Thursday, August 30, 2007

Real men carry bolos - arrrg.

This, my friends, is the famous Lapu Lapu, the man that defeated and killed Ferdinand Magellan in the Battle of Mactan in 1521.

I was asked to tell this story at dinner last night when about 8 of us went out to a Filipino seafood restaurant. Two of my Filipino co-workers allowed me to tell it, but I think it was because they just wanted to see if my proclamation of having read up on my history was true. Surprise! Ok here goes...

When Magellan arrived in Mactan in 1521, he encountered two rivaling tribes. Wanting to gain favor with the tribe of Rajah Humabon, he offered to use the power of his Spanish fleet to wipe out the tribe under Lapu Lapu. Typical of pompous Western military force, he and his men severely misjudged the tides, unaware that their artillery would not reach the shore from their position. Sooo what did the Spaniards do? They decided to get off the ship and wade to shore in heavy armor, making them sitting ducks for the opponent.

And that was that. Actually, because Spanish forces seemed so vulnerable and unprepared, Rajah Humabon took the opportunity to slaughter as many Spaniards as he could.

Pretty much a huge bummer, but Lapu Lapu is considered the first Filipino to resist foreign rule, thus making him the first national hero. This statue is part of the shrine honoring him in Mactan. I know, not the most exciting picture, but a very important figure in Filipino culture.

A tiny side note: It has been said that Lapu Lapu took out Magellan in one fatal blow with his bolo (very similar to a machete), but most historians discount that notion.

An even smaller side note, but so very comical to me: That day, I tried to explain the concept of "greek life" to one of my German co-workers. After some time of answering questions and providing examples, I still made absolutely no headway. For that I must take this moment to say: kudos to the Germans.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hiking up a little farther, past the Phu Sian Temple, we made our way to the Taoist Temple. Not only is it an impressive structure, but it provides a fantastic panoramic view of the city. Because the vibrant colors of the city below were sheathed by the dull tones of the clouds, I decided to use the weather as a gradient backdrop to a few architecture shots instead. It turned out pretty well, but mostly because there are very fun lines to work with there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Though Catholicism is the most heavily practiced religion in the Philippines, there are certainly many other faiths present here.

These joss sticks burn before a memorial in the Phu Sian Temple, a Buddhist temple, located in Lahug. I had never seen a Buddhist service before, so I was excited to see one had just started when we arrived. I understood nothing they were saying, as it was all in Chinese, but it was still cool to watch.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I spent all day Saturday exploring Cebu City with a co-worker who was kind enough to take me under his wing for the day. Most notably, we visited Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, Magellan's Cross and Carbon market. I can tell many stories about the histories, but then I would probably take up the whole page. So if you want to know, ask me about it later or look it up.

This image (and the one below) was take at Carbon. This lady was one of my favorites - just so very friendly. Interestingly enough, Carbon has a bad reputation among the higher classes of Cebuanos to the point where they don't even like going. They talk about the abundance of "snatchers" and cautiously tell me to hold onto my camera.

After all, that yellow print on the Nikon strap is the international sign of "this is very, very expensive."


First of all, I like this picture. Second of all, I'm sure I will think of a better conceptual image later, but this adorable little girl stared at me all the way down the street. Yes, I know it's a baby and they are generally fascinated with everything, but let me just say that being stared at is certainly not uncommon.

I've been talking to a lot of Cebuanos about this and apparently, they find light skin, light hair, light eyes and Caucasian noses (yeah, I don't really understand the nose thing either) very attractive, so in turn, everywhere you go, you get a ton of gawking eyes. In a country of tiny people, being a 5'7 female doesn't really help either.

Story 1: I had just met a co-worker's friend in the city, very very nice Filipina, but when we left the restaurant 1. she immediately linked arms with me as is typical here and 2. was parading me about town, smiling and waving as we passed. I felt like a prize poodle and I really dislike poodles.

Story 2: It is an old Filipino belief that if a pregnant woman touches or stares at someone frequently, their child will adopt some of those features. You see that happen with both Caucasian men and women.

Also, similar to tanning lotion, whitening lotion is readily available and in most every sunblock.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

So an Austrian, a Filipino, a German, a New Yorker and a Pittsburgher walk into a fashion show . . .

Huge fashion show with which the company was involved in Cebu City on Cebu. The event was followed by a traditional Filipino meal and some exploration of Cebu night life with excellent company. Not a bad Friday night if you ask me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

After 30some hours of travel I arrived in Cebu at about 11:30 Thursday morning. Sort of strange skipping Wednesday, but no matter, I was just excited to be here at the cost of a day.

I know I'm back-tracking, but I'd just like to mention that my flight from Salt Lake City to L.A. reinforced the fact that I love watching the sun set from a plane. The colors blend at 32,000 feet in ways that you would never see on the ground, with hues that are so unforgettable that a camera would never do it justice.

