Nothing makes my eyes roll more than heavy traffic. It just drives the WAZE App mad endlessly rerouting and pinging delays on your ETA.
Here are scenes of BGC, Taguig City and the Business District of Makati City in the thick of the rush hour traffic!
All Images were shot with my Fujifilm X-T10 which I carry along constantly as not to miss potential (life and death) stories like this. I find that shooting in full manual is still better than shooting with Auto-ISO activated. Full on manual just allows me to optimize image quality minimizing Noise especially in very low-light scenes. Any camera especially one with less than a Full-frame sensor will struggle to capture fine detail at night. AF performance was however splendid on the Fujifilm X-T10 despite focusing in low-light.
In the heart of Makati City lies a small slice of Japan aptly called Little Tokyo. It's maybe about 2,000 square meters of restaurants with a garden plaza at the center that offers al fresco dining by some of the surrounding Japanese establishments. Once you walk through the long entrance way you are greeted with wooden structures, garden patches and Japanese-inspired paper lanterns and other colorful lights and fabric. I've been to Little Tokyo maybe 5 times and it's usually filled with Japanese diners in white shirts with saki or asahi beer on one hand and either chopsticks or a cigarette on the other. In Manila, where there are foreigners, you have a few women too. Physically, preference for women is perhaps "mestizas" or those with more Caucasian features than Malay. At least that's what I observe. I have to add that "escorts" are usually seen at the entrance and not necessarily dining inside.
Since the entire place is really a dining destination with the exception of maybe 1-2 establishments: a club/bar and Japanese grocery, my photos reflected that. Cuisine here is authentic and traditional Japanese. None of that fusion variety. You'll typically spend P600 (low-end) person or approx US$ 13.00. This time as was my last visit there, I dined at Hana for Takoyaki and Urameshi-ya for Japanese barbecue/ grill or Yakiniku. What was different in this instance was the volume of Non-Japanese or Filipino diners queuing for the Buffet style Japanese charcoal grill that includes among others: wagyu cubes, scallops and large shrimp dipped in chili-garlic soy sauce . From the miso soup to saki, this is a place that will really satisfy even very discerning paletes.
Here are some photos to describe the scene that evening. Shot with my nifty fifty (Nikkor 50mm/1.4g).
I would be doing readers a disfavor if I paint lopsided picture of the country. So allow me to break from my regular programming and sharethe Philippines (or as a self-respecting citizen would rather present it) by the numbers and through rather neat clips and images (embedded).
The Philippines has enjoyed roughly 6.5% GDP growth annually for last 6 years. It has been upgraded to investment grade by the big three credit rating agencies namely: Standard & Poor's (S&P), Moody's, and Fitch Group.
START of the boring part- Services are the biggest sector of the Filipino economy and account for 57 percent of total GDP. Within services the most important segments are: trade, household goods, real estate, business activities, transport, motor vehicle repair and services and communication. Industry accounts for 31 percent of GDP. Within industry, manufacturing (22 percent of total GDP) and construction (5 percent) are the most important. Agriculture contributes the remaining 12 percent of GDP. (Source: Tradingeconomics.com) -END of the boring part.
Other notable trends: The Philippine automotive sector continued its strong rally throughout 2014 as vehicle sales rose 30 percent to 234,747 units. (Inquirer) For the sixth straight year, the local stock barometer: The Philippine Stock Exchange Composite Index (PSEi) ended on a higher note, rising by more than 22 percent in 2014. From about 2,000 points in 2009, the index is now hovering at 7,000 points (late 2015). That's close to a "how did-I-miss-that" 50% gain yearly! Financial institutions are strong and many publicly traded corporations have posted high double digit growth annually.
In a populous country where per capita income still lags behind globally, poverty is still a painful predicament of 20-30% of the population! Poverty alleviation programs are currently planned and implemented by the public, private and international sectors. It is a long and arduous road but the good news: many private individuals and institutions extend a helping hand.
Here are embedded video and images to give you snapshots of the developed face of the country to hopefully balance the rustic scenes I normally cover in this blog.
The following images are six of the biggest business districts in the Philippines. Il be adding to the images since there are other districts that are as developed and updating others when I find more recent work. Some of them were shot years ago... in 2008.
Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Makati, BGC and Manila Bay Videos
At around 1:00am I heard multiple fire trucks and sirens go by. Got up, grabbed my gear and followed the wailing sirens. When I arrived, I intently surveyed the scene. Internaliziing the mindset of a CNN correspondent, I faked the part and fired away. I'm not sure how the fire-figheters viewed my role in the midst of it all...I was after all in my shorts and driving shoes.
I arrived as the blazing fire was about caput (anti-climax I know)... but thick plumes of smoke still bellowed everywhere. I still managed to get some vital images to report.
The blog is about the Philippines... the less photographed side of it. My hope is that as I develop the series, the story I tell about trivial life in the country resonates with its readers.