Search This Blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

A refreshing "homecoming" to photography: A Black and White Experiment

Still dripping with inspiration from my constant glimpse of Nui's photos (and the comments that sent me to googlequiry land) it brought me to try my hands on indoor photography.  With little (or less) equipment (a black cloth from Fritz) and my emergency lamp (a gift I got from kris kringle).  With just an inspired spirit, I had my first try.

I liked the results – but I like the comments even better. Nui just “pushed” me again to better my shots.   My “homecoming” to photography was driven by the awesome shots of Nui. Ever since I am always awed at his talent.  And getting inspired to follow his footsteps is one challenging act but entertaining as well.   

Thank you Nigz, Fritgz, Rea, Ton and John for posing and time....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Apalit, Pampanga: Home to a celestial encounter with Apung Iru.

Just before the Sunday sunrays touched my windows and enveloped my weary soul, I had to pull my
body from my bed to prepare for a short trip to Apu Iru in Apalit, Pampanga.  A 5:00 a.m. wake up call was really an effort on my part after resigning to bed around 1:00 a.m.  With a tinge of red horse from an earlier binge, my mind was still half-awake when I almost stepped on my bubbles’ poo.  Good thing my water heater broke down and I had to settle with the “cold” water.  And it proved a refreshing starting point of the day.
We left Manila around 7:15 a.m. A short stop at Chowking (NLEX) for a quick breakfast completed my first part of the day. Ready yet clueless, a good chat with Danny, an unassuming friend who happens to see a glimpse of your past and future, made the trip fleeting. 

A quick right turn before the “old” bridge (the “new” bridge is constructed just beside it) after Calumpit, Bulacan, offers a rustic picture of a rural life.  The river, I didn’t know if it was one of the living witnesses of the believers’ adoration and devotion, lies still and calm.  Picturesque, I almost requested for a quick shot but decided to get enthralled by its beauty instead.
Sunday was a lazy day in that area of Apalit. One can be an indolent spectator of its idleness. But it gave a sweet pinch knowing theirs is a stress-free life.  With the 9:00 a.m. sweltering sun, the ambience beckons summer.  Even the thought of hitting a beach at the end of the road sank.  And before I could go further with my reverie, we already reached Apu Iru’s temple.
Serenity gradually crept into my system when I saw the face of Apu Iru. I read in one of the scripts on the steps – St. Peter. Clueless about his “other” name, I felt an ounce of glee because it is also him who is our patron saint. A linking of two places brought by a single devotion was all I thought during that time.

“The Apung Iru image is associated with the old Arnedo family, having been passed on to Doña Maria Espiritu de Arnedo, wife of Macario Arnedo y Sioco, who brought Apung Iru to Capalangan. To ensure that the cult is perpetuated, a corporation known as St. Peter’s Mission was put up by the Espiritu-Arnedo-Gonzalez-Ballesteros-Sazon families, which designates an official caretaker of the image--a camadero/camadera. Augusto “Toto” Gonzalez III is the current camadero of the precious heirloom santo.” Alex R. Castro

Seng, the caretaker, took time to share with me his experiences with Apu Iru.  He also showed me how Apu Iru helped him walk even though half of his right leg is boneless due to a freak accident his whole family met.  Although, some stories are better read in “komiks”, but at the end of the day, faith still separates the believers from visitors.
Like what other visitors before us did, we also wrote a letter of request (if you have one).  I made a thank you note, instead.  The experience, though not that surreal, is comforting or maybe soothing. Its tranquility relieved me from the stressful life of urban living: a reminiscent of my visits to my grandfather’s house, reassuring.  No wonder he is called Apu Iru (Lolo Pedro).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Caring Cartimar in Pasay, Philippines: A melting pot of lovers of all sorts.

BUBBLES JUST LOST HER INNOCENCE. AND I WAS BELLOWING.  I didn't know if it was out of happiness or simply out of envy.  All I knew  the Valentine atmosphere was starting to fill the house when a lady brought with her Sneazy, a pure bred Pomeranian for a “stud” party. Or maybe the thought of having more “babies” and my inadequacy in parenting might have caused the billowing. 

Their acquaintance was stressful.  But it never took them that long before we found their “two by two their bodies become one”.  Madonna must have been so happy that her lines came alive again. Agitated to the coming of a new member or members of the house, I took a bath and checked some cages for her and the “babies” (puppies not accepted) in Cartimar.  I also visited her OB/Vet for some tips and gave me a hearty laugh when she found out that Bubbles just had her “first” and it will take another 40 days prior to pregnancy.  I felt a sudden relief. I am not so prepared for parenting yet.

With a relaxed feeling, the exquisiteness of Cartimar unfolded right before my eyes: the curious faces of children, the caring hands of pet owners and the profit oriented expressions of store owners and their “sales agents”.  I have been visiting Cartimar when Bubbles was still “innocent” and its presence never stimulated me. And I felt remorseful for the inattention of the beauty so full of stories: stories of many firsts....stories of a  new friendship...stories of new finds.  

 Cartimar -  a caring melting pot of pet lovers ...shoe lovers ...plant lovers. 

   Simply serendipitous. 

 Simply Cartimar.

