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.

MANILA: MY UNEXPLORED BACKYARD

I’m trying so hard to combat my laziness and make brisk walking and photo walks a regular thing. Today I was able to pull myself out of bed to go outside and walk around. Boy, Manila is so back to its usual weekday craziness. πŸ₯΄

A jeepney at the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch in Binondo District (Chinatown), Manila
A jeepney at the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch in Binondo District (Chinatown), Manila. Taken with Samsung Note10+ and post-processed with VSCO.

I have a lot of passion projects in mind, and I’m tired of making excuses to myself over why I kept on delaying them. On the other hand, no pressure. Passion projects are supposed to be fun and pressure-free.

I stalled the photo essay series on my blog for a while because my external hard drives’ files are so disorganized af and I’m so close to hiring someone to clean them up because it’s taking so much of my time. I need to see things chronologically to find out how far I’ve come in this journey, how my preferences changed over time (because hearts change therefore people change, charot as usual), and which parts do I need to improve.

As clichΓ© as it may sound, practice makes perfect. I’ve been telling myself to try my best to create something every single motherfcking day (beautiful or horrible, doesn’t matter) as a way of practicing my craft (if I may), but there will really be days when you just have zero inspiration. But inspiration is not something that will just fall on your lap from the heavens (or wherever you believe it comes from). You also need to lift a finger for it.

I honestly don’t know what I’m saying. Ignore me. Sometimes I could be a woman of irony. All I’m saying is, I want to be better at photography so bad, so I need 30481048015847 ounces of motivation and 1800389190126 hours of practice. Can somebody tell me where I could get these?

P.S. I brought my mom’s vintage film camera with me and I loaded it with a black and white film (a @fujifilmph Neopan Acros 100II). It was kinda scandalous to take street shots with big white light suddenly flashing towards people’s faces lol. I’m guessing it’s part of the process?

SNAPSHOTS: Asia Photo Essay #7: MANILA FOOD DIARIES

manila food diaries

Food will always be a significant part of every trip I make, and whenever I’m not traveling elsewhere, I would still try to keep a “Manila Food Diaries” photo journal to keep track of the restaurants I ate, the people I was with, and what to recommend to friends and family later. Where’s Sherlyn? blog actually started as a food blog, in case you might be wondering, and a focus on travel did not drive away my focus on food. After all, I will always be happy to help you out find the best places to eat, inside and outside Manila.

Manila Food Diaries
TUNA PESTO (PHP220) AND CLASSIC MILK TEA (PHP70) AT BLACK SCOOP CAFE, MANILA. During this time, a new The Black Scoop Cafe just opened very near my old place, and since then it has been my go-to place whenever I’m craving for some milk tea and/or pesto, and whenever I want a change in work environment while doing some work. I will always love this combo and this will always be my comfort food. Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
WANTON NOODLES SOUP (PHP150) AT WATER DROP TEA HOUSE, MANILA. A vegetarian colleague took me to this restaurant located inside the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple in Pablo Ocampo Street, Malate. I love their wanton noodles soup so much! Unfortunately, as far as I know, they have closed down already. But nonetheless, check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
SWEET AND SOUR CAMARON (PHP140) AT RODY DAY’S RESTAURANT, MALABON CITY. I had the chance to dine in at Rody Day’s Restaurant, one of the oldest family-run restaurants in Malabon, when my sister took me to see her former colleague who married the grandson of the restaurant owners. This sweet and sour camaron is so yummy and healthy (I love shrimps!), and it also has other varieties, such as pork. Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
MIKI BIHON GUISADO (PHP130) AT RODY DAY’S RESTAURANT, MALABON CITY. Another bestseller at Rody Day’s Restaurant is this Miki Bihon Guisado. Miki Bihon Guisado is a popular family treat and therefore people would usually order this in big amounts.Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
POUTINE POUTINE (PHP115) AT SOMETHINGSOMETHING, CALOOCAN CITY. Nearby my Mom’s ancestral home are small restaurants that seriously deserve some kind of an exposure. The first time I passed by SomethingSomething, I already fell in love with the super simple interior. They have a simple menu but everything comes with a twist. Whenever I crave for some poutine, I would go here. Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
NASI GORENG BIG BREAKFAST (PHP380) and VEGETABLES PIZZA (PHP395) AT ANTIPODEAN, MAKATI CITY. A foreigner friend visiting Manila took me to this restaurant in Legazpi Village. It was my first time dining in the said place which was kind of intimidating at first. They have the whole menu written in chalkboard in one side of the restaurant. I was surprised to see a very international menu, and upon seeing nasi goreng, I did not check the rest of the menu. It was yummy and it has a twist: bacon. My friend ordered some vegetable pizza. Will go back here to try more items in the menu for sure. Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
LUMPIANG SHANGHAI (PHP110) AT RODAY DAY’S RESTAURANT, MALABON CITY. Another classic Filipino bestseller at Rody Day’s Restaurant is the lumpiang shanghai. While some restaurants would only put a few amount of pork in their lumpiang shanghai, Rody Day’s lumpiang shanghai is not like that. It is very full of meat and it was dipped into a breading before frying which makes it even crispier. Check out their Zomato page here.
Manila Food Diaries
J.POPS AT J.CO DONUTS & COFFEE SM CITY NORTH EDSA, QUEZON CITY. J.Co Donut’s arrival here in the Philippines made my heart so happy because I love Indonesian food and brands. Also, it will be nice to try other brands of donuts which are less sweet. As an avid donut lover, I would always prefer donuts and drinks from J.Co. J.Pops are the cutest ever and it will always be one of my comfort foods. Check out their Zomato page here.

