/1.8 also one of the sharpest, cheapest and lightest in Canon’s lens collection. Short enough as well not to cause too much undue attention.


Remnant from the last Chinese new year


Admist controlled chaos


Interior views of Sincerity


Tableware presentation the old way


Kikiam- a roll stuffed with chicken, pork and other good stuff


Ma-chang (肉粽) or zongzi (粽子)- gluttinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves and stuffed with pork, chicken, mushrooms and nuts


Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)- made with oysters, eggs, tapioca starch and eaten with a sweet chili sauce


Stirred fry Chinese vermicilli with various meats and seafood.


The classic and very tasty Sincerity fried chicken


Lunch time traffic

Leading Up to a Full Moon


The moons from December 13, 15 and 18, 2010.

The news reported a full lunar eclipse on the 20th of December Manila time. As it so happens, we had clear skies but no luck on the eclipse. What transpired was a total full moon at moon rise and the sunset on the other side of the horizon. It was an incredible sight to behold.



Full Moon on December 22

This scene spotted tonight right after dinner. Quickly grabbed my gear and shot off 4 frames. This is a composite of 2 exposures- 1 for the overall city scene and 1 to expose for the moon. Captured in RAW and processed in Photoshop. The colors were much brighter in 16 bit colors than the 8 bit jpeg here.




It all began on this rainy night.

The camera, a Canon EOS 50D, was all set up on a tripod and suddenly thirst got the better of me. There would be nothing better than a cold drink while waiting for lightning to strike.

Instead of leaving the camera idle outside in the slight drizzle my fingers found the shutter button on the remote and set it to bulb. Now, getting that cold drink took about a minute or so. Upon returning to my shooting spot with drink in one hand, my other hand closed the shutter on the camera. Not really expecting to get anything a few 1 minute frames were captured thereafter.

Of the 40 plus frames only 3 had me smiling and 1 had me jabbing the air like my son had just received a new toy. The rest are history and stored in an external hard drive.

Original photo shot in RAW format, processed in DPP and further enhanced in Photoshop.


The night before any shoot my camera gear gets the once over with a clean damp cloth and a check list of what to bring and not to bring. On this particular night around 7pm the skies over manila lit up with lightning. It was everywhere on the horizon-as if the electrical bolts were saved up for a few nights and were all let loose at the same time.

These frames were captured at around 8:15pm after my camera gear were all clean and squared away for the next day. There was a very slight drizzle outside. The lightning storm had been going on for more than an hour and I’d be sure this time I would get a few frames.

I questionably put my cleaning cloth to the side and proceeded to set up the camera. Knowing quite well that it would get the once over again.




Draft Info Steel 25_p18_p19Late in 2009 an architectural trade magazine (Infosteel, Belgium) expressed interest with my Basilica Minore de San Sebastian (Quiapo, Manila) series Lego Church on flickr. Email exchanges later, Infosteel Magazine issue 25 goes to press with 3 of my San Sebastian Photos.

On the top right is the rough layout of the pages. Infosteel magazine was nice enough to email me the 2 pages before even receiving the final photos in TIFF format.

paint by numbers2009I am very happy that across the globe another country has taken interest in the San Sebastian. The Neo Gothic styled interior is truly a site to behold. It is the only church in the Philippines and Asia that is constructed of steel and have survived numerous earthquakes throughout a century. San Sebastian was finally declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2006.

Not only was the church shipped steel part by steel part from Belgium on steam boats in 1888 it was reputed to be designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame. This has been confirmed by Architect IM Pei’s visit to Manila in the 1970’s backed up by a published report (still doing research about this report).

Top right and bottom are the 3 original photographs of Basilica Minore de San Sebastian originally posted on flickr in 2008 and used in the article, ‘Patrimonium_Patrimoine: De ‘stalen basiliek’ van Manilla is 120 jaar / La basilique ‘tout acier’ de Manille a 120 ans’ in 2009. I believe part of that title is in French and loosely translated to ‘The Basilica ‘all steel’ of Manila is 120 years’. I’m sure some of you reading this can better translate to English. Please put it in the comment box. TIA.

san sebastian int.diptych

Below are the photographs of the magazines I received in February of 2010 through snail mail.





Featuring Lea Salonga as ‘Grizabella’, Begins Run 7/24/2010

After 29 years, Pinoys will be able to see the award winning play on home turf. The tickets are a bit on the expensive side but savings on airfare makes pricing tolerable. Besides Cats has closed on Broadway in New York and London’s West End. Lets hope for the best that the production is up to par.

See you at the theater…


Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. It introduced the song standard “Memory”.

The musical first opened in the West End in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982. Each time directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, it won numerous awards, including both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical. The London production ran for twenty one years and the Broadway production ran for eighteen years, both setting long-run records. Actresses Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley became particularly associated with the musical. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire run (from 1982 until 2000).

Cats has been performed around the world many times and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 1998 it was also made into a television video. Wikipedia

More info on the Manila play dates with an extended run.

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Featured Posts From the Past:

Total Lunar Eclipse: June 16, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse: June 16, 2011

Click to view largo

20th Century Lens & 21st Century DSLR Invades Chinatown

20th Century Lens & 21st Century DSLR Invades Chinatown

Kenko PRO1 Digital S Circular PL Filter

Kenko PRO1 Digital S Circular PL Filter

A Maze of People, Buildings and Public Transportation

A Maze of People, Buildings and Public Transportation





Shutter switch assembly: top and bottom view


Mac_3482x Mt Pinatubo Crater Lake


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