STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: An Afternoon Walk at Manila Bay

Very recently on my black and white travel/street photography Instagram portfolio (@sherlynmaehernandez please give it a check and follow if you want), I wrote this statement in my bio:

An International Relations Professor who will keep on traveling and taking photos around Asia until she makes it to NatGeo

@sherlynmaehernandez on Instagram

It’s not that I have this overflowing confidence that my works are already NatGeo quality enough, but kinda I need to own it in order to set the mood on myself that I have to work my butt off to have a portfolio worth noticing by NatGeo. A few weeks ago, I was able to read and finish the book The Ikigai Journey by Hector Garcia, and in the chapter “The Power of Words”, he suggested to put a label on your projects. Specifically, he said:

β€œIt is essential for our personal projects to have a name in order to keep us motivated.”

Hector Garcia, The Ikigai Journey

Hence, I decided to label my passion project: #TakeSherlynToNatGeo. Boom! How’s that?

I have traveled around Northeast and Southeast Asia enough to accumulate tons of photos I can actually exhibit in a hotel lobby or museum or anywhere I want, but this pandemic has been postponing this whole photography thing I’ve been wanting to pursue. If I’m being honest, I seriously want to ditch my job in the academe to do this full-time, but I don’t know where to begin.

THE CHALLENGE

Since I need to keep my job in the meantime to put food on the table and save up for my next move in life (but don’t ask me yet about this because I seriously have no idea what will I do next), I challenged myself to try to come up with 10 outdoor photos (travel/street photography) around Manila in order to keep the creative juices coming and since I haven’t traveled anywhere since January this year.

In order for me to document the existing human conditions in my home city (Manila, Philippines) through travel/street photography, I need to go where the people are going. The City Government of Manila has cleaned up Manila Bay and it therefore was restored as a lovely spot where people could watch the sunset and do some exercise. Manila Bay is just a 15-minute walk from where I live but it’s somewhere I would never choose to hangout at, let alone my colleagues and friends. But since it’s pandemic and everyone needs a little bit of a nature at the heart of the most dense city in the world, I decided to give it a try.

With that, here are some photos I took while doing some brisk walking along the strip of Manila Bay, including my way going there and going back to my place:

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: THE WORKS

I walked along Taft Avenue and then Pablo Ocampo Street in order to reach Roxas Boulevard.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Garbage Collector
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Pablo Ocampo Statue
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Pablo Ocampo Statue

Upon reaching Roxas Boulevard, you will be greeted by the iconic Cultural Center of the Philippines Building, where a lot of people are exercising by the garden.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Ice Cream Vendor
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Man Texting While Biking
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Cat in Manila Bay
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Cat in Manila Bay

BTW, YOU SHOULD SEE THE PART 2 OF THIS PHOTOWALK SERIES (TAFT AVENUE-UNITED NATIONS AVENUE) HERE.

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boys Having a Selfie
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines- Boys Having a Selfie

I walked northwards until I reach Rajah Sulayman Park. I’ve been living in Manila for more than half my life, but this was the first time I actually stepped into this area!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Boy Throwing a Ball
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Painting Seller at Rajah Sulayman Park
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Be a Better Human Mural
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Be a Better Human Mural

On my way home, I found this stuffed toy by the university gate. The mood!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Stuffed Toy at a University Gate
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Stuffed Toy at a University Gate

TAKEAWAYS

Two things: I will try my best to go out more (but in a very, very safe way, of course), otherwise I will try to make use of my past travel photos to build up my travel/street photography portfolio which are on their way to NatGeo. No, but seriously, I will appreciate if you will suggest more street photography projects for me for next time.

Snippets: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam (Travel and Street Photography)

Hola! I created the Travel Snippets series on my blog to show you some of my travel and street photography works from the different places I’ve traveled to in the past (well, before the pandemic hit).

I had the chance to visit Brunei Darussalam before, and I have been posting informative blogs about it ever since, including the most Instagrammable spots, places to eat, hostels to stay, local foods to try, my personal journal of my experience there, and even flight information.

So, without further ado, here are some of my snippets from Brunei! Expect a Part 2!

After the Rain at Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLs8fQvHihG/

Post-Grocery Coffee Run at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLu6SNcnJgt/

Omar Ali Bridge Mid-Construction

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMTFzwJn29B/

Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMUYBfeHM8b/

A Walk Along Jalan McArthur, Bandar Seri Begawan

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMWENXIn4f8/

About Today: Editing my Tokyo Photos, Catching Up Until Money Heist Season 5, and Learning About ‘Bella Ciao’ (Scrambled Thoughts #04)

As I have been sharing in my past few blogs, I have been working on NOT working on a weekend, therefore I would try to pursue some hobbies, creative projects, self-care, and other extra-curricular activities. This Saturday, I worked on two things: (1) editing my past street photos, specifically my Tokyo photos, and (2) desperately wanting to catch up on Money Heist Season 5, where I will get to listen to the song ‘Bella Ciao’ more.

