When Pokpok meets Stormtrooper (a bayside photowalk)

Voltaire “Bes” Yap, my college batchmate cum photography enthusiast wanted to do a photowalk in Manila so I suggested starting from Harbor Square beside the Cultural Center of the Philippines and ending at Harbor View restaurant by the Quirino Grandstand.

It was a good long walk; worthwhile for the photos taken and friendship shared.

For the record, Bes said that “Pokpok” is a Thai restaurant in Oregon and my sister won the Stormtrooper tshirt from the Flipgeeks’ Star Wars movie / charity benefit.

Pokpok and Stormtrooper Selfie


View from Harbor Square
Yachts parked by Harbor Square

Luneta at sundown 

Bes Yap shooting street/landscape photography at Luneta Park
View from Harbor View restaurant on Manila Bay by the Quirino Grandstand

The walk ended with dinner with my wife and children at Harbor View. Sinigang and grilled prawns to replace the calories we burned away in our walk.

Bes said he recorded 10,000 steps today so that is an accomplishment. But I’m more interested in the photos he took. Tag me on your obra maestras, Bes!

Part II: Baguio Vacation – Dec. 2015

The Baguio Country Club is a most revered  institution, founded in 1905 to provide sports  and recreation for the migrant residents of Baguio.

It has become a yearly tradition to provide a Christmas Village for tourists and residents alike. For our first night in Baguio, with kids in tow, we visited this “winter” wonderland.

A purple dragon, not Barney, met us at the central plaza


The scent of pine and the colorful, albeit makeshift, stalls gave the illusion that we were in a quaint European village. The dragons were a bonus.


Obligatory family photo. Note photobomber kicking (hopefully not his kid) in the background


When the snow appeared, if looked like we were inside a snow globe

Continued in Part III. Some more picturesque highlights of our Baguio vacation

Green Thoughts

Since I’m writing again (blogging, actually), here’s a column I used to write for Animo. Magazine. Ironically, it’s also written for Christmas (2003), before the presidential elections (of 2004).

Friends of Brother Benedict will like the last paragraphs.


Photo of the Day


_MG_5796 Hessa BnW wm
High Key Portrait of Hessa, shot in March 2014

Sith vs. Jedi at the Star Wars X Globe Galactic Celebration
Here’s to conducting more photography workshops in 2016
Win5DIII_14018 Mika and Potpot shouting A4 Platinum
11-Dec. 2015. Shooting sports is a passion for me. While it is not as lucrative as the other genres of photography, the drama and beauty of it never fails to excite me.



An oldie but goldie from the beach at Antulang resort at the southern tip of Negros
Ztylus fisheye paraw view
Sunset shot on the outrigger netting of a Boracay paraw sailboat with a Ztylus Revolver fisheye lens on an iPhone 6


Part I: Baguio Vacation – Dec. 2015

We stayed at Chato Mañeru’s Bed & Breakfast in Monterrazas Village, a few minutes drive from Baguio City. Chato is an old friend from SRO Theater days, where he played Cinderella’s stepmother at the Hotel Intercontinental ballroom in the 70’s.

It was great finally meeting his wife Marlies who was a surrogate grandma to my kids (The Tactless One and The One Who Spits) while we stayed there.

Chato Marlies and I
Marlies, Chato, and me

After a sumptuous lunch with the Mañerus, we went sightseeing. First on our agenda was the Good Shepherd Training Center. We can’t go to Baguio without buying Good Shepherd strawberry jam which is so hard to find in the Greater Manila Area. 

Unfortunately, they had run out of my beloved strawberry jam. The next harvest would not be until end-December. Pampalubag loob, (to make up for my disappointment), I took  shots of the beautiful scenery nearby. What is it about Baguio that makes even ramshackle houses so interesting? 


There was a coffee shop in Good Shepherd where I had civit (musang) coffee. That was a disappointment, too, because I was expecting the chocolate aftertaste that I got when I had this coffee before. But the ensaymada and the toasted bread siomao were delicious!

We noticed signs leading to Mines View Park; Cecile and I had been there before but since we were killing time before going to the Baguio Country Club Christmas Village near Camp John Hay, we decided to give it a visit.

There is a concrete arch over the entrance of Mines View that is so tacky, I did not take a photo of it. Please don’t ask me to describe it as I’ve erased it from my memory. But the wifey, Cecile remembers that a construction worker with a jackhammer was one of the figures on the arch. Let’s leave it at that.

Lest I sound cynical, I will say that we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The weather was cool and we were together on a much awaited vacation. We just tend to disparage bad taste. 

We couldn’t help but check out the wares of the stalls selling the regular tourist stuff. Cecile bought a blue bonnet for The One Who Spits and a shell necklace for the Tactless One. We admit, we did the tourist thang.

There is a rock promontory you have to bypass before getting to the main view of Mines View. The Tactless One surprised me by clambering up without a worry. I thought she was girlie-girlie, while my boy bunso was the braver one. “He’s scared of heights,” said the Tactless one, much to my chagrin.

I took the photo op gladly as I liked the way the tree was leaning behind my 9-year old. Bisecting the photo with diagonals, the photography pundits say. Cecile climbed up the rock, too while I held on to the One Who Spits before he  tries to shoot some saliva down onto the mines.

Billie and I at Wright Park view
One last fish-eye selfie before leaving Mines View Park (shot with a Ztylus Revolver fisheye lens on an iPhone6)

To be continued with the Baguio Country Club Christmas Village in “Part II: Baguio Vacation – Dec 2015.” See how the scenery is captured like a snow globe.


Intro: Baguio vacation – Dec. 2015

Taking a much needed break, I took my family and Yay-lo (our JDM Yellow Honda Jazz) to Baguio.

To give perspective, my wife, Cecile, is an editor/writer. She has this funny blog about us, where our 9 year old is “The Tactless One,” our 6 year old boy is “The One Who Spits,” and I am “The Hub.” https://supertamad.wordpress.com

Since I am a photographer, I’ll let the photos tell the story (accompanied by a little commentary).

Follow the tricycle

It was a blessed 5 hours from our home in Makati to Baguio, including a stopover for breakfast. I told my wife and kids how it used to take us 10 hours when I was a kid.

We left at 6:30am on a Tuesday morning and made it to Balintawak via EDSA before 7am. Fortunately, Monday was part of a long weekend so there was not much traffic.

Thanks to the NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX, we were at Kennon Road in a bit over 4 hours. The only thing that slowed us down were the two-lane roads with vehicles like the one in the photo above.

Kennon Road Lion

The kids had not seen the Kennon Road Lion, since we passed MacArthur Highway on the only time they were up in Baguio. Unfortunately, there was no good angle to shoot the Lion so I stayed in the car. The Tactless Child, who was not in the mood to see a silly lion, stayed in the car with me.

The One Who Spits faced his fear of the giant monster lion and disappeared with the wifey into the crowd of cars and tourists. They reappeared some moments later after taking an obligatory selfie and we were back on our way.

Manerus bnb.jpg

We stayed at the house of an old friend from Theater days in the 70’s. It’s a very cozy 3-story house in the Monterrazas area of Baguio City. At first,  we thought it would be inconvenient because it was not near Session road. But we found out that it was very close to the places we wanted to visit, e.g. John Hay, Bell House, Wright Park, Good Shepherd, Mines View, and there are lots of good eating places around there, too.

More on that, and our gracious hosts, in my next blog.

The Mañerus have a Bed & Breakfast on AirBnB but they’re not open again until January 2016. I very highly recommend it.

(This is the Introduction of my photo essay on our Baguio stay. Coming up next is Part I.)