Ok, so this is when I say, the blog is probably going to get a little more personal than it has in the past if for no other reason than to give my parents an answer that isn't "Who knows" to the question:"What is Alli doing with her life these days?"

My professional stuff will move to another site when it is finished, so please bear with me.

Oh yeah and this is my window. Kinda cool, huh?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Excuse me Mr. Law, but if you want to be in the picture, could you be a little less stoic?

Taken at 5:30 a.m., I obviously decided to spend my first minutes in Hong Kong playing with the camera. After I finish this, hopefully the light will be a bit brighter so I can start again, but it's not lookin' so good - it is typhoon season after all.

This is a temporary image, but I just needed to prove to my mom that it was, in fact, me emailing her this morning - not an impostor. No one else has my long, bony, witch-like fingers. Well, of course not, they're my fingers!

The last sentence has been edited from its previous version because of this direct quote from Jharv: "What, did you leave your grammar on the other side of the Pacific?"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It was nothing short of an honor to shoot the Wailers at Pittsburgh's first DiverseCity Festival on Saturday. Everything was perfect from the band to the sound staff to the weather. I leave every Wailers' show with such an overwhelming, music-induced happiness that the rest of my day is always perfect. For that reason, the Wailers definitely fall into the category of "I would hop this tour in a second." Oh, and I like saying "Rasta"... Rasta, Rasta, Rasta.

Everyone knows how I feel about reggae. You can never go wrong with a lot of love mixed with a dose of "there's something bigger than you" to reach that peaceful, humbling effect. It's my theory that if you fall asleep to it, you will have the best dreams of your life. Apparently, the subconscious appreciates it as much as your ears do.

Out of all the people in the crowd, she was definitely my favorite... aside from Compton and my family, of course.

I'm actually super proud of my parents for bringing my 11-year-old sister to a Wailers show. Warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

"Little Darlin', stir it up..."

Yvad aka Kevin Davy. As you can tell by the number of pictures, a soulfully animated performer.

Just as each musician moves uniquely when playing, ever notice their different tuning styles? Hm, well, I do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I. love. this. picture.

But a big thanks to Jon Check for SITTING IN THE DARKEST SPOT OF THE STAGE.

Haha, just kidding - I managed. Great night too. After the show, Jon introduced me to this little osteria and bar, which was unexpectedly awesome. Definitely my kind of joint.

I'm going to plug this kid again though, because frankly, he deserves it:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Whilst I wait for the Perseids to peak tonight/this morning, I figured I'd jot down a bit from my Vermont, um, excursion:

Though the view of Lake Champlain from my Burlington hotel was beautiful, my business/hiking trip did not go as I had expected. Perhaps one day, I'll tell you kids all about it, but I'd rather just say that I had the most delicious sandwich that made the entire trip worth it.

I don't anticipate being back in Burlington anytime soon, but if you are, go to Rooney's and get the "Vermonter." Not only will the sandwich delight you, but you will find the best conversation in Burlington from Mr. Rooney, who, might I add, is an avid Steeler fan (no relation to the legendary owners of the team).

Trivia: The Von Trapp family, yes of "Sound of Music" fame, still resides in Stowe, Vermont after fleeing a Nazi-infested Austria in 1938. The movie obviously fictionalizes and errs in fact a great deal, but they get the general plot correct. The epilogue? Opening the Trapp Family Lodge in 1950, the Von Trapps still own and run the now 2400-acre resort.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Although Chihuly's pieces looked fabulous in lights, I almost would have preferred a day trip to Phipps Conservatory. Phipps is part of his "Gardens and Glass" installment, showcased at many conservatories and botanical gardens around the country. His work is cool and the way he creates is extraordinary, but I really was aiming to immerse myself in plants. With such low lighting on the plants and no tripod (Phipps does not allow them), it was virtually impossible to get a shot I liked.

Anyway, I kept seeing this enormous chandelier in all of the ads and papers and wanted to show a different perspective:

Ok, so you're not going to let me have a tripod?
Fine, I'm going to lie on your floor.

Oh and one final note on Dale Chihuly: Any dude with an eye patch is ok by me. Although, based on his insanity and medium of choice, it leaves you asking, "How does he not have two?"

Saturday, August 04, 2007

To put this shot in perspective, the building pictured stands at least two blocks behind where I was standing, requiring about 30 panels to encompass the whole reflection. The finish on the glass plates of the building in front of me and the angle at which I was standing created this interesting reflection. These shots are cool too because the building itself already provides a grid and all you need to do is find the right composition for your eye. Also, had the sky been blue (and not filled with lovely Pittsburgh haze), this would have been an entirely different shot.

Enough of the the serious photo talk, let's delve into how easy it is to amuse me:

"First off, do you prefer film or digital?"

"Uh, mostly cameras... I figure to take a real photograph, you need a camera... I did one shoot where I didn't use a camera. I got some amazing images... but it's hard. I've never had to concentrate so much."

Photographer humor courtesy of Shasta