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Nov 302015
I used be awed by crazy ideas and say “I wish I thought of that” or “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Then slowly sometime in my mid 20s my mindset shifted to, “I thought of that but it’s never gonna work.”
I think one of the invisible shifts to adulthood happens when upon hearing a seemingly outlandish business idea, one no longer asks “Why didn’t I think of that?!” in wonder anymore, but instead mutters, “That’s a stupid idea, how does that work?”. From there, it’s only a short hop, skip, and jump away to “That would never work, now get off my lawn!”
I briefly reached that point for a short while a few years ago. But I made an active decision to reverse course before I fully morphed into a know-it-all griper.
I know it’s hard. When you’re as old as I am, you have had so much experience and have seen so much failure, you get good at recognizing certain behaviors, practices, or markets as difficult, pointless, and disadvantageous. That’s fine because such experience-based heuristics (whether firsthand or observed) are important. Otherwise everything new you face will mean you starting from zero each time, calculating whether it’s worth entering or not.


I shot this in 2008. When you’ve turned into a “That’s never gonna work” person, you end up like that packet on the floor.

However, that doesn’t mean we should wall ourselves off from all seemingly silly or stupid ideas. Innovation happens when disparate ideas converge, and often one or most of these ideas are seen as silly or too difficult with little upside to even bother trying. We may not be interested in personally pursuing these opportunities or methods. Oftentimes, we aren’t wrong in recognizing that these may not work where we are, at this particular moment in time.
But it’s still good to be aware of what else is happening outside our bubble, what is succeeding in markets elsewhere, because it helps bring some freshness into whatever we are working on. We can adapt bits of those that may work in our milieu, or combine different ones. And even if fully 100% of them are inapplicable where we are, it keeps us from turning into a cranky old “that’s never gonna work” coot by injecting some whimsy into our lives at least.I’d like to share with you some uncommon business ideas I’ve encountered the past few months:

Chat app stickers, bad “cluttered” design, and feature cramming

This article contrasts how one of South Korea’s top mobile messaging app would look to people raised on American style design language. I’m not American, but most of the software and websites I frequent are, and I’m used to the spare, minimalist ethos mentioned in the article.
When I lived in Taiwan briefly in the mid 00s, I could not handle seeing how their typical websites looked like 90s Geocities pages, and these were supposedly big, commercial, top websites. Remember, this was already during the web 2.0 neat-and-clean design phase of the Internet. I remembered getting dizzy looking at the home pages of their popular blogging platforms, and then slinking back to my beloved Blogger, whose simple orange and white design didn’t try to scream at my eyes with a thousand different stimuli. I’m telling you, Xanga looked liked a clean, minimalist standard-bearer compared to those.
I was aware that this crazy style is also how things are done in Japanese and South Korean websites, because I’ve seen Taiwanese view sites from those countries too. I assumed maybe it’s just because the CJK countries had non-Roman systems of writing, so perhaps that’s how they adapted to displaying text and information online. I also attributed the high rate of eyeglass wearing children in Taiwan to this crammed-with-words website design.

For example, see these two screenshots below. It makes me feel I don’t know where to look first.

These 2015 versions are actually already less cluttered from when I first encountered them in the mid 00s.

Compared to what I’m used to seeing:

I finally learned the real reason from this article, and it’s not a conspiracy by optical shops and eyeglass manufacturers to create generations of nearsighted East Asian children after all. It’s because they had very fast Internet early on that there was no need to “save” bandwidth by limiting what’s onscreen.

“…American mobile design is fetishistically minimalist. Silicon Valley applauds itself for good taste in this regard, but this aesthetic has sprung up partly in response to a deficiency: Americans have learned to strip out bandwidth-guzzling elements because they slow down loading times. Korean designers, lacking such bandwidth restraints, can stuff their apps full of all the information and widgets they like. …

This trans-Pacific gap in bandwidth is so pronounced that Korean developers often have to strip down their software if they want to take it stateside.” (source)

Another software the article references is Band, a Korean mobile messaging app that has so many features that Koreans are used to using within one app, but confused Americans.

“Even when Korean firms don’t encounter technological issues, the design gulch can confound their attempts to lure American customers. In 2014, Doyon Kim was tasked with taking Band, a South Korean mobile-messaging app, to Silicon Valley. Band lets friends chat, plan outings, share video files, split bills and even conduct informal polls about where to go to dinner. Doyon Kim says that the sheer number of Band’s functions confused users who were not accustomed to performing all of those tasks within a single app.
“As a newcomer in the United States, products have to have one strong feature to market,” he said. “Band had so many features and functionalities, that when people saw the product, they didn’t really get it.” (source)

Indeed, isn’t the cardinal rule of building software or web platforms American-style is to focus on one or two core capabilities and then branch out from there? But even when branching out, an app is supposed to have one featured strength, not be everything but the kitchen sink.

