Thursday, February 28, 2008

I finally got around to resizing this darn thing - just a small glimpse into the magnanimity of King Rama IX's 80th birthday, otherwise known as one of the best nights of my life thus far.

Note to Carlo: That is NOT, I repeat, NOT a Canon SLR you see sitting on my lap... you are getting sleeeeeepy, Ssleeeeeeppy....

Footage courtesy of FTV

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is Pat.

I wish I could say that this was my photograph, but it is, and not regrettably, the genius of another Pittsburgh photographer who I happen to work with quite frequently.

Now this is a portrait if I ever saw one. Pat is the parking attendant in one of the theater district lots on Penn Ave. of whom I had the honor and complete pleasure of meeting and visiting with today. Huddled in his little parking booth in the freezing cold with a teeny, tiny space heater was the best thing I've done since I got home. As I watched the snow disintegrate in puddles through the one-panel plexiglass window, I realized that this little workspace and all of its parole-abiding employees have a hysterically honest story. I mean, heck, his character alone was so priceless that my little shaking body didn't even mind the Burgh's standard mid-winter chill.

Mind you, my introduction to Pat started with Matt bursting through the booth's door saying, "You look at my sister that way and I'll kick your ass!," or something to that ridiculous effect.

Haha... Allll in good fun, allll in good fun, but I will say that Pat's explanation of how to "let'em jag-offs wahnda fur ehrs" in the parking garage of the U.S. Steel Tower (I believe he still called it USX), which apparently is of the most impressively large parking garages in the city, couldn't possibly have been more eloquent.

If you're ever "dahn er," ask Pat if he prefers the pocket knife or the icepick and you will get a shockingly truthful answer.

Oh and I believe Matt titled this photo, "Get Your Ticket."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's uncharacteristic for this blog to see this many (yes, two) group shots, but this was the perfect farewell - full of friends and colleagues who made for an irreplaceable six months.

Salamat babies!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some crazy kids perched atop a mountain in Baguio, our final stop on Tour de Luzon.

This shot is further proof that handing your SLR to the standard, everyday security guard is not always the best idea. I think I got up at least twice to adjust and re-frame, though all the settings had already been fixed. Kills the moment sometimes, but still, a moderately good shot.

A briefing of important things I learned:

Pia and David are engaged
Seven people with luggage CAN fit into a Mitsubishi SUV
Cho is jealous of my relationship with Tim Cruz, though definitely not for me (wafka pare!)
By vote, attraction is defined by "genitals"
Videoke is a national pastime
Musta naman, Dwight
Horses don't like flowers tied to their heads
Chicken is chicken, even if it is a one-day-old chick on a stick
Ube jam, is not, in fact, jam
Trox would like to be Zorro someday

And furthermore, why did no one tell me we were that close to Banaue?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photoshop could make that beautiful a hue, but I assure you this image was not touched.

Taken in Vigan on the next leg of our trip, Vigan Church was one of the least interesting parts about this place. Although the church is a very nice specimen of Spanish architecture, this town is full of cool things to explore.

Seemingly stuck in the past, Vigan has managed to successfully preserve most of its heritage, not allowing new companies to tear down buildings and replace them with modern ones. So basically, things like McDonald's and KFC do exist here, just nestled inside buildings that are 400 years old.

Also important to note: I had a delicious plate of unshelled chili scallops in one of the tiny cafes, following, of course, a planned appetizer of Vigan's famous street empanadas.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I believe Trox was relieving himself when he looked over the beach house wall to see the tail-end of the sunset and yelled to me to grab my camera. Gotta love a true artist.

A captured curve- not too shabby, if you ask me.

And if any of you say, "what curve? there's no curve," I will slap you.

As usual, my little Filipino friends do not disappoint me in their photogenic ways.

This shot was taken on the steps of a church in Ilocos, though I unfortunately can't recall the name. It may have something to do with all the signs being in Tagalog or perhaps me not really paying attention, but who knows.

Shooting this church was quite the critical decision because the boys were heading to the market to pick up some fresh tuna and other fun things for our grilling extravaganza at Cho's beach house (total cost of dinner and breakfast the morning after 600 pesos or about $10). So it was either church, or market...

First of all, everyone knows how much I love food markets and second of all, I wasn't really sure where I was going to get better images... boys maneuvering market or historical church.

They obviously ended up dropping me off to wander, but I think I made the wrong choice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

After Cho lost his Johnny Depp hat in the Foreign Affairs building, we set off to San Augustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.

Intramuros, literally meaning "within the walls," is a 4km pentagonal piece of land that was the center of Spanish activity during the colonial period, completed with 22m walls and all, in 1606.

The cool thing about San Augustin is that it is one of the only structures left standing in Intramuros after the Battle of Manila in 1945. Yes, the church had many other mishaps, but pretty much nothing was left after this little scuffle.

Also worth noting, Spanish conquistadors, Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti rest under this church.

P.S. - Oh and in case you were wondering, Cho got his hat back.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My first night in Manila, Cholo took me to his sister-in-law's "house"(I know the period is always supposed to go inside the quotation mark with some exceptions, but I just think it looks awkward, so I'm going to try to distract you with a long parenthetical that really has nothing to do with anything).

So yes, by house, I mean extraordinarily beautiful and rather large piece of architecture set atop a hillside in Manila.

As a filmmaker, he's quite fortunate to have such locations at his disposal and as a photographer, I'm glad to be his friend haha, and not only because he is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever met.

Anyway, the above is a shot of the ceiling/chandelier in the two-story, balcony-rimmed party house.

A separate structure for entertaining? And I thought my gift-wrapping room was borderline ... well, necessary.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bangkok has a really sweet airport and if I hadn't been a tad rushed, there would have been cooler pictures.

Actually I had a whole conclusive schpeel (haha sp?) for this picture, but I forget now. The important part about it is that I was leaving to catch up with Cholo in Manila for what would be an epic journey north.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunrise over sea.

Hong Kong to Guangzhou to (almost Saigon)* to Bangkok means a lot of days at sea.

*This occurrence has prompted me to make a very productive life decision a lot sooner than I would have otherwise. That's how stupefying it happened to be.