Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No comment...

... or is it true?

Photo from Makati, Metro Manila in February 2007.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

High Speed Living

If you live a fast life you might need more photos than text.

Photo within the Shinkansen (新幹線, literally 'new trunk line', doesn't even refer to the train but nowadays is used for the Japanese high speed trains) from Osaka to Hiroshima in October 2006.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Philippine Beauty Contest

No, it's not the usual beauty contest between Marie France and Belo (the slimming and artificializing giants), it's also not about the efforts of many girls to become the most beautiful woman of the world. This actually is the reality check by just measuring beauty on the streets of Manila. Number one today goes to ‘Glory z God’.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

What a kiss, what a face

It's probably the most famous hand kiss of the second half of the 20th century. Mao Zedong, the aging womanizer kissed the hand of the beautiful first lady of the Philippines—at that time Special Envoy—during her state visit to China in September 1974.

Why is Imelda making such a face? Was it surprise that Mao really kissed her hand (usually it's an air kiss) or was she unable to control her emotions or was it simply related to a
gift she might have gotten earlier?

Anyway, a nice clip (thanks to Carlos) of her state visit which led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (9 June 1975) is shown below. You might also enjoy Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife in the clip next to Imelda Marcos: rustic socialistic chic meets western extravagance. The clip itself comes from ‘irm888, age 77, Philippines'. To note, Imelda Romuáldez Marcos was born 2 July 1929 and if you have ever watched the movie ‘Imelda’ you will know that she very much believes in numerology (888 stands for three times fortune or wealth…).

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why is there no carnival in Manila?

The Carnival Season is a period of exuberance and jollity before the traditional Christian rigors of Lent’s 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. It is quite stunning to note that in the Philippines there is not much of an official carnival. The Philippines are mainly Catholic and therefore ruled by faith and forgiveness. The 40 days of lent would provide enough time for forgiveness but where are the frisky performances and processions, where is the decadence of Carnival?

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The shoe capital at night

Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines is not only the home of the world’s largest shoe but also the home of the largest floating shoe as pictured above in February 2007.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty-six days before Easter. On this day worshippers are blessed with ashes which are placed by a priest on the forehead in the shape of a cross. Traditionally worshippers retain the cross until washing it off after sundown.

Such a Wednesday is quite remarkable in Manila since all shopping malls are then filled with worshippers with crosses on their forehead. To note, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence, and repentance. Repentance for having met the Belo vamp along EDSA?

Both pictures, one from Mega Mall, the other from a monster billboard along EDSA, taken on Ash Wednesday 2007 in Manila.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The indigenous Filipino version of a carousel is related to the national Filipino animal, the Carabao.

Photo from Marikina, Metro Manila in February 2007 together with Jejomar (i.e. the genuine Tagalog all-inclusive name for Jesus, Joseph and Maria) on the carabao cart.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Faster than Satan

Satan must be sluggish! Traffic in Manila is extremely slow. Even on motorways three cars are enough to reduce the speed from 60km per hour (kph) to 30kph in an instant. Some people estimate the average speed in Manila around 10 kph which makes jogging a real alternative to reach the office in the morning.

Photo of 'Faster than Satan' on top of the Jeepney's licence plate from Cubao, Metro Manila in February 2007.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Sailing 250 nautical miles in Paradise

One of the most challenging and beautiful sports events is taking place every February in the Philippines—the Philippine Hobie Challenge.

It is island hopping at its best. The organizers make sure that you will find your dream island after many hours of sailing. The event lasts for seven days and consists of five days of island hopping and two days of in-shore races at the beginning and at the end.

The most wonderful thing about the event is that sailors from around the world participate: from Alaska to Australia, from Europe to the Philippines. Winds change from calm to stormy, waves from gentle to bizarre, encounters from dolphins to aircraft carriers but coke is always with rum.

Photo from the calm in-shores at
Club Paradise, Busuanga (Northern Palawan), February 2007.

Trust me, you don’t take pictures on a Hobie when the sea is real rough.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese Liberation Army storms Malacañang

The history of ivory carving in China dates back to the earliest time of Chinese culture. Originally, Chinese characters were not only carved on bones and tortoise shells but also on ivory. Such long tradition of ivory carving came to an end in the early 1980s due to the ban on ivory trade. Surely, some illicit ivory carving still exists since ‘niche’ money doesn’t care about bans, ethics and morals.

However, one of China’s outstanding ivory carvings can be seen in Manila. It surely is not as elaborated as the ivory carving donated by China to the United Nations in 1974 to celebrate the Chengtu-Kunming railway. This railway sculpture translates the engineering masterpiece into fine art. It is said that the railway sculpture was carved from eight elephant tusks and that 98 people worked on it for more than two years. You will even be able to spot the passengers inside the train of this landscape carving.

The ivory carving in Manila is even more interesting since it highlights not the engineering results of China’s socialist revolution but the revolution itself. Like the numerous statues glorifying the great proletarian revolution throughout China—my favorite one is in Shenyang—the ivory carving in Goldenberg mansion of Malacañang (i.e. one the guesthouses within the presidential compound in Manila) is showing the battlefield against the enemy. This enemy is Western capitalism.

What a great object as a state gift from the People’s Republic of China to then President Marcos (or was it Imelda?), the defender of anti-socialist movements in East Asia and friend of (crony) capitalism.

Photo from November 2006 at Goldenberg Mansion (San Miguel, Manila) which is called the 'big antique’ by Imelda Marcosbut that's another story....

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Radioactivity in Makati

Yesterday night/early this morning the Radioactive Sago Project launched its latest album ‘tanginamo andaming nagugutom sa mundo fashionista ka pa rin’. This easy to remember album offers a healthy mix of jazz cum funk cum punk cum spoken words and cha-cha-cha.

The band is claiming that it got its inspiration from Metro Manila’s pollution, spy film soundtracks, unbridled passion for Red Horse, the Simpsons, vintage porn, la dolce vita and some paranoia like UFO sightings besides others.

It’s fun to listen to the band’s inspirations especially in places such as
Makati’s saGuijo’s cafe and bar. You’ll probably never get closer to radioactivity.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Why Scuba Diving?

Why scuba diving is almost like why Manila. Lot's of fun, lot's to see and learn.

Photo from February 2007 of a sepia at Club Paradise, Busuanga, Philippines.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kenya in the Philippines

The savannah of Africa? No, this is Calauit Island in February 2007, just off Busuanga in Northern Palawan, Philippines.

On the island you will find zebras, giraffes, deer, antilopes, and even pythons. You might want to call it incest island due to the low numbers of imported animals from Africa. Needless to say, quite a dictator's dream.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Valentine's Day Gift Ever

Get your loved one something really useful. Buy a life jacket for your dog and take it out on a catamaran sailing boat.

Photo from February 007, Northern Busuanga, Philippines.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Miniature ads

Use every space available and keep your hands close to the bottle.

Photo taken inside of a tram in Hiroshima, Japan in October 2006.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

You better believe him

The bar is closed. Don't even try to pass this guy.

Photo taken around 2AM on 3 February 2007, Pasig, Metro Manila.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Weird travel companions

Will be out in the blue for the next week and hope that no such strange things will approach us again as happened last year north of Masbate, Philippines in February 2006.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Satellite dishes at the equator

This is why satellite dishes are so much easier to install along the equator.

Photo from Pontianak, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia in November 2003.

Even more importantly, it's Jan's 10th birthday today.


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