Saturday, December 29, 2007

Joyeuses Fêtes à tous!

The gluttony is not yet over. Joyeuses Fêtes as written on the shop window includes New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as well.

Photo from Paris, December 2007.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Time to rest

Yeep, Santa's 2007 show is over! May he rest in his hammock for the next 11 months (or 7 months if he rests in the Philippines).

Photo from Versailles, December 2007.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Parking a car in Paris

Photos from Paris, December 2007.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Headless, not brainless

The art of music reinvented: headless, though not brainless.

Video from Paris, December 2007.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

After the hors-d'œuvre

Photo after the hors-d'œuvre of Christmas Eve, Viroflay, December 2007.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve procedure in France

Photo above: Les huîtres. Still alive, just add lemon to verify.

Photo above: Coquilles Saint-Jacques (my favorite entrée, prepared à la Gisou).

Photo above: Fish in all varieties.

Photo above: Pheasant as part of the plat principal.

Photo above: Marchand de fromage.

Photo above: Cheese (or why it is associated to a smile).

All pictures from yesterday, the day before Christmas Eve, marché de Versailles, France.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas tuna?

What to eat for Christmas this year?

Why not wonderful sashimi tuna? Anyway, as the photo shows it was too late for ikizukuri (prepared alive).

Photo after the catch April 2004, Ticao Island, Philippines.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Traffic risks!

Can you imagine driving some 50 or 70 km/h and suddenly kids try to cross such a highway?

Photo from Makati, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Jeepney garage

Sometimes the jeepney is bigger than its home.

Photo from Pasay, Metro Manila, July 2007.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas party on the beach

Like every year we celebrate Christmas on the beach together with the village of Biga. What a pleasure!

The weather gods had been with us, so that tropical rains didn’t interrupt the festivities. The MC (master of ceremony) led us through the games (see hit-the-pot picture above), dances by the girls of the village, food (no lechon, but pansit), and gifts by Santa Claus. Afterwards we had some beverages to thoroughly reflect the afternoon

The party is getting bigger every year. Six years ago we counted some 55 kids; in 2007 we reached more than 90. No chance that the Filipinos would die out. Tagalog seems to be the language of the 22nd century. So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Photo above: Macarena performed by the Biga girls.

Photo above: Sack race on the sands.

Photo above: Shortly before the start of the egg and spoon race.

Photo above: Apple eating contest.

Photo above: Bon app' as the French would say.

Photo above: Santa and company arrive on the beach or Von draus vom Wasser komm ich her...

Photo above: Christmas expectations.

All photos from Biga, Batangas, December 2007.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

After the party

Photo from Biga, Batangas after the Christmas party, December 2007.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The real road show: Driving through Manila

Photo from Magellanes, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Waiting for the train

This is what you could do while waiting for the train.

Photo from Sucat, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas house

Photo from Makati, December 2007.

For the 2006 photo click here.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sun roof

Photo from Tutuban Center Mall, Divisoria, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Cherries for Christmas

This note is more for the folks back in Europe:

Instead of oranges—quite strange actually—you can now buy cherries for Christmas.

Anyway, what is strange in our globalized, instant world? Strange is only that we lose everything, by just having the whole lot readily available all the timenothing is special any more.

Photo from Makati, December 2007.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

21st century traffic jam

Photo from Divisoria, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the train through Manila

These pictures from December 2007 follow the train ride from Sucat (southern Manila) to Tuyuman (northern Manila). The government is committed to dismantle the slums and claim back the occupied property for investment in the railroad sector. The squatters are relocated, but some stay even after their homes had been demolished as some of the following pictures will show.

Photo above: Jumping in and out of the train at Sucat station.

Photo above: Grids protecting commuters against stones, garbage bags and 'flying saucers', as bags full of shit are called. Please note, that this is the fastest garbage collection in town.

Photo above: Jeepney of the rails, required to transport goods and people between railway stations.

Photo above: Some of the worst locations for squatters along the riles.

Photo above: Probably the smallest sleeping locations with a roof in town. The 'flying junkyard' is an illegal billboard out of function.

Photo above: Demolished shanties but people returned.

Photo above: Life along the riles.

Photo above: Getting ready for Christmas.

Photo above: Space is scarce.

Photo above: What future?

Photo above: Some shacks are worse than others.

Photo above: A room with a view.

Photo above: At least somebody owns a vehicle to get out.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good news for the financial sector!

There is now at least one real bank in the Philippines!

Photo from the city of Manila, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Anchored in garbage

The dog of the first picture is floating on garbage, the humans are anchored in it.

Photos taken along one of the filthiest esteros, Divisoria, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is Santa Claus Mother Christmas?

Photo from Divisoria, Metro Manila, December 2007.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

How to become a hairdresser?

All you need is clients with hair or goldie locks (extensions).

Photo from Malapascua Island, December 2007.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Getting ready for robbing a bank?

Anyway, better wear a wig if you intend to rob a bank!

Photo from Maya, Cebu Island, November 2007.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Malapascua Island

Photo above (December 2007): Sharks on the beach of Malapascua Island.

Yes, there are some places where one should come back to! We went to Malapascua Island (northern tip of Cebu island) for the third time andno regrets. Surely, the island is developing in terms of more accommodation, more restaurants and a rapidly (or is it rabbitly) growing island population (the latter applies to the entire Philippines) but it has kept its charm and its major attractions: ‘La Dolce Vita’ and the thresher sharks.

The Italian restaurant ‘La Dolce Vita’ seems to be out of place on such an island in the Philippines but trust me, forget Italy and its weather in December and enjoy all year long great Italian food in a tropical setting instead. The thresher sharks were the second driving force which pulled me to Malapascua. Threshers are some 2 to 4m long and have a tail which is at least 1/3 the length of the shark’s body. Each time I went to Malapascua, I saw them. Malapascua is the only place (at least to my knowledge) where threshers can be sighted on a regular basis due to a cleaning station in some 23m depth.

Photo above: Seahorse at Gato Island (30min or in big waves 70min away from Malapascua, we had big waves!)

Photo above: Mandarin fish (Malapascua Island).

Photo above: Cuttlefishes (Gato island).

Video above: Mating cuttlefish. How entertaining! Three males fight for one girlie cuttlefish. We stayed there for 15min at the end of our dive. We ran out of air but not them.

Photo above: Whitetip reef sharks in a cave. We saw four in one cave and one cruising around at Gato Island.

Video above: Thresher sharks at Malapascua. Not my video but this is what you can see there.

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