Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a home for strangers

Prior to moving in Cambodia, I have lived in Manila - that bustling Philippine capital of 12 million souls (almost the entire population of Cambodia!), the centre of daring film festival scandals, 3 revolutions named after a single traffic thoroughfare, the teeming cornocupia of 300 years of Spanish rule and 50 years of Hollywood sensibilites from the Americans. For 5 years, I lived on its dangerous streets, glamorous enclaves and rode into its public transportation systems that would give sardine factories a run for their money... and boy, I had fun.

Had I not plucked myself from its toxic roots, I probably would have stayed long enough until my last breath. But just as I thought that I knew Manila by heart, I discovered that I only knew it skindeep...

The last time me and my wife were home, we decided to leave our boring Makati-tinged world - in itself a living witness of the nation's uncertain yet restless growth...


We took a cab, got ourselves caught in traffic and went to a place we would never imagined ourselves going... to the nostalgic walls of old Manila, where we hailed a horse drawn carriage and employed a guide to discover a place we ought to have discovered a long time ago...


So off we went and rediscovered the streets of home where we are strangers all over again...


we rediscovered its deeply rooted commitment and monuments to faith...



we discovered love fluttering around in pure contrast to the bleakness and hopelessness of its smog-choked skies


we discovered how people would sell salvation like cheap pancakes...


We rediscovered the proud tales of its heritage, succumbing to lonely years of decay...


We rediscovered the boisterous playfulness of its youth...


...and the poignant wisdom of its elders


We rediscovered that life and its superficial trappings begins and ends within a microcasm of society called the Sari Sari Stores...



... and we found out how faith and commerce blends in beautifully on its pavement stalls


We rediscovered a world hidden from the sanctity of its faith, and oveshadowed by glittering skyscrapers. We found real people fighting for existence...


...and even people willing to sell their very existence...


But the most important discovery of the day is that we should never ever, become strangers to our own home...

Although I have friends from India who have never seen the Taj Mahal, Cambodians who haven't been to Angkor Wat and buddies from New York who have never ventured out of Manhattan, I don't think it's proper for any Filipino to see the world without conquering our own shores... there is just too much stories, people, colors, characters and aspirations awaiting on every corner, calling and beckoning.
We might love the idea of being exhilirated with new sights, incredible experiences, exotic cultures and world wonders... only to find them existing in our own backyards afterall.

45 comments:

Borneo Falcon said...

The colonial buildings are well preserved. I guess you are right, we need to see more of our home. There is always beauty at our own backyard if we willing to open our eyes

the spool artist said...

yup, and you are doing a great job by doing just that on your blog! i am discovering so much about malaysia from you that i don't think i will ever discover in any gossy brochures and guide books!

salingPUSA said...

true, true---wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan. There's really so much to see here and learn.

salingPUSA said...

Oh---I have seen similar photos before, meaning, these views are not new to my eyes. Strangely though, it was as if I am stranger from another country and those pictures conveyed in me very fresh emotions. I love it when you do this. This country is as colorful as any other.....

Dennis Villegas said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. Btw, you have a nice set of travel photos. I have linked you up in my blog, for easier hopping. Take Care!

eDreGiN said...

-UNA, humagalpak ako sa tawa sa comment mo sa post ko about blogathon fund raising, lol! thanks sa thought as in napatawa mo ako talaga sa pagkangarag ko, hehehe...

Anyway, thanks for this post. I am a reader of Carlos Celdran's blog and recently lang parang it made me think of joining one of his tours pag sakaling feel kong umuwi sa atin. Although I've been to some places of his arranged tours, gusto kong mapuntahan ulet yong mga lugar with a guide para marefresh ako ng history natin...There is so much to explore sa Pinas and what a shame kase I am a stranger din sa sariling bayan (at proud na proud na pinoy sa lagay na yan!) :=)

the spool artist said...

@salingpusa: thanks. you're right... "wag maging datuhan sa sariling bayan"... tita susan calo-medina will be very proud! lol

@dennis villegas: thanks, i'm putting you on my blogroll as well!

@edregin: we were actually thinking of doing the carlos celdran tour but that intramuros tour was sobrang spur-of-the-moment! will definitely try his 70's manila tour when we're back home as well...

o, kamusta na ang lagay natin with your boss? hope that mishap is now resolved...

LENORENEVERMORE said...

I've been to Metro Manila...boy the traffic jam was a joy??? NOT!
I love those colorful plastic clothes hangers...attractive indeed.
Wow, you've certainly been all around. What a life you have dude!

the spool artist said...

for someone who loves weaving stories and doodling sketches and plans on world domination during traffic jams, it was truly a joy being in manila!

alex said...

AMAZINGGGGLY BEAUTIFUL ENTRY LOVEN!

this made me love manila a little more, but our nation is still severely damaged bec. of (wayyy beyond) bad governance. but i'm still hopeful

and thanks for stirring the love for inang bayan inside me ^^

the spool artist said...

thanks alex... i must admit even with what's happening in our country and all the ills of the nation as a whole, i would still forever be in love with our inang bayan...

hopefully, we will have our own time to shine again as a nation... even if it's just small steps like making posts as this...

chezza said...

Aray ko! Guilty ako dun ah! Pero sa totoo lang, I'm very much safer here than in our country. Are you?

RONeiluke, RN said...

i just love how well preserved the buildings are... especially the ancestral houses. there are loads of those here in Binan, Laguna. Rizal used to study here di you know?

can i say i hate you? you're shots are ridiculously stunning...especially the couple on their wedding..ang galing

---

thanks, mate :) hahaha! oo nga no> tin can versus live human beings. hehehe! thanks! thanks! :)

blagadag said...

you're really a world calss photographer and a superb blogger. well done love!