EDITING MY TOKYO PHOTOS

There are two things that motivated me to do this today: (1) I keep getting reminded of my Tokyo trip by Tokyo’s character on Money Heist (just the name, since the city has nothing to do with her character anyway), and (2) after watching He’s All That recently, I was inspired by Cameron’s character as a (street) photographer.

Here are some photos which are specifically taken perhaps in the first two hours since I arrived at Shibuya Station in Tokyo:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTZCnbQnMxx/

I’m working on editing and posting more of my street photos from my past trips abroad, and starting to take the camera outside again very soon. Like what Padgett said in the movie, photographers like Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams did not get popular by just hiding inside their dark rooms.

I think it’s about time to take photography again more seriously. I’ll hit the streets soon, I promise!

MONEY HEIST SEASON 5 AND MY DESPERATE NEED TO CATCH UP

I remember my cousin Nia getting hooked at this particular series in 2019 but I never got enough encouragement from many people to start watching it. I’m such a late bloomer on the Money Heist craze! I love how this show twists my mind so far, and I just couldn’t stop watching!

I’m starting to get attached to characters, as usual, and at some point, it gives me a feeling of inspiration (not to plan my own heist, hey) in a way that it shows that even the finest plan that took very long to work could fail, hence persistence and consistency is always the key.

Also, it shows us that love can make us irrational and destroy our dreams in life. I’ll stop there before I talk more about it lol.

COMMERCIAL: Please buy my stickers here!

tokyo
Bella meow
tokyo
Bella ciao
tokyo
Money Heist Characters

‘BELLA CIAO’ AND ITS HISTORICAL REFERENCE

Before, I absolutely had no idea on a single reference to the song ‘Bella Ciao’ (I’ve been seeing it on social media — on captions, posts, everywhere) and all I know is that it’s a song from Money Heist.

I got so hooked when I heard it for the first time at the scene where Moscow was able to find the dirt in the ground after digging for their escape plan. When they sang it together, it gave me so much goosebumps and I felt like I want to celebrate with them.

“The show is Spanish, why did they have an Italian song?”

My usual curious mind looked for answers, and in parallel to Professor telling the context of it in the last episode of Season 1, I was stunned to know that it has a historical context.

According to Professor, this song revolves around the context of Resistance. Specifically, it was sung by his grandfather’s troops when they were fighting against fascism in Italy.

The history nerd in me is happy to know that it has references from World War II. I’m willing to dig more into it.

I found an English version of the song from Genius, and I was thinking it will be good to also share it here as well:

Goodbye, my Beautiful (BELLA CIAO ENGLISH VERSION)

One morning I awakened
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
One morning I awakened
And I found the invader

Oh partisan carry me away
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
Oh partisan carry me away
Because I feel death approaching

And if I die as a partisan
(And if I die on the mountain)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
And if I die as a partisan
(And if I die on the mountain)
Then you must bury me

Bury me up in the mountain
(And you have to bury me)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
Bury me up in the mountain
(And you have to bury me)
Under the shade of a beautiful flower

And the people who shall pass
(And all those who shall pass)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
And the people who shall pass
(And all those who shall pass)
Will tell me: “what a beautiful flower”
(And they will say: “what a beautiful flower”)
5
This is the flower of the partisan

(And this is the flower of the partisan)
Oh Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful! Bye! Bye!
This is the flower of the partisan

(And this is the flower of the partisan)
Who died for freedom

Can’t wait to reach Money Heist Season 5! I’m also digging Tokyo’s hair, but I’m not lucky enough to have a straight hair to try that lol.

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr

THE PHOTO VIBES PROJECT: Apocalypse

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I have a new creative project! Woohoo! Bring on the party popper emojis! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

So, I’ve been contemplating on having a creative block/creative crisis lately as well as an anxiety on how to go back to my creative life after this pandemic, and it really made me feeling demotivated, creatively-speaking.

For more than a year, I’ve been trying to make use of my old travel photos to create something out of them, but merely posting them on Instagram and writing something about it is starting to feel pointless from my end.

I’ve been trying to come up with short films filmed from inside my condo and in my family’s house from time to time, but I always find myself asking, “So after this, what now? What am I going to film next?”. I’ve been trying to aimlessly learn more about filmmaking during my spare time over the internet, but I feel like if I don’t practice what I learned, I won’t even be able to retain them.

