It’s not really my thing to take Street Photos of people living in harsh conditions like the homeless, street beggars or other people in deplorable conditions. I always thought taking photos of them just glamorizes the idea of poverty and can easily be misconstrued in pictures. It’s a sensitive issue that delving into it requires caution and care. But I keep an open mind in these things and when I was asked if I can accompany Karl’s group one morning to the site they took pictures somewhere in Sta Mesa, Manila, I obliged as it would be interesting to explore this kind of photography.
I watch as he pause for a moment midway his speech. I was standing close on the side taking his photo and saw his face, suddenly overcame with shadow, I noticed he swallowed deep, trying to keep steady in front of a crowd of 30 plus people, trying to hide what he was feeling at that moment. For what looked like he was having a hard time reading his speech, little did people know he was grimacing in pain. In just a few seconds he got his composure back, smiling, while he deliver his speech as if nothing happened.
Such is the man named, Winston Maxino, a family man at his late forties, who is literally in constant pain after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). But despite his condition, he chose to show his sunny disposition and inspire others to be happy.
Winston narrated how as an asthmatic child, he was regularly an outcast but his persistence on trying to belong despite his condition still paid off. His scout master saw his other skills like excelling in knots or other non-physical aspects. Being diagnosed as an AS didn’t stop him from being happy, aside from wallowing in self-pity, he chose to accept his condition. But his trials didn’t end there, he received another blow in his life when his daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome. But his daughter’s frequent declaration of loving her life and the future made him realize that he has a lot to be grateful for no matter his life condition is. His body may be broken but that wouldn’t stop him from being happy as it is the choice he made. He enjoys making children laugh with his balloon knotting talents and tricks. He is also involved in helping the down syndrome society of the Philippines.
I was riding at the back of a habal-habal while riding in the dirt road of Pandan province. We caught sight of a pumped-up crowd gathering at a street and decided to stop by and see what was happening. It was a couple of kids doing street boxing complete with boxing gloves. At first it was an amusing sight and I’m sure the spectators thought the same. But it drawned on me how early kids nowadays are easily caught up into violence. Not to belittle Pacquio’s noble efforts to fight for our country, the exposure to young ones can lead to disturbing moral questions. Especially these kids who are just caught up in the emotions that its becoming more than a play but a competition.
Makati’s Caracol is the city’s Mardi Gras which aims to celebrate love and awareness for Mother Nature. Most of the costumes revolve on earth themes like animals, underwater creatures and reptiles. It’s been years since I last saw this celebration which usually was held on the third week of January coinciding with other Sto Nino festivals. Now it was held on the third week of February 2012. It’s not the grandest of festivals but the effort in terms of costume design and make up is commendable. In this series of photos, the spotlight is on the Make Up artist and custome designers working behind the scenes to make the performers as presentable, photogenic and in-character with their performance.
I’m nearing the end of my Myanmar Journey with only a few days of stay here. I had a bit of snag in Inle Lake which was supposed to be some sort of a highlight for my trip but things got complicated when there was a festival on the nearby town. One things for sure I tell you, avoid the local festivals if you can. While it might be interesting, prices double and accommodations are non-existent. But still it was an experience. Good thing I met a very helpful lady in Aung Mingalar Hotel who accommodated me on my very brief stay in Nyaungshwe when I was already loosing hope of finding a place or even going back to Mandalay. Anyways more details of the story when I write them. In the meantime here’s a fun young sibling I met in Shwezigon in Bagan. That thanaka on their faces just gives the poeple of Myanmar a distinct character.
I recently had a chance to work with Humanitarian Photojournalist, Karl Grobl on their first Jim Cline Photo Tour in the Philippines. I find his knack for people photography impressive most especially that he’s a JPG shooter and his images doesn’t rely much on Post-processing. I have a short interview with Karl on Philippine Star’s Online Edition at Unblogged which I’m writing weekly for a limited time. At the interview we discussed why he chose the Philippines, his type of Photography and also some travel related stuff.
I met Mang Ramon, the owner of Rita’s Inn in Batad, Ifugao while he was grinding a few betel nuts to chew in a corner by the dining area. His humble and heavily bearded appearance was deceiving as one would just ignore him as one of the elders until he speaks. His English was fluent and had stories as many as the lines in his face. Before I left Rita’s Inn, probably the oldest inn in Batad, he wanted me to see his Ifugao House which he inherited from his father. It was probably more than a century old. Inside the elaborate Ifugao House are his collections of antiques.