REDLAN said...

It's really cool to be back home! Philippines have a lot to offer if you know how to appreciate it. Simple things are the real great things.

Proud pinoy!

the spool artist said...

@chezza: yes, cambodia is definitely a much safer haven for us and i feel so secure being here. i have managed to forget locking my car all the time with my cameras and laptop inside, but not an incident, even though it's on a busy avenue! we are definitely better off where we are now, but home will always be the philippines for me...

@roneiluke: Laguna is definitely a very charming and historic place... too bad though, i have only managed to drive around, but not actually experience laguna up close... the closest thing i did was get down to buy buko pie from there en route to tagaytay... haaay, so many places to see pa back home! tour me around laguna when i'm there ha! congrats again on the award!

@blagadag: thank you thank you... :-) ingat ka dyan sa saudi! the recent news just got me worried with conditions and welfare of filipinos there!

@redlan: that's why you have to enjoy it while you can... eventually, you will find yourself in a foreign place someday, and don;t be like me who regrets not appreciating fully the beauty of my own back yard!

eunice said...

I wonder do you have any plan (or already done so?) to compile all your beautifully taken photos and publish them? ^^

That wedding photo is so nice! Why my head dress never flew like that?!!

Meaghan said...

You like coffee??? You need to get in on my giveaway:

Have you entered my giveaway yet? I just opened an online coffee shop and to celebrate im giving away 1lb bag of coffee every Friday in October.

Stop by and enter: www.getthebean.blogspot.com

www.getthebean.com

Luis Batchoy said...

very profound...

the spool artist said...

@eunice: thank you... that's so heartwarming of you to think that... publishing a coffee table book is a far off dream of mine... but i do hope it doesn't remain one! the bridesmaid sort of threw it to the air at the back, that's why it seemed like it flew! you have to wear your wedding dress again so i can take a photo of you with this effect! lol

@meaghan: thanks, will check it out in a bit...

@luis batchoy: salamat gid amigo...

@

Luis Batchoy said...

uy online ka...add ko sa ym mo id batchoyrepublic

REDLAN said...

okay lang yun, you'll be back home right?

before kapag may time ako, i went out of town. hindi ko pa kasi napupuntahan ang mga lugar dito sa atin.

Blue Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue Rose said...

hi. thank you for dropping by at my blog.

great pictures. you are indeed a world class photographer.

and yes, huwag tayong maging dayuhan sa ating sariling bayan.

Ar-wee-der-yet said...

Very well said, we Filipinos should be the first ones to explore our own beautiful country.

By the way, I have now plans to go to Siem Reap early next year.

the spool artist said...

@blue rose: i had fun surfing your blog!

@ar-wee-der-yet: really? let me know about your plans and itinerary! we'll take you around here! cheers! email me at spoolworks@camshin.net so we can talk further...

KRIS JASPER said...

BEAUTIFUL.

THe post and the narration that went with it. You only dont have the eyes for photography, but also a heart that makes those pictures alive.

U'R GENIUS!



pengeng pera.

I'll link this post to my recent one.... k?

the spool artist said...

aba, akala ko sobrang makapag bagbag damdamin na yung comment.. yun pala may ex deal! hahahaha...

no problem po with the link!

cheers!

Coldman said...

great photos!


wow!

Claire, said...

These images are so beautiful, I feel enriched just by looking.

the spool artist said...

@coldman: thanks! i enjoyed your photos as well! till the next adventure...

@claire: thank you for dropping by...

Ishna Probinsyana said...

The pictures are beautiful! :) Me and my friends are planning to go to Intramuros and Luneta one of these days. Bata pa yata ako nung last ako pumunta sa Luneta. Nadadaanan ko lang palagi, pero hindi pinapasyalan.

the spool artist said...

ishna, you really should! i never appreciated intramuros until i got there and really looked at how important our history is... kung sa ibang countries nga, pinagkikitaan nila ang history nila... dapat tayo din, we should fully take advantage of what we have! thanks for the visit!

Anonymous said...

Philippines had a really crappy booth in ITB Asia. It looks like an SSS counter.

the spool artist said...

palangga, that simply shows that their budget for it went into the pork barrel of the Philippine Congress... puli na di... wabs u...

Anonymous said...

My silhig and pakpak will fly me home today Palangga... cant wait to see u wabs u!

RONeiluke, RN said...

yeah..our place has been well known for it's puto. hehehe!

there's a place here binan called bayan. it's a market place with the church and the plaza surrounded by ancestral houses. we were able to shoot our 'noli' play in one during my HS days. the interiors were well preserved. full of antiquities. tiba tiba ka talaga...

sige ba! tutuan mo na din ako ng photgraphy 101.hehehe!

thanks again :)

the spool artist said...

@palangga: please don't finish up the stocks at changi airport on your shopping... magtira ka naman... see you later

@roneiluke: wow, sounds like a great place for photo ops! and i'd love to sample that puto you're talking about... sige bah, i'll go home this march for my sister's graduation and will surely love to drop by!

jericho said...

love the wedding photos. i wonder why? maybe the gown? haha. i like the photos. they remind me a lot of ... rallies in Manila. and why i want to go home. ;)

the spool artist said...

jericho, baka its been your lifelong dream to wear the white dress! hehehe... oo nga, nakaka miss ang mga rally! wala yata dito nun!

may nagra-rally din ba dyan sa hk?

Megan said...

beautiful photos and wonderful thoughts!

the spool artist said...

thanks megan! cheers!

Gilbert Semillano said...

Nice shots, this is from a Nikon cam?

the spool artist said...

gilbert: yup, they're all taken by a Nikon D80.

Cheers!

Pinoy Kollektor said...

Manila is truly a colorful city... a city that never sleeps.