Tag Archives: philippines
Posted on 06. Feb, 2012 by Brandon.
Just another day in Manila:
Novita took the car so I grabbed a taxi home from work. Traffic in Manila was so obscenely terrible that I decided to get out and walk. Only after exiting the car did I realize the entire street was lined with gates – meaning it was completely illegal to be on the busy street vs the sidewalk. (Ayala Ave / Paseo) Nice of the taxi driver to mention that. WTF?
So just as I’m ready to hop the gate, a cop runs over and yells at me to stay where I am – in traffic – with cars driving dangerously close to me. I politely tell him the story – that I didn’t mean to, didn’t know, blah blah. He asked for my ID so I lied and said I only had my work badge. “Sir, where is your license?” “Well, sirrrr, I’m walking so I don’t really need my driver’s license do I?” His face wrinkled up like he just swallowed a burning cigarette.
He said he’d confiscate my work badge. No problem, cause I’d just get a new one at work rather than spend 5 hours sweating in a filthy Manila police station to retrieve it. A far better option than handing him my license which was in my pocket.
He then tried to issue me a ticket. Hmmm, based on what – my work ID? “How long have you been in Manila?” “Uh, only 3 months.” “And you didn’t know you can’t walk on this street?” “Uh, I never walk this way – I drive to work.”
Now he’s really confused. Or is it angry? Irrelevant.
“Sir, I thought you didn’t have a license?” “Yeah, uh, I left it in my car.” Moving on… “Sir, do you realize I can give you community service for jay-walking.” “Yeah, but I also realize it’s your job to keep people safe and we’re standing here talking on the very street where you said it’s not safe to be.”
Obviously hard of hearing as he didn’t reply.
“Sir. Do you see all these flowers planted? They were planted by jaywalkers.” “Right. So how about you help me hop this fence and I can get home safely rather than chat with you in this ridiculous traffic?” He wasn’t amused but I think he simply couldn’t stand my insubordinate face anymore so he said, “Ok, but next time I catch you I will give you community service planting flowers.”
“It’s a deal, boss. Can you give me a boost?”
After I hop the fence. In my nice clothes. At rush hour. In front of 300 people. Carrying 3 bags and a bunch of photo gear that crashes to the sidewalk. I compose myself and continue on. At the next intersection a woman near me starts screaming. (Not at me, fortunately) The screaming escalates. She starts throwing punches at another woman. The other woman punches back – hard. Only then do I realize that the other woman has unusually large biceps under her skin tight dress. She was he in drag. So basically a street brawl opens up right in front of me between she-men with far too much estrogen/testosterone to be safe for anyone breathing fumes like that. In a city like Manila, you don’t wanna hang around for round 2.
As I’m walking away, a cop runs over and starts yelling at them, all I hear is, “Ladies, do you want community service!!!”
And this, my friends, is why I love expatriate life. Never a dull moment.
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Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by Brandon.
We’ve decided to hang out in Manila for at least part of the 24 day break I’m currently enjoying. We debated heading to the island of Palawan but considering we were just in Jakarta and Bali last month, sticking around home sounds appealing. We may head down to the island south of Luzon, to Puerto Galera, but I was also just there two weeks ago so not sure if that’s a go. In all of Asia, I’d wager that the Philippines is the most active in terms of Christmas celebrations. There’s a definite energy and excitement flowing throughout the city. Sure I’d love to be chilling on an exotic beach, but it’s not so bad hanging around home for once.
Posted on 13. Aug, 2011 by Brandon.
Phew – it’s been a while huh?
A tremendous amount has happened since my last update, with the most important change being the start of a new role at work. I’ve now taken on the position as IT Coordinator for the HS and program leader for the computer dept. It’s a highly demanding role, but a challenge I welcome and was ready for. I’ll continue with technology integration but in correlation with the coordination. I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath in 2 1/2 weeks and am often working late into the evening, hence the lack of blogging.
We were in the States all summer, mainly on a beautiful lake in Tennessee, but also a couple of weeks near Clearwater Beach, Florida. All in all it was a wonderful summer spent relaxing with family and taking time to enjoy a digital diet. Each time I return it feels harder to leave, but I also feel quite content with the expat lifestyle overseas.
