Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cute sister is watching you

'1984' Photo taken on the Sorsogon (Luzon) - Samar ferry in April 2007.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Golfing on the edge

Tagaytay Highlands is one of the most challenging golf courses in the Philippines. You golf on the crater’s edge and you better know your skills. While playing you will be rewarded with stunning views of Taal Lake, in which another volcano is placed in the middle of the lake.

Bring plenty of golf balls!

Photo with uncle and aunt and two ‘shagging ladies’ from March 2005.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rural Philippines

After yesterday’s chaotic and self defeating madness picture we better turn the page to look onto the bright side of the Philippines.

Carabao photo from somewhere in Bataan in May 2007.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Driving insane – the art of creating new lanes

To be sure: this is NOT a one-way street, and this is not one side of EDSA. This is just a normal country road, as the bus struggling through on the top corner of the picture shows. Most Filipino drivers never take a traffic jam for granted. The most current reaction is to reduce the number of lanes on the other side, especially if traffic is light there. Taking one lane is mostly fine. The picture shows the result when too many lanes are taken or opened: complete madness.

Photo from Lubao, Pampanga in May 2007.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

China off track

Brommel was created exactly one year ago! Time to celebrate with an astonishing photo from February 1986. The photo was taken close to Meishan, Sichuan and is showing China’s rural hardship. In these days the dress code was still blue (at least in the winter) and horsepower in the one-digit category.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

TV Dress Code for Believers

Why do some Muslim women cover their mouth? I am certainly not the right person to find an answer to this question but I found some help in the Quran (Sura 24:31) which explains the dress code for believers:

[24:31] 'And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed'.

Correct me, if I am wrong, but to me these words tell me that women ‘shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary’. In my understanding, when people talk the mouth must be visible because if you cover the mouth you would exclude the understanding of the deaf, therefore the mouth should never be covered since it is necessary (especially when people want to understand what is being said while watching TV). You might want to cover your nose if you can still breathe but not your mouth. I hope that this also nullifies the sexual drives of all male servants and all the other males in our expanded while globally watched households.

Photo from January 2007 of Haq TV, 'the most comprehensive Islamic channel keeping viewers in touch with the modern dynamics of islam (...)'.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bubble toes

How many bubbles do you count on her toes?

Photo from May 2007 in Anilao, Batangas.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Underwater acrobat

Photo of a acrobatic nudibranch at Anilao, Batangas in May 2007.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Leaf fish

Photo from Anilao, Batangas (May 2007) of a leaf fish, one of the underwater weirdos. Leaf fishes do not cruise the reef. Leaf fishes are waiting patiently for food to come and sway gently from side to side in the current.

I wonder why some countries are not using such a fish as their national emblem.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Morning Blues with a Spanish Dancer

It's Monday morning now, a wonderful scuba diving weekend just passed. Time for the Monday morning blues with the Spanish dancer we met yesterday in Anilao, Batangas.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congratulations, United Nations!

The organization 'Reporters sans frontières’ counts 29 killed journalists in the Philippines since 2002. Based on this data the Philippines is the second most dangerous place for journalists after Iraq.

Anything else to add?

Front page of Manila Bulletin (
19 May 2007) announcing that the Republic of the Philippines was reelected to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Please don't kiss me

Would never kiss you!
Would love to kiss your partners on the right and left.

Photo from Makati, Manila in May 2007.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Brain available?

Hope somebody can help her out...

Photo of a monster billboard well above Magellanes, Manila in May 2007.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

World largest broom or how best to clean a road

This self explanatory photo provides the answer to 'how to best clean a road':

  1. Cut a palm tree,
  2. store the palm tree into the jeepney in the most effient way,
  3. start the engine of the jeepney, and
  4. drive in the middle of the road.

Pictures of the 4th step will follow.

Photo somewhere close to Tagaytay (Taal Lake) in May 2007.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now, fun has a new figure

'Now, fun has a new figure'. Do you know any other country where you can find such kind of monster ad along a main inner-city highway? To me this is uniquely Filipino.

The ad is about the beauty dream the rich are thinking to live and the poor are hoping to live.

EDSA Photo from this morning.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Max Soliven is immortal

Election time is high time for journalists!

Ironically, the election-related news from today can’t be covered by the person they are about, emblematic journalist and Philippine Star publisher Max Soliven. He died on 24 November 2006.

Max Soliven did not only die in two cities.
He could also have voted yesterday, being still on the San Juan voting lists as his daugther, Sarah Soliven, discovered.

The question remains, is the state of affairs in the Philippines a journalists’ heaven or hell?

Photo borrowed from ABS-CBN, 15 May 2007 with thanks to Gü.

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Turn the lechon: National sport of the Philippines

A national sport is a sport that is considered to be a popularly intrinsic part of the culture of a country. Although there are no official parameters towards defining what is a national sport, there are some general characteristics that most national sports share:
  • The rules and objectives of the sport are known in fairly great detail in the country.
  • The sport is widely played/watched/consumed in the country.
  • The sport has a long history of popularity....

BTW, turning the lechon—the hidden national sport of the Philippines— is much more interesting and rewarding than other sports such as cricket where boredom is placed into rules and streched over too many days.

