Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Follow me!

Sure, if God says so. Why not? I followed and went to Tondo (see yesterdays blog) and Payatas (besides many other places).

Sorry, no cross was available to carry....

Photo from a monster billboard in Pasay, Metro Manila, October 2007.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Smokey Mountain: Manila's Divine Comedy

Manila’s dumpsites are not just sites where waste is being dumped. All dumpsites offer means for survival for many people. Payatas in the north of Manila provides ‘survival’ for some 100,000 people. Smoky Mountain (bordering Manila’s port) is smaller but the same inhumanity exists there. Whole families live on the dumpsite all their lives. Father Giovanni Gentilin, a remarkable Italian priest who has been working in Tondo for 18 years, tells us that life expectancy is around 40 years for people living on the dumpsite.

The dumpsite in itself offers a glimpse of Dante Alighieri’s hell. As in Dante’s work, different layers of hell exist but they are all horrifying. Some people have small Sari-Sari stores on Smokey Mountain, others run a videoke machine or a ‘bar’ with a billiard table but most people who live in shacks on the dumpsite earn their living by collecting and selecting rubbish. All live in dirt, sharing the scarce space with millions of flies and armadas of rats and breathing a pestilent, highly toxic air. Father Giovanni calls it the ‘the smell of the politicians’ who are all good Catholics or Christians.

Every day is a fight for survival. Once the waste is being brought in or shifted, hundreds of scavengers fight for getting the best parts of it. Thanks to Father Giovanni’s work, many scavengers now have rubber boots to avoid stepping into sharp metal; he and his supporters run a number of projects to alleviate the burden of such life by offering basic health care and scholarships for the kids.

All photos from Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Metro Manila, October 2007.

If you want to help please visit 'Smokey Children', if you have better and other solutions please let us know and comment.

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Monday, October 29, 2007


Photo from Tondo, Metro Manila, October 2007.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Lahori night on a horse-drawn tonga

Nothing to add. Hope your speakers are on.

Video from Lahore, April 2003.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Opening a new lane

Driving in the Philippines is often like muddling through since if there are two lanes you can be ensured that at least three but often four cars will fit onto them. Sometimes there is more space and drivers will open up new lanes as pictured above.

Photo somewhere close to Santo Tomas, south-west of
Manila, May 2007.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Increase your sex drive

Balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside. Boil it, add salt and enjoy. The latter should be taken literally since Balut is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

Every night starting around 9PM street vendors start shouting ‘baluuuut’ to sell this high-protein power snack.

Photo from Food Market, Taguig, Metro Manila, May 2007.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shit house from Borneo with English lyrics

If you wanna listen to a somewhat similar (no gonorhea) song then follow me....

Shit house photo from Kembayan, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia, November 2003.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Super Salon

It's a fact that there is always space for a Super Salon.

Photo from Quiapo, Metro Manila, September 2007.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Taliban are back

So many bottles to cover. So few burqas.

Photo from Makati, Metro Manila, October 2007.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless

One of the striking features of Manila is its traffic congestion. It is sad to see how the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA deals with traffic flows. An eye-opening example is shown above where somebody must have earned a fortune to supply concrete road blocks. The picture is showing how road blocks create a new highway by also shortening the lanes of the left highway since a substantial part of one lane is used for the concrete blocks. You can imagine the wild driving on the left highway with not having enough space on one lane (partly covered by concrete) that those drivers are forced to occupy two lanes all the time?

Like in most cases the MMDA is unable to provide a solution but is well equipped to create an even bigger problem. How many drivers must have missed the entrance to the new right highway and have to drive back all the way? I guess that most decision takers at the MMDA don’t drive by themselves since a sane driver wouldn’t be able to come up with so hopeless ideas of regulating traffic flows.

The good thing about nearly all MMDA road block decisions is still promising: They never last for long and are changed often (which surely adds to more problems).

Great job, MMDA! May the world learn from your development examples!

Photo from Ortigas, Metro Manila October 2007.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Something only a mother can love

See above and below some frogfishes.

If you look for a definition of frogfishes you might want to say 'creatures only mothers can love'.

The video below is showing a swimming frogfish, which is quite rare since you mostly find frogfishes sitting and waiting for prey. Frogfishes might move (actually walk) if you really annoy them with your camera.

Frogfishes swim slow, but the 'frogfish is known to have the fastest movement in the animal kingdom with a bite that has been photographed at high speed to take only 1/6000 of a second'.

Do you prefer orange? Do you want to see how a frogfish is angling and eats its prey?

All frogfishes from Mabul and Kapalai islands (North-West Celebes Sea, Malaysia), October 2007.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Diving Sipadan

Sipadan island (North-Western Celebes sea) was disputed between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Since 2002 Sipadan island belongs officially to Malaysia. Therefore, the 2000 hostage crisis in which divers and local staff were kidnapped and brought to Jolo in the Philippines happened on no man's island. Today, the island is heavily patrolled by Malaysia's navy and navy check points are established on the island. The island is also protected from too much human interference to preserve the unique underwater habitat. No more resorts are allowed on the island, and scuba diving is regulated by permits.

Photo above: Leopard shark

Photo above: whitetip reef sharks

Photo above: Qualli and turtle

Photo above: tight school of Jacks

All photos from Sipadan island, October 2007. Surely, Sipadan is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Imelda Marcos and Gaddafi

Imelda Marcos meets Muammar al-Gaddafi and Pope John Paul II and Leonid Brezhnev seem to be happy about this event.

Photo from Imelda's megalomania shrine in Tacloban (Island of Leyte), April 2007.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Timeless Philippines

Photo from somewhere in Nueva Vizcaya, March 2006.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Advertisement from God

Welcome to the Philippines!

Will God still need to talk when somebody pays for the full ad space?

Photo from yesterday somewhere between Clark airport and Manila.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's not a leaf, it's a fish

Some things under water are hard to believe but this picture is not showing a leaf but a real 4 cm long fish, called robust ghost pipefish.

The good news: Such a fish will never end up in one of the fish restaurants.

Photo from Mabul island, October 2007.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

After having seen the dentist?

Tight School of Bumphead Parrotfishes at Sipadan, October 2007.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Quidditch under water

It seems J. K. Rowling will have to write an 8th Harry Potter since Quidditch is now played under water.

Photo from Sipadan Island, October 2007.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Don't eat them (or their fins), watch them

Have you ever been invited to a shark fin soup?

Photo of white tip reef sharks at Sipadan Island, October 2007.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's not an aquarium fish either

October 2007 photo of an orange frog fish from Mabul Island (Sabah, Borneo).

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's not an aquarium, ...

.. it is a restaurant.

Photo from Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant. The place to fish and eat in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (October 2007).

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Posing for fame

Kids posing for fame (and smiling behind bars).

Thanks for watching!

Photo from Apo Island, Philippines, November 2002.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Belly dancing

Belly dancing in Manila is just better than anywhere else!

Photo from Manila, August 2007.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sheikh TV

The bigger, the better or the same kind of commercial TV bullshit as anywhere else?

Photo from Dubai, September 2007.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rainy season in Manila

Currently it rains cats and dogs in Manila.

Photo from Makati, September 2007.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How to hold your head?

Is Holy Dionysius (or Saint Denis) holding his head correctly then?

Photo from the Basilika
Vierzehnheiligen in Bad Staffelstein (Franconia, northern Bavaria), September 2007.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Buy, rent or enjoy

Opted for #3 (enjoy) but it is certainly a great domicile.

Photo from the
Sonnenburg, a Jugendstil house in Coburg, Germany, September 2007.

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