We’re back in Manila in our new house in Makati (heart of downtown Manila). It’s great to have so much space and a quiet office of my own, but I miss the amenities of condo living. I’m sure once we’re more settled it’ll grow on us.
On a spur of the moment decision days before leaving the States I sold my primary Mac – my 17″ MacBook Pro. I had a really tough time deciding what to do about a new computer. The new MacBook Airs are incredibly fast for their size and I was contemplating picking up the 11″ Air and using the 27″ Thunderbolt display at home. In the end I decided that in order to best get back into my love of photography, the power and size of the 27″ iMac is the way to go. I ordered the BTO top of the line: 3.4 Ghz, 12GB RAM (8GB from Crucial that I’ll install myself), 256 GB SSD + 2TB internal drive, and 2 GB GPU. It should be a beast that will last me many years. I’ll likely supplement the iMac with a 2012 Ivy Bridge MacBook Air in a year or so for the best in power and portability. (we already have a Macbook / iPad / iPhone, etc that can get me by for a while)
Unfortunately, the Philippines built-to-order Macs take quite a long time to be delivered. I’ve been told it could be up to 6 weeks. Ugh. So in the meantime I am quite limited in my photo editing capability.
Overall, I’m quite happy with how things are progressing with life in Manila. Love the job, like the house we’re in, the coworkers are fantastic, and surprisingly I’m enjoying Manila more the longer I live here. There are many things I miss about Indonesia (we’ll be back in October for 10 days), but for the next couple of years (at minimum) we’ll remain happily in the Philippines.
Posted on 01. May, 2011 by Brandon.
There are tons of everyday shots that I take with both the iPhone 4 and Canon S95 that never make it to the blog. Generally if I post any of them, they go onto Facebook or Twitter.
I’m thinking about posting more of the everyday stuff on this blog. Here’s an example, this sunset taken last night on High Street, Fort Bonifacio with the iPhone and the Camera+ app. If you don’t have that app, I highly recommend it over the ‘stock’ iPhone camera app.
If this looks a little funky, it’s because I used the ‘clarity’ feature in Camera+
Posted on 23. Apr, 2011 by Brandon.
“CNN’s Anna Coren revealed that the Philippine government commissioned an Earthquake study several years ago. The results of the study made by the Japanese hinted that up to 38 percent of the capital would be devastated, and the projected death toll to be at least 50,000 people.”
Also read: “UN to Metro Manila: Ready for Big One?”
And here’s the “Earthquake Impact Reduction Study for Metropolitan Manila” [PDF]
The scary thing is I can see the fault line from my window at both home and work.
Posted on 10. Apr, 2011 by Brandon.
Throughout Southeast Asia the English language is often misinterpreted, misrepresented, or massaged into new forms of communication through humorous signage. Take this one I captured as an example.
Throughout the Philippines, and Manila especially, English is widespread and I have yet to see many humorous examples as I have so often seen in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan.
Let me introduce you to a photo studio by the name of “Blow-Up Babies”.
Posted on 11. Mar, 2011 by Brandon.
Hoping Manila will be unaffected by the potential tsunami after the earthquake in Japan. My brother lives in Tokyo. He checked in and is fine. Hope aftershocks will not be a problem.
Also concerned about family and friends in Jakarta. Indonesia doesn’t need another disaster. Keep safe.
Posted on 21. Dec, 2010 by Brandon.
Wishing you all a happy holiday and hope 2010 brought some good things into your life.
We’ve decided to stay in the Philippines for the holiday. I have about 3 1/2 weeks off from work, but will need to take care of other work in this time. It’s not that bad, especially considering where we’re living now, but it’s still tough knowing the vast majority of my coworkers are scattered across the globe or relaxing on white sandy beaches while I’m surrounded by 10 million people.
I was offline for a while, as I took a trip to Central Luzon to Banaue. I was up there last year around this time as well. You can check out my previous photos and posts from the trip, here. Overall it was a great experience once again, but unfortunately it rained pretty much the entire time.
I’ll be striving to finally get through some of my photos from my trip to Japan in Oct/Nov. It’s pretty overwhelming seeing 80 GB of photos from that trip – almost not sure where to begin. Here’s one to kick things off.