Photo and clip from Hermana Mayor, Zambales in February 2007.

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Monday, May 14, 2007


In today's midterm elections the people of the Philippines could vote to get the right candidates for the 17,000 national and local positions.

This morning, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano (known from the ‘
Hello Garci scandal’), and very important in this entertainment-driven country the actress Susan Roces were the first to vote. May Iwa, Ehra, Karel, Joyee, Amanda and Eula all win (please click on the photo above to see the candidates better). I am sure the six beauties will guarantee a better future for the Philippines.

Photo from this Monday morning (14 May 2007) along EDSA, Mandaluyong. Note there are no cars on this usually fully jammed intercity highway. Gloria was kind enough to provide a holiday to her folks. Why on earth can the Philippines not vote on a Sunday? Is it not the goal of all politicians to make the economy more competitive?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Banca beggars along the highway

The Philippine archipelago comprises 7107 islands, but interestingly you can drive the somewhat 2,500 km long Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway) from North (Laoag City, Luzon) to South (Zamboanga City, Mindanao) by using two ferries only. The first ferry is cruising between Southern Luzon and Northern Samar and takes about one hour. The second ferry is sailing approximately four hours between Southern Leyte and North-Western Mindanao.

At all four piers you will encounter ‘banca beggars’ asking the passengers to throw some coins overboard.

Photo from Matnog, Sorsogon in April 2007.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Imelda, the nude President and the pope's chair

The picture above is showing a huge painting with beautiful and grand Imelda Marcos in the middle, holding a shell with four smaller versions of herself (her three children Maria Imelda ‘Imee’ Marcos, Ferdinand ‘Bong-Bong’ Marcos, Jr., Irene Marcos and the adopted daughter Irene Marcos). On the left, even bigger than Imelda, is a nude Ferdinand Marcos with his face covered by a curtain. Trust me, you won’t have many opportunities to see a nude president with a covered face.

The picture below puts Imelda into perspective. On the very right, the chair made for the 1981 visit of Pope John Paul II to the Philippines (note on the very left the similar, but somewhat smaller chair used by President Marcos for the grand mass in Manila). Still, central to all of it is herself, the ‘Rose of Tacloban’.

April 2007 photos from ‘Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Centre’ in Tacloban—Imelda's home townon the island of Leyte. The Shrine was built by and for Imelda Marcos.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Gorge yourself and you might cover the same space as this billboard

Photo of a 'fat kid billboard' from January 2007 somewhere in Batangas.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cow above a somewhat road

Photo from June 2006 on Siquijor Island, Philippines.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Middle of the road

Photo of a 'middle of the road' Jeepney from Bicol in April 2007, but such a photo can be taken everywhere and any time in rural Philippines.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tropical land lord

Photo from Malitbog, Southern Leyte in April 2007.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Don't follow this tricycle

If you follow this tricycle to its destination you will soon find yourself surrounded by pop stars paying 5 Pesos for a few minutes of local fame.

Trust me, it’s only funny for the first songs.

Photo from April 2007 somewhere in Sorsogon, Bicol.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Glamorous Elections

Wherever you are these days in the Philippines you will either run into a political event or being followed by cars with loudspeakers paying tribute to the political candidate to be elected.

Often popular songs with easy to remember lyrics in praise of the politician are being used. These songs are so powerful that common people would remember the name of a candidate, not his capability as a leader, just how captivating and promising his slogans are.

Politics are quite similar to show business in the Philippines: Get the right rhythm, get the feelings right! Everything has to be easily packed so that it can be instantly consumed. It’s like buying bright colored tomatoes or mangoes which are often bought because of their shine. The sane buyer knows that shine does often the trick and that the product may be bland. Especially in the countryside, voters should know better that appearance is not equal to taste/trust.

Since all candidates use the same tricks, campaigns turn into brainwashing. No chance to escape. If you try to escape, make sure you know where you are heading to, road signs are mostly buried under election posters.

Photo from somewhere in Agusan del Norte, Mindanao in April 2007.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

No chance for fair elections in the Philippines!

According to today’s Manila Bulletin, the United States of America will observe the upcoming Philippine midterm elections. Why U.S. observers after the debacles during the 2000 and 2004 U.S. presidential elections?

If the Philippine government declares the elections on May 14th honest and fair, why not sending elected senators and congressmen as observers to the 2008 U.S. elections?

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Can you imagine the noise?

A ferry trip in the Philippines always comes with entertainment. On big ferries you will have performing artists and on small ones you will find at least the usual karaoke (here called ‘videoke’) equipment. On such ferries many new stars are born every 3 to 4 minutes at the cost of 5 Pesos (10 US cents). You will love it, especially when such cruising lasts for more than four hours... You will also be surprised to learn that most Filipino passengers can relax by having to listen to more than 100 decibel.

Photo from a ferry cruising between Southern Leyte and Mindanao in April 2007.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

How a pig's life ends

Photo somewhere close to Sorsogon City (Southern Luzon), Philippines in April 2007.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Traveling in time

Carabao journey: Not everything changed in 21st century Philippines.

Photo from Camarines Sur in April 2007.

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