I visited Paco Wet and Dry Public Market in old Manila in search of exotic ingredients. Before I share my short visit there let me first share the historic background of Paco:
"Paco is a working class district that started out as Little Tokyo during the Spanish era, Japanese and American planes combated in a dogfight showdown after the Pearl Harbor attacks and the run-up to the invasion of Manila by the Japanese. It's also the location of the mysterious circular cemetery now simply called Paco Park, the first burial site of the national hero - Jose Rizal, after he was executed by the Spanish, now used as venue for chamber music symphony concerts. Paco Market, another of the city's major wet-dry public market, has one of the most frenzied, colorful, and interesting market scenes in the city with it's boisterous ambulant vendors, busy Chinese owned stalls, and hawker market. The district specializes in furniture and hardware items." - Wikitravel.org
I need an interesting historical write-up of the area to compensate for yet again a quick and dirty shoot (maybe a 5-minute walk through of mainly the meat/pork section at noon). My first visit to the place at noon was a quieter affair compared to my early morning trip when the place was bustling with buyers, sellers, street vendors, trikes and jeepneys snaking to and from the market area. There are plenty to see and buy in the center of the market that you wouldn't normally find in your favorite grocery or "organic" flee market. For one, everything (meaning all parts of an animal and greens that grow in the Philippines) looks fresh! You can tell because greens are not half-dead and meats don't smell (really) as they do in some grocery stands. You'll find hard-to-find parts as well.. no I'm not taking about your Ford... but hands, feet, toes... You name it. They have it. Oddly enough, they call some food stuff different over there. For instance, what looked like "kalamay" or "biko" (sticky rice dessert) is called "bibingka" (rice cake)... Maybe they belong to same family of desserts.
If you plan to go there wear water-resistant shoes or at least a pair you don't care soiling. They call it a wet market because even if you're indoors the floor, counters, people's hands, money and yes the meat, if you can call toes that, are soaked in water and other colourful liquids. No fancy accessories and bags please. If you're shooting like me it's better to do so with a companion.
Note: Click on the photo to see navigation and play buttons to see all the images.
If this city has a pretty and orderly side, this is definitely not it. (As far as I know, this is but a small portion of that city)
I drove from Shaw Blvd, Mandaluyong City to Makati City and allowed WAZE to help me negotiate the rush hour traffic yesterday. Instead of the usual routes, the app navigated me through tertiary roads and a usually very crowded old wet market area (Kalentong).
This is a slice of life in that city and it may not be the flavor you prefer.
Images here were shot with my vehicle in full stop and on the side of the road except for one or maybe two. Here's a report hot off the streets of Mandaluyong.
Every weekend when I pass by the site, I'm just amazed at how the construction is coming together beautifully.
In the recent past, the parish of the Sacred Heart celebrated mass in the basement of their new but unfinished building. I wondered then whether funds were sufficient to complete the project. After all it is not uncommon for a parish to hold mass in a partially completed structure. The mass as it turned out was only (in part) to celebrate the coming of the Pontiff in Manila, hence, construction resumed and masses were moved back to the old chapel shortly after the Pope left the country.
So now that the construction is again is in full swing, I set out to see up close the progress of the massive church project and here's my report. (Partial set of images)
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.