The dates are a little fuzzy but I think these were taken sometime in 2008, with a still-fledgling interest in photography. This was shot on film, back when I had the audacity to burn money on having film rolls developed and printed. My mom and I were driving in Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and there happened to be a native american tribe celebrating their anniversary beside the highway rest area. It’s hard to replicate the feeling that coursed through my fingertips when I got the prints back from the lab; when I held the contact sheet and knew instantly that there was something here that was worth pursuing. 

Umi no Hi

I realize I’m still trying to unpack a lot of my feelings about my trip to Japan with Andy. A week has passed and it should have just been your average holiday, an open-and-shut case as far as emotions go, but the calm and bliss of that period lingers. I’ve always had a soft spot for Japan. My suitcase is still unkept, still filled with our horde of souvenirs and dirty laundry. I’m not ready to let the scent of the place go just yet.

Shitaya, the neighborhood we stayed at, is wonderfully normal. A twenty minute walk from both Asakusa and Ueno, it was slow and not at all preoccupied with the bustle literally a few streets away. During our walks home, we would encounter school children with their summer hats ambling along unattended. We would turn a corner and discover a temple or cemetery on a small plot of land. 

On our second to the last night, we followed a trail of yukatas that ended up leading us to a local celebration of Umi no Hi (Ocean Day) held at a small temple tucked in the neighborhood; a spillage of red and yellow on an otherwise dusky street. An unplanned walk, a fortuitous event, damn good scenery—it had all the best parts of travel. This romanticized notion of Japan that I’ve always had in me, and the reality of actually being there, danced harmoniously to the beat of the taiko drum. That almost never happens. But that night, before the rain came to halt the festivities, it did. 

Holy Week 2016, Cebu

I’ve been hearing a number of people say recently, “With all this traffic, Cebu is slowly turning into another Manila.” But last week, I saw a glimpse of my old hometown; a Cebu free of clutter, open to endless possibilities. A town so empty, we could zip back and forth between North and South just like old times. 

There are never enough things to do during Holy Week. You feel every second slowly go by, the time only punctuated by food and the number of times you wonder if it’s worth taking another shower just to shed the humidity off for a few seconds.The heat makes me restless. And when it’s Holy Week, it’s always about the heat. 

Lydia’s Salon

During summer, when the sun’s rays are beating your eyes shut and the heat from the pavement is melting you from the bottom up, there are two options: escape to some better ventilated part of the globe, or stay in the city and get a haircut.

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