I always find myself scrolling aimlessly on Instagram looking for inspiration, but it leaves me more drained most of the time.

So, I came up with this idea of putting music to my photos to ‘add some mood’ to it, and it wasn’t easy. But let’s see how it will work out.

For my first output, I used my skyline photo at Phnom Penh taken from the rooftop bar of Kolab Sor Hotel, added some subtle moving effects on it, and layered with a playing Spotify snippet of the song Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex. I super super love the songs of this band! They were actually my inspiration in maintaining my moody, minimalist black and white Instagram feed.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQTP2FtnAzu/

I’ll try my best to create more of this and see where it leads me. However, given Instagram’s very strict copyright policy, I don’t know if it will eventually ask me to take down these posts, but nonetheless, I’ll make them available in this blog. Enjoy!

Photography Practice x My Skincare Routine

This term, I have a regular teaching load (12 units) plus one special class. This was actually fewer than my heaviest term ever where I had 15 units of regular teaching load and 2 special classes. I’m starting to develop a horrible sleep hygiene because it’s taking me a lot of time to prepare for my classes. It sucks so bad, if I’m being honest. But don’t get me wrong, I’m teaching the most amazing set of courses this term (including my dream elective), and I couldn’t be more passionate to teach!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CP2iyOrHOLF/

This time management and prioritization problem came with my difficulties saying no and asserting myself, my needs, and my wants, which I’m working on very aggressively because having the weight of mental health concerns this pandemic is just too much.

But, the good thing is, I can still pull myself out of my laziness to do my morning and evening skincare routine, and at least make time for my creative hobbies (even if there were days when I seriously don’t feel creative at all).

Cinematic Photography Practice Featuring My Skincare Routine!

I decided to practice my photography skills using my RGB pocket light and my Fujifilm XA3 camera with a Meike 35mm lens. I was stunned by the results!

My Skincare Routine

  • For my first cleanser, I use The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm if I only wore sunscreen and not makeup, and either Pond’s Cold Cream or Pond’s Cleansing Balm if I wore makeup.
  • For my second cleanser/facial wash, I’ve been religiously using Cetaphil Gentle Facial Wash since college (I used to use the Cetaphil Cleanser for Oily Skin but it’s not always available and it’s more expensive).
  • For my exfoliator, I used to use Pixi Peel and Polish, but I’m just finishing my tube and I’m planning to sully switch to chemical exfoliants. I’ve been trying Paula’s Choice and I’ll try to compare it with The Ordinary.
  • For my serum, I love love Iunik Tea Tree Relief Serum. It’s just like water and I feel like my skin absorbs all of it.
  • For ym moisturizers, I’m using Rovectin Clean Lotus Water Cream because it’s so light on the skin, but for night I’m using CeraVe SA Cream because it’s a little heavy on the skin.
  • For my sunscreen, I’m using Belo Sun Essentials Tinted Sunscreen if I’m wearing makeup and CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen every night.
  • I use the Watsons Mask thrice a week and I sometimes use Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay every weekend or whenever I feel like using it.
  • For my eye cream, I use Human Nature Sunflower Eye Cream.

I’m trying my best to religiously be consistent with my skin care routine, just as how I am religiously practicing my photography skills. Having a sensitive skin is a pain and a little high maintenance, so I need to devote more consistency and patience for it.

Photo Essay: A MORNING AT MOUNT MACULOT

I had the chance to do a mini-hike at Mount Maculot and take photos using a GE X500 Digital Camera. As you can see, the photos produce a film-like effect but usually bulges in the middle, especially if a shot is close-up. The photos were post-processed using the M6 filter of VSCO. Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of my photos at my VSCO portfolio. Enjoy!

Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot
Mount Maculot

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Mount Maculot

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Photo Essay: ARRIVING AT PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Everytime I will choose to take a long bus ride instead of flying to hop from one city to another is something I always, always, regret later. In a previous tri-country trip, I entered Phnom Penh, Cambodia from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was expecting nothing from Phnom Penh since it was just my gateway to Siem Reap to see the Angkor Complex, but this quaint little town has exceeded my expectations. Sure, there are a lot of horror stories from tourists going to this capital, but I always get reminded that I have to be gentle on Cambodia because of the scars that the former communist regime has left the nation.

Anyway, here are some photos from my quick trip to Phnom Penh Cambodia which I edited using the Kodak Porta 100T filter of VSCO. Also, don’t forget to check out my VSCO portfolio. Enjoy!

Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia
Phnom Penh Cambodia

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Phnom Penh Cambodia

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PHOTO ESSAY: SPECTATORS AT ART FAIR PHILIPPINES

Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines

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SNAPSHOTS: Asia Photo Essay #17: BERJALAN DATARAN MERDEKA

On our first day in Kuala Lumpur, my friends and I had a chill stroll around the Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square) area to observe the local city life, see what the tourists are up to, and visit a couple of museums.

Not so long ago, I had the chance to travel to Malaysia with a group of friends. Having traveled to a Southeast Asian city outside the Philippines is a dream come true for me since I want to visit as many of them as possible. If you’ve been reading articles in this blog from time to time, you might been getting the idea that I love Southeast Asia to death.

Kuala Lumpur did not surprise me so much, but don’t get me wrong, I had the best experience traveling with friends in this city. I love the food scene, I love the Manila-like cityscapes, and I love that it’s a melting pot of different cultures, just ike Singapore.

One afternoon, we decided to walk around Merdeka Square (as our cab driver has described, it’s the place “where tourists usually go”). I was able to appreciate some remnants of the British colonial rule, the differences of its culture with the Philippines, and how Malaysia could be like any other city that responds to the demands of globalization.

Dataran Merdeka
KLCC PARK. From our accommodation at ViPod Residences in KLCC, we took a walk around the vicinity to go sightseeing before hopping on a cab going to Merdeka Square. I was excited to take street shots because I’m more comfortable and more creative if I’m in another city making photographs than when I’m in my own homeland. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that since the Philippines is so familiar to me and I see all the usual sights every single day, I underappreciate their beauty and therefore not really give much attention to them. I’m always obsessed about traveling outside and seeing fresh destination, but I tend to forget that my own ‘backyard’ has its own beauty.
Dataran Merdeka
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT. A detour at a bank for a small errand has led us to observe the vicinity of the corporate area of Kuala Lumpur. Just like any other business district in Asia, you will encounter workers dressed in a typical Western corporate attire because they are working in an airconditioned office in a high-rise building despite having a very hot humid Southeast Asian weather outside. Walking around her feels very much like walking around the Makati Central Business District in Manila.
Dataran Merdeka
THE INTERSECTION. Traffic officers are very well-dressed and controlling the flow of the vehicles at the intersection of the Merdeka Square area. Just like any other Southeast Asian big city, Kuala Lumpur traffic could get crazy with all the vehicles especially during rush hour. I honestly can no longer remember how I ended up taking this photo, but I love how it depicts a busy scene and lots of movements. I don’t know about you, but I’m also hearing the noise of the road in this photograph. The part of Sultan Abdul Samad Building by the background gave the photo an even more interesting texture.
Dataran Merdeka
THE FOUNTAIN IS OFF. Had they turned on this fountain, it could make a perfect shot with the Sultan Abdul Samad Building at the background, but it’s totally fine. Adding an element of people inside the frame can usually add life to a photo. Street photography is known to have lots of people walking inside the frame, but most of the time they are not the subject of the photo.
Dataran Merdeka
THE INTERSECTION, AGAIN, DESATURATED, THIS TIME. As the sun kept on moving the whole afternoon, one corner of the area is expected to look differently at a certain interval. Now that the sun is about to set in this time, I made it a point to go back to the intersection, this time in another corner, to take a shot of the possible new shadows and exposures that the current direction of the sun provides. It’s still a busy and noisy road.
Dataran Merdeka
A NOT-SO-CROWDED SQUARE. There were only a few people at Dataran Merdeka during the time of our visit — mostly locals, a few tourists, including our group. As I saw a lady just sitting quietly at the square, I can’t help but think about how come I find it so hard to slow down at life. I’m living life everyday exhausting myself so much and always figuring out the next big thing. I want to go to lots of places. I want to achieve lots of things. I want to buy whatever I want. I can’t even manage to try doing what this lady is doing. I feel like it’s a waste of time because I only have a limited time in KL, so might as well go to as many places as I can. But, the good news is, fast forward to the time you’re reading it, I already learned how to slow down in life. Thank you, COVID-19.
Dataran Merdeka
THE ICONIC FACADE. Across Dataran Merdeka is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building where you can literally see how the former colonial rule influenced the building’s architecture and how it defines the present-day Kuala Lumpur. The building looks very stunning! While I want to take a perfect shot of the building, my noob photography skills did not allow me to. But hey, I love this shot.
dataran merdeka
BLANK (AND GREEN) SPACES. We all know that the concrete jungle which is Metro Manila was not gifted with an open green space this wide, so having something like this in the city of Kuala Lumpur at the Dataran Merdeka is a huge deal.

Feel free to check out hotels in Kuala Lumpur at agoda.com.

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Dataran Merdeka

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