A study on the  celebration of our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba in Pakil, Laguna.


It all starts at the lakefront, where tradition holds that the image of our Lady of Sorrows was found by fishermen after a fierce storm.


The people of Pakil re-enact this scene every year, where the image is borne and brought to the town church by devotee, layman and tourist alike.


after a short pause, the main image is brought out of the Church where it is borne by the male penitents of the town. Accompanied by a full brass band….



…. which came from other lakeshore towns in Laguna…


and followed by a sea of devotees, each with replicas of the Icon of our Lady of Sorrows.



As the parade weaves through the tight streets of this rustic town, the crowd goes into a pitched frenzy of song, dance and religious hymns to the patron.

Ultimately, the procession returns to the town church, where it is eagerly awaited by the local and the dayo,


by the believers and by sightseers alike.


However, what made this short trip to this rustic, laid back lakeshore town memorable is the cross section of Philippine culture and society.







More attracted to the actors rather than the main event, more keen to notice the human side of every activity, how ordinary actions would always lift to the surface, how trivial and trifling things are sometimes beautiful when seen as a whole and in its entirety.

Paranaque for Pakil, Laguna, 2014.



Saigon Squares


(Tien Hau Pagoda, Saigon)

Or now Ho Chi Minh. A true melting pot of east and west, a fusion of Cham, Chinese and French tastes, it is a virtual smorgasbord of South East Asian culture, art and tradition.


Jade Emperor Pagoda

It is amazing to think that centuries of colonization, years of civil war and division, the city has managed to retain its particular charm and appeal that has earned its nickname “Paris of the East”


People’s Committee Building

Walking down the streets of Saigon, one would notice the French sophistication and cosmopolite evident in its architecture, street layout and even by the stylish and sassy modern botiques in Dong Khoi.


Incense coils, Tien Hau Pagoda

However, you dont have to walk far to appreciate the oriental beauty of the city. How it has retained its oriental character and flavor..


Notre Dame Cathedral 

Which even asserts itself, in both spiritual…


Opera House

And secular pursuits.


Portrait of Ho Chi Minh, Post Office


Post Office

This city is truly a window to Vietnam as a whole. It showcases its history, culture and its proud traditions. It also shows how a war ravaged country has managed to retain its own identity and to get back on its feet.



Doorway, Quan Am Pagoda


Domingo de Ramos








Sing me a song, but not for me alone.
Sing out for yourselves for you are bles-sed.
There is not one of you who cannot win the kingdom.
The slow, the suffering, the quick, the dead.

Hosanna, hey, Sanna, Sanna, Sanna,
Ho-sanna, hey, Sanna, Hosanna.

Hey JC, JC, won’t you die for me?
Sanna, Ho-sanna, hey, Superstar.
Superstar! (C) Jesus Christ Superstar


Deity of Downtown







The Deity of Downtown. the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.


The first feast of the year, when the Nazarene is brought out and paraded throughout the Old Arrabal of Quiapo


The true feast of the City of Manila, for Quiapo, is its Downtown, the throbbing heart and soul of the Capital


Symbol of true machismo where penitents grab tooth and nail, for every spot of the rope that tugs the Carroza of the Senyor


to fulfill a vow, to honor a promise, to keep one’s word as a true siga, kantoboy, geenuwine batang Quiapo


Where men and women alike, sinner, penitent and favor seeker alike, meld, mesh, bump and grind in this Moshpit of devotion and zeal, where sweat, blood and tears are all shared and become one with all.


And at the end of the ropes, the Senior, the Son, the Savior awaits, guarded by his Hijos del Nazareno. Sons of the Nazarene, Sons of the City of Downtown


Where in singular acts of faith, the masses throw themselves to the brown image of the Word Incarnate


seeking that a piece, an inch of their chinese Good Morning Towels touch the mantle, the face and the cheek of the God whose dark complexion they also share and own.


And at the end of the day, it is not  just a popular fad, but a Translacion of culture, not fanaticism at work, but the desire in each one that despite the dirt, broken bones, wounds and sprains that each has to endure, it is faith in the Savior of Mankind that enflames the heart of every true Manileno who shares his brown skinned tan in this melting pot of culture and history

Manila, 2013.



Its your Dog. Call him any name you want.

Call him mutt. Call him Dawg. Call him Askal

Call him bitch, call him hound, call him tagpi, bantay or tikra.

Love him, fear him, adore him, eat him he’s all yours

his nose in the air wagging his tail and marking his territory in each and every corner you see

looking for some meat you can spare.

but call him anything you want. he’ll just follow you anywhere