Cartimar is located near A. Pablo; near Cartimar Avenue; near A. Luna; near Mabolo; near Angelita; Cartimar is geographically located at latitude (14.551 degrees) 14° 33' 3" North of the Equator and longitude (120.9969 degrees) 120° 59' 48" East of the Prime Meridian on the Map of Manila.
1.      Wear comfortably like shorts and shirts.  Bring a bag, Cartimar is serendipitous.
2.      If you are planning to buy a new pet – don’t buy during your first visit.  I suggest do a window shopping first. Cartimar offers a variety of breeds.  It might confuse you. A friendly talk with any of the “sales agent” may solicit a good discount.
3.      Cartimar does not only offer pets but other wares too. Check the area for some food stuffs. The Japanese, Korean, Chinese stores offer their distinguished cuisine.
4.      The shoes! The pair costs P500.00 for men and lesser for women and they are still negotiable. Well imitated and cool.  


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ibajay, Aklan's Ati-ati Festival: an honor fit for a returning king.


 In a progressive province of Aklan, settles an unassuming town of Ibajay.   Ibajay lies on the Northwest part of the Province of Aklan. It is bounded from the North by Sibuyan Sea; South by the Municipality of Madalag; East by the Municipality of Tangalan, Makato and Malinao; and West by the Municipality of Nabas and on Southwest by the Province of Antique.

Its strategic location (it’s near Kalibo (the capital of Aklan) and Caticlan, a port to overcrowded Boracay Island) carries centuries old tradition of celebrating the feast of the Sto. Nino.  According to Bombi Mobo, the tradition started in 1569. Even though it was considered Legend, the tradition breaths an air of distinction.

The celebration kicked off  on Saturday at 12 noon, when Ibajaynons and visitors (me included) gathered in front of the Rectory bringing our/their own stuff, I settled for a twig while others had crabs and shrimps tied to a pole and gyrating to the drum beats – under the heat of a 10 o’clock sun. Usually, I learned, the town folks carry with them anything – from twigs, flowers, leaves to a pig head to welcome the Sto. Nino. On a personal note, I needed one to be noticed from a throng of believers and revelers. Euphoria – it may seem but the faces of the Ibajaynons beam with faith and piety.   
It became a tradition of the Ibajaynons to persuade the Sto. Nino to stay in the church by dancing the sayaw on his path to the altar, applying sooths to their faces, beating drums and blaring “Viva kay Senior Sto. Nino Viva!” They also danced as if they were playing with him” – Bombi Mobo
And exactly 12:00 noon the Sto. Nino is carried out from the Rectory to the Church altar. From a mere dancing and gyrating, the mood shifted to a spiritual fashion.  The smiles of greeting were no longer apparent as the devotees were in trance.  The drumbeats were almost unheard as the heartbeats almost drowned me to reverie. 
This is the tradition I read from Bombi Mobo.  Right before my eyes were faces painted with sooth from the bottom of pots and kettles. The steps, unpracticed and non-choreographed, denote an impression of playing with the Sto. Nino. Humble painted faces of devotees emit an overwhelming expression of thanksgiving.
After an overpowering experience – all sweat, a broken twig, a charcoal “bruised” shirt, but with a renewed soul, a good lunch with friends made it more engaging and charming. 
The afternoon part was a bit personal after we decided to spend it at the beach called KAYAMA. It is not the usual Bora type – but the landscape is as intriguing as the people of Ibajay.  The place is unassertive but striking. I cannot use the word
“beautiful” because it’s more on captivating.  Truly a haven for artists.
Sunday is the REVELRY day. There is nothing much if you are already used to festivals like in Kalibo, Cebu and Iloilo. But the fun and laughter ebb down (just a bit.  I guess some were a bit drunk) when the church bells ring at 3:00 p.m. signaling the “return” of the Sto. Nino to the Rectory. Euphoria slowly fills the air as devotees are setting up for the “dul-ong” or a send-off.   By 6:00 p.m. the devotees troop back to the church with all their enthusiasm and hope. But this time, they are more assertive hoping to get a last touch/kiss/rub to last for the whole year.
As the child Jesus is slowly brought back to the altar, tears profusely rolled down. I couldn’t grasp my emotions. It was all mixed up. I felt a certain feeling of relief…of happiness…of missing Him again…of bringing me closer to Him.
And this makes the Ati-ati Festival of Ibajay, Aklan distinct from the other festivals. It is more personal.  More intimate.  Theirs is far from the “commercialized” ones.  The Ibajay Ati-Ati Festival is a festival of piety and revelry all for the tradition- “an honor fit for a returning king.” 

1.      Aklan has two (2) airports, Kalibo and Caticlan. To avail of a good rate (even during peak seasons) try on line booking every payday. Airlines offer discounted rates. For Zest Air, try on line booking on Wednesdays and Paydays- the discounted rate is overwhelming.
2.     You can also check the RORO. It’s about P1,800.00 for one way or the Boat via Dumaguit.
3.     Take the bus (either from the two airports) for P40.00 only or the jeepney. Ibajay is located in between Kalibo and Caticlan.
4.     Although  pension houses are scare in Ibajay, Aklan, but you are assured of a nice accommodation.
5.     The food is good and the people too.  Visit the Office of the Tourism.
6.     Best time to see the place is every 3rd  Sunday of January or the Holy Week.  

Don't forget to check the ukay-ukay in the market. there are great finds there at a very low rate.


About Me

"There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!" by Brähmann On a personal note, I don't know Brahmann nor Indra, but the lines speak more than they are read. I gave birth to this travel blog, inspite of the fact that there are zillion of travel blogs out there, to share with you all that we can see the world without spending TOO MUCH. This is my Travel-budget-blog.