The thing in this article that struck me the most was the $1 to $2 virtual sticker packs that Koreans purchase for Line and KakaoTalk. I first read about those in some other article about Line, but I thought that was just hype because I could not conceive of anyone willingly parting with their money for a virtual good that does not even serve any purpose.

It’s not even like virtual gold or virtual lives/ power-ups in video games. These are just stickers that do nothing and look horrifying:

line mascot

Line (messaging app) mascot

I live in a country where many middle class employed people only have a daily meal budget of $6 (and even more have meal budgets of $0 to $2), so I really could not fathom anyone paying such amounts for imaginary stickers. Even moneyed people I know here who have a lot of disposable income for gadgets, fashion, or Steam games, have never purchased sticker packs and thought that was a pointless waste of money.

But apparently they’re a thing. I don’t know if the tough life here in a third world tropical paradise suck the whimsy out of us, or we just have a scarcity mindset, or American influenced design appetites evoke a visceral disgust in me at such cutesy icons, garish color schemes and cluttered feature panes, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this.

Look at the difference between the crazed colors of the first two screenshots below compared to WhatsApp.

Now that your eyes are now open to this possibility, talented designers, go jump in this market by creating your own sticker packs! Hawk them in one of those all-in-one mobile messaging slash market slash ticketmaster slash file sharing slash polling apps.

(Read source article)

Lingerie Empires and Plastic Recycling

This is one of my favorite articles of 2015. I love reading about two super different things coming together by chance. And what can be more different than how some random Chinese cornered the market on sexy underwear in an obscure corner of Egypt?

First came the sexy undies.

The lingerie vendor who pioneered the small Chinese community in Asyut, Egypt, landed in Egypt by chance. He chose that place on a map, thinking it’s the most populous city in Upper Egypt and he’d do better than Cairo, since he’ll be the first Chinese guy there. He wasn’t even right, it is Luxor.

He landed with pearls, neckties, and underwear, not because of any market research but because those were the only things that fit his suitcase. The first two things didn’t sell well. Apparently Egyptians don’t care for pearls or wear neckties over their traditional clothing. But lingerie was a huge hit!

Soon, he started importing more, and even set up factories there. Many of the lingerie sellers are concentrated in Upper Egypt, the most conservative part of that country.

Alot of these enterprising Chinese lingerie dealers show up not knowing the language, and when the writer visited the home of one of the vendors, he didn’t see any Chinese-Arabic dictionary, phrasebook, or language textbook. The sellers may barely know Arabic or English, but they do know the most important phrases for doing business in their field, “I have this in a wider size.” and “beautiful bride”.

They just showed up, tried to see what works, and then did it. They also gained their buyers’ trust by not meddling in their affairs or having all these preconceived notions about their religion.


(Read source article)

Then, spotting an opportunity and seizing it.

The pioneers I mentioned above are also the ones who established the first plastic bottle recycling facility in Upper Egypt.

“In Cairo and northern Egypt, the network of Chinese lingerie importers and producers quickly grew, and eventually Lin and Chen rented a storefront in Asyut. They invited a relative and a friend to open the two other shops in town. While Lin and Chen were building their small lingerie empire, they noticed that there was a lot of garbage sitting in open piles around Asyut. They were not the first people to make this observation. But they were the first to respond by importing a polyethylene-terephthalate bottle-flake washing production line, which is manufactured in Jiangsu province, and which allows an entrepreneur to grind up plastic bottles, wash and dry the regrind at high temperatures, and sell it as recycled material.” (source) (emphasis mine)

“Here in Egypt, home to eighty-five million people, where Western development workers and billions of dollars of foreign aid have poured in for decades, the first plastic-recycling center in the south is a thriving business that employs thirty people, reimburses others for reducing landfill waste, and earns a significant profit. So why was it established by two lingerie-fuelled Chinese migrants, one of them illiterate and the other with a fifth-grade education?” (source) (emphasis mine)

The article also contrasts the success of the lingerie dealers with investors and businessmen who tried to create industrial/ factory zones in Egypt because they were unaware of how things on the ground work. The zone planners were thinking from a distant, top down angle, and failed to consider local features like women only working half the day, so the factories find it hard to be profitable.

Most importantly, the biggest entrepreneurial lesson I learned here is that the successful ones don’t seek to meddle or impose their values or “change” the system, but see the market and their operating milieu for what it is, and adapt to it. From there, just by their presence as “others”, they have already made changes. And their profits in fact allow them to reinvest into bigger ventures like the full stack plastic recycling plant.

(Read source article.)

