Last week I posted a series of images of the Gay Pride parade and march that occurred recently here in Manila. In that post I mentioned how when photographing events such as this, I often find it more interesting to capture the scenes around the event, the passersby, the people there to observe. I had a few more such photos from the Gay Pride event that I really liked but didn’t include in the previous post so I thought I’d post them separately here today. As stand-alone images they probably don’t work very well, but hopefully you will enjoy them within the context of the previous post which you can see here.
Tag Archives: Manila
A week or so ago I just happened to find myself at Manila’s annual Gay Pride march in the Malate section of the city. A relatively small event, especially considering the size of the city, it was nonetheless a boisterous and lively group that wound its way through the narrow and crowded streets in a part of town known for its colorful nightlife. I don’t know any of the details, but typical of what I’ve seen of many Pride organizations, this event apparently almost didn’t happen due to lack of organization and problems with sponsors. Regardless, the show did go on though this disorganization may have had something to do with the small size of the event.
There was no organized route in the sense that one would usually expect from a parade. There were no blocked off streets, no pedestrian fences to keep people off the parade route, no traffic cops, and very little media presence. And no spectators, aside from the people out on the street going about their business, the occasional odd tourist, or those who came out of their homes or shops to see what all the ruckus was about. Although there was some corporate sponsorship in evidence, overall the march had a very grass-roots feel to it, more like a protest rally than a parade, something reminiscent of what might have occurred back in the 1970s and ’80s when the gay-rights movement was just getting started.
After a few years of photographing events like this, I’ve come to find that quite often it’s the vignettes of the everyday people who come out to watch the festivities that are the more interesting story. In this case, it’s the people on the street, some just going about their business, pedestrians caught-up in the mess of the passing crowd, some amused, indifferent or unsure, and some still covered in the soapsuds of their interrupted bath.
This past weekend saw us head out to explore some hidden parts of Manila, including the Quiapo and Divisoria areas. These areas are known for having cheap goods, including grey-market photography equipment and inexpensive eye glasses made while you watch. In Quiapo, optical craftsman were essentially grinding and cutting lenses for new glasses in the street, right next to vendors selling fruits and vegetables. Quiapo, one of the older parts of the city, is full of narrow streets and alleyways, lined with dingy shops, twisting this way and that, while in Divisoria endless street vendors lined the sidewalks and alleys selling cheap clothes, home goods, and useless knickknacks and baubles. At the Quiapo Cathedral, homeless street urchins ran around selling religious trinkets and begging for money from the tourists and the steady stream of prayerful locals coming and going from the cathedral.
These areas can be very busy, crowded, and dirty. The drainage in this part of the city, even more so than other areas, is almost non-existant and even a small rain can cause localized flooding of streets. The drainage that does exist is often choked with trash. While I wouldn’t necessarily say these areas are dangerous, at least during the daytime, they are known for pickpockets, purse snatchers, and bag slashers, so one definitely needs to keep a close eye on personal effects.
But all that is a large part of what makes these places interesting.
I’ll be in Central Oregon for the next few days with family. There won’t be much opportunity for using the internets while I’m there but you don’t have to worry about missing your regular photo of the day. I’ve got several blog posts set up to automagically appear while I’m gone. Isn’t technology great?!
Back to the Philippines we go with this photo of some traditional Filipino boats on Manila Bay. Unfortunately this scene didn’t smell as nice as it looks. Manila Bay, at least near the city shoreline, is basically a large sewage lagoon. And even more unfortunate is that people still bathe in it. There’s signs (only put up relatively recently) which warn people not to do so, but most of them have no where else to go.
I’m staying with a friend in Bacolod City on the Philippine island of Negros. I’ve been to Negros a few years ago but it was a different part of the island. I’ll be here for a few weeks and hope to get out and explore some new places, although it’s starting out pretty wet here at the moment.
It’s said that back in the early part of the 20th century Manila was a hip and happening place, one of the more progressive cities in SE Asia. And then the war came, and the place has never really recovered since then. There are pockets of wealth and Western gentrification as well as a few places of cultural interest, but much of the city remains sadly downtrodden and blighted. It’s often hard to tell one neighborhood from another. The bleakness of much of the city, however, combined with the hustle and bustle of the mass of humanity here, can actually provide some interesting-ness. It’s just too bad the city never was able to live up to its original promise.