SNAPSHOTS: ASIA Trailer

SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAY #7: MANILA FOOD DIARIES (PIN IT! πŸ“Œ)

manila food diaries

OTHER SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAYS

manila food diaries
manila food diaries
manila food diaries
manila food diaries

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: A Walk Along Taft Avenue

In my previous solo photo walk around Manila two days before this solo photo walk, I may have overcommitted to do it on a daily basis (and that’s very usual of me, but oh well). We know for a fact that it is totally not safe to go outside very often because of the pandemic, hence street photography in Manila can’t be done on a very frequent basis, but since I have a #TakeSherlynToNatGeo project (which you can view at my Instagram portfolio @sherlynmaehernandez, I need to make this happen. And since I’m making the photo walk as a motivation to go out and do some Nordic walking every other day, I think I’ll do every other day.

Given this, I decided to spend my Sunday afternoon walking around and taking photos. I’ve been craving for some J.Pops lately and I found out that there’s a J.Co branch at the United Nations Avenue right across the US Embassy, and I decided to take that route for my Nordic walking session.

I walked along Taft Avenue north-bound and then the United Nations Avenue to reach Roxas Boulevard, where the J.Co Donuts branch is. I was actually planning to have a themed photo walk session today where I will try to take photos of the different transportations in Manila. However, I came across very interesting subjects along the way. I took photos of some transportations for sure, but I can collect more later and write a separate post about it.

One thing I learned from a friend who’s also into photography and filmmaking was to survey the place first before shooting any photos and videos. True enough, I came across so many possible good photos but I only saw them when it’s not the perfect time to take a photo (I’m very concerned about my phone getting snatched or something. Hey, this is Manila.) and when it’s already dark. The good thing, I can always go back and take photos of them next time.

Here are some shots of street photography in Manila, Philippines I took along Taft Avenue and United Nations Avenue:

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Taft Avenue

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Man on a Bicycle Creating a Reflection in the Puddle
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Man on a Bicycle Creating a Reflection in the Puddle Along Taft Avenue
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Woman Alighting a Bus
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Woman Alighting a Bus Along Taft Avenue
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Jeepney in Padre Faura Street
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Jeepney in Padre Faura Street
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Person with Unique Hairstyle Waiting for a Ride
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Person with Unique Hairstyle Waiting for a Ride
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Woman Sitting on an Barrier
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Woman Sitting on an Barrier
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Gasoline Station Staff Talking to Driver
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Gasoline Station Staff Talking to Driver
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Women Chatting in a Waiting Shed
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Women Chatting in a Waiting Shed

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Taking a Turn at United Nations Avenue

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Pedicabs Parked Waiting for Passengers
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Pedicabs Parked Waiting for Passengers Along United Nations Avenue

Hang on! There is a new McDonald’s branch here, WITH A MCCAFE??! I’m in!!!

Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Man in Bike Passing by McDonalds
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Man in Bike Passing by McDonalds
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines - Couple Eating at McDonalds
Street Photography in Manila, Philippines – Couple Eating at McDonalds

TAKEAWAYS!

I’m still super sneaky about taking street photos! For one, it’s the random catcallers I get really disturbed and scared about. Second, I’m afraid of the possible confrontation I could get from people I’m taking photos of (so if you have tips on how to overcome this, please please I badly need it). Lastly, I should go out earlier because walking in the streets of Manila at night time is totally not a good idea.

With a few push on my lazyass being, I can make this a regular thing! I just need to practice my craft to make it to NatGeo lol! But seriously, I can read and watch all tutorials out there, but nothing will happen if I will not practice, right?

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