Instagram Shops in the Philippines

Even before Instagram “monetized” by putting ads on users’ feeds, people have been monetizing their own Instagram accounts by putting photos of things related to their business- whether the actual product, or lifestyle photos depicting the usage of said product.

There have been Instagram accounts selling pets, drugs, and more pedestrian fare such as jewelry, shoes, and apparel.

The accepted best practice of selling through Instagram is not just posting the photos of your products on your account, but to use it as a brand building exercise with seductive lifestyle photos, one or two pictures of the actual merchandise, some other helpful content that add “value” to your readers, and then hopefully they will be attracted to your brand and go to your website, an e commerce site, or store to buy your product.

There’s a burgeoning cottage industry of Instagram sellers in my country now, and the way they do things is a reversal of these supposed “best practices”.

I remember when Multiply still existed, I couldn’t figure out why so many Filipinos would use it to put up online stores when it’s so unsuited for ecommerce. I could only chalk it up to masochism.

It’s similar to the way I feel about selling on Instagram. Most posts are ephemeral, there’s no rating/ feedback mechanism, no searching through archives, there’s no organized method of presenting your wares, let alone an index, there’s no check out method, inquiries are done through the phone (captioned on the picture) because most sellers note that they have turned off notifications.

Ijust learned about this method of selling recently. I buy and sell things online, but on sites made for selling. My friend was the one who told me about this and I couldn’t believe that there’s this hidden ecosystem of Instagram players.

When she explained to me how it works, I could not wrap my head around it. Why would anyone choose to buy and sell on this platform, in this incredibly roundabout manner, when there are other robust e commerce sites now in the Philippines? At least back in 2007 when selling on Multiply was all the rage, we could say that there weren’t as many online selling platforms then.

She tackled each of my questions one by one.

For feedbacks/ ratings, the seller requests the buyers to take photos of them using the product, and then tag the seller. The seller will thenrepost it, showing a positive feedback. (Reposting/ “regramming” apps– yet another mini cottage industry spawned by Instagram.)

I asked, but there’s no easy way of seeing the aggregate positive/ negative feedback on each seller the way ratings are posted beside usernames on eBay. She said, well, sometimes sellers take a combined photo of a bunch of their shipping waybills and post that. I’m like, no… that doesn’t count.

She also added that the follower count also is a signifier of buyer confidence. I rebutted that follower counts can be easily bought. You can have hundreds of thousands of bot followers for $5!

And she said, well it doesn’t bother buyers like her, and neither do they bother apparently thousands of others. I had nothing to say to that. If the market accepts it, and people sell and buy, as inefficient as I may think it is, who am I to say “that’s not the right way!”

Ifound out from her that most of these Instagram sellers are private. You have to follow them, and you start seeing their wares after they accept you. I could understand the desire for privacy, what with the shakedown-happy government here, but how does that aid your buyers in discovery?


a seller whose private account has 50,000 followers (November 2015 screenshot)

It turns out that to get around the problem of discovery, the sellers came up with the concept of #S4S or Shoutouts for Shoutouts. In exchange for Store A tagging Store B and posting a photo of Store B’s wares, Store B will tag Store A’s account name, and Store B will also post a photo of Store A’s merch on the former’s Instagram account.


The account marked in red is Store A. Green is Store B. In these pictures, you can see Store A tagged B in a “shoutout”. The product in the photo is also from Store B. Store B will do the same with Store A.

These Instagram sellers will also only accept these quid pro quo “shoutout” arrangements from sellers with a minimum number of followers (say a few thousands). Which to me doesn’t make much sense, because you could buy followers so easily, but that’s how they roll.

Note all this is temporary, the Shoutout for Shoutouts last for around a day, then the seller will delete the shoutouts and corresponding advertisements for the other Instagram accounts and then the cycle begins anew a day after.


In this photo, the products inside the green marker are ads for other stores that Store A “shouted out”. Store A’s own products are the ones marked in red.

To me, this sounds tedious and cumbersome. But it apparently works for that market. And they’re making money.

This was an eye opener. To make money, I learned I have to listen and eat my whatever “best social media practices” theory I have previously learned. I can keep asking why won’t they use the other just as easy to use online selling platforms based in the Philippines, but if what they’re doing makes money, if Instagram is where their buyers prefer to scroll and browse, even if the process sounds inefficient and convoluted to me, who’s wrong and who’s right?

This applies for every other business practice out there too.

There are theories and case studies and papers on what people say is the “correct” practice, and there’s what actually works. And what works is not imposing what you feel is “right” based on some “I know better” notion (once again, refer to article the lingerie sellers in section #2 and how they managed to gain a foothold and customers’ trust in the most unlikely place.)

Japanese cuddle cafes

I live in the third world where people sell their bodies to survive- