My Home My Playground

I returned to the Manila North Cemetery in May this year after visiting the place few times between 2006 and 2008, I just wanted to come back and see what might have changed. I did not take a lot of photos but spent more time talking to some children and adults living there.

The photo above was taken using my iPhone 4s when I saw the little boy playing on a tomb. The cemetery was both his home and his playground.

I have written about this place and my experience when I first went there in another blog entry, so I will not write about it anymore here. If you have missed that one, here it is, Sharing Space with the Dead.

Binondo in the Morning

I took these images of Binondo, the Chinatown of Manila, in May this year. The weather was good that morning and there were lots of colors on the street. I was shooting with my iPhone 4s using the 645Pro app, except one, the black and white image below, that was shot using Hipstamatic app.

Binondo in the Morning was supposed to follow Binondo at Night, but I got distracted and posted others first. But, here you go. Enjoy!MORE +


Cockfighting is a blood sport between two roosters that have been trained to be aggressive toward each other. The roosters have one of their legs fitted with metal blade. During the fight, when their legs are kicking each other, this blade will injure or even kill the opponent. The owner of the winner will bring the dead / injured rooster home.

This game is banned in certain countries, but you can still see this in some other countries.

The game usually involves money. Lots of people in the cockpit bet against each other and it’s amazing to see their sign language during the betting time before the game starts. Two persons can bet against each other even though they sit very far apart from each other. Only the sign language involved to initiate and close the deal. When the game is over, you can see the loser throw money (rolled and tied with rubber band) to the winner.

All photos shot with iPhone 4s using the 645Pro app.MORE +

Binondo at Night

Binondo or the Chinatown of Manila is very lively at night, especially the streets near the Binondo church. You will find calesas (horse carriage), decorated pedicabs and jeepneys, food vendors selling varieties of snacks on the streets and even a roadside karaoke station. I was shooting with my Leica M9 and Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH V2 that night. A great lens for low light. That f/1.2 can suck in lots of lights.

According to Wikipedia, Binondo was established in 1594 during the Spanish era and it is now the oldest Chinatown in the world. The Spanish Dominican fathers made Binondo their parish and succeeded in converting many of the residents to Catholicism. The Binondo church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, was built in 1596. One of its altar boys, Lorenzo Ruiz, who died in 1637 was canonized in 1987 to become the first Filipino Saint.

You can see part of the church in the photo below.MORE +

Happy Father’s Day

A little boy needs daddy
For many, many things;
Like holding him high off the ground
Where the sunlight sings!

Like being the deep music
That tells him all is right
When he awakens frantic with
The terrors of the night.

Like being the great mountain
That rises in his heart
And shows him how he might get home
When all else falls apart.

Like giving him the love
That is his sea and air,
So diving deep or soaring high
He’ll always find him there.

(Author: Unknown)

To all fathers, Happy Father’s Day. May you all have a good time with your loved ones today. Let us all remember to always count our blessings, whatever they are. You have them!

The above picture of a pedicab driver holding his son was taken on the street of Binondo, Manila, at night, during my trip there recently.

Panning Photography with iPhone – Part 2

Panning photography with iPhone, even though it’s lacking some control, is very fun. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I used an app called Slow Shutter Cam to create these panning images. They are not perfect, but at least they give you the sense of movement in the images. So, here are more panning images created with iPhone.

I am off to Bandung, Indonesia in few hours. Will try to update from there when I get a chance.

Last but not least, voting is still open. I am still in the running for the Si.gapore Best Photography Blog 2012. So, vote now, if you have not. Thank you!


Panning Shot With iPhone – Jeepney

How to create a panning shot with iPhone? Panning photography with iPhone is made possible with the help of an app called Slow Shutter Cam. It’s probably used more for slow shutter speed photography, but you can use it for panning photography too. I usually choose a “shutter speed” of 0.5 sec for fast moving subject like these Jeepneys.

Panning photography is a technique used to create a sense of movement by moving the camera to follow the subject. Due to the lack of control on iPhone, creating a panning shot can be challenging. As you can tell, these panning shots are not perfect. There are a lot of blurs on the Jeepneys, but I like the effect. I will practice more with my iPhone to create better panning shots. For more panning shots created with my other camera, go here.

Have fun shooting with your iPhone or whatever camera phone you have with you today. Enjoy the rest of the photos below.

And don’t forget to vote for me today. Thanks all!   :)MORE +

I will bring you safely to your destination

I did some street photography with my iPhone 4s during my stay in Manila last week. The one above was shot in Binondo, Manila. I was initially attracted to the scene because of the red and yellow colors of the shop. I stood in front of it, waiting patiently for people to walk into the scene. I shot some images prior to this one, with people walking in front of that closed shop, but this one really came out the best. Why?MORE +

Free Wallpaper – July 2011

My sincere apology for being late and thank you to those who have emailed me asking about the free wallpaper for July 2011. Here you go, the free wallpaper for July 2011 for your personal use only. The wallpaper has 3:2 format and has been re-sized to 1920 x 1280 pixels.MORE +

A Setting Sun and Haiku

gently it goes down
as the sky turning to dark
another day gone

Boracay is well known for its beautiful sunset. The sun is setting, hiding beneath the horizon, just in front of you.MORE +

Long Exposure

“A snapshot steals life that it cannot return. A long exposure creates a form that never existed.” ~ Dieter Appelt

One of my favorite photography quotes is about long exposure. People can argue whether or not they will call an image taken at a very slow shutter speed (long exposure) as photo or as an art, especially when it creates effect that you will never see in the reality. I will call it a hybrid between photography and art. I guess that’s an easy way out, but it’s true that you can still see element of photography in it and at the same time, you can also see the element of art in it. Unlike a painting. Look at it and you can immediately tell that it’s not a photo.MORE +

Journey to El Nido

I traveled to El Nido, Philippines in June 2007 with my family and few other friends. We left Manila early morning and took a small propeller aircraft, I believe it was an 18-seater, that brought us to El Nido, at the northern tip of Palawan island. The hotel where we stayed was another 1 hour wonderful-full-of-blue-sky-and-water journey by boat from the El Nido airport. Full of mid tone color, and you know when you are shooting a scene that is full of mid tone color, you almost can’t get anything wrong. Your camera exposure system will be alright as that’s how they are calibrated. So, just point and shoot, but since you have traveled that far, try to check the LCD monitor once a while to make sure everything is OK.  :)  The technology is there to help you. The photos posted here were shot using both my DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras.


Salagubang Wrestling

Salagubang is a kind of beetle found in the Philippines. The above photo shows two salagubang, connected by a splinter clipped on their wings, wrestling to push each other out of the circle drawn on the ground where the children played. The winner is obviously the one who manage push the other one out of the circle. The game is popular among children there. This was shot at the Manila North Cemetery, Philippines back in 2007.

Sunset at Montemar Beach

Montemar beach is located in the Bataan Province, about 3 hour drive from Manila. When the weather is good during sunset, you can see the sun going down in the horizon, similar to what you can see in Kuta, Bali. The photo above was taken when the sun was already below the horizon during the short golden moment after sunset when you can still see nice color of the sky. Exposure was 1 minute at f/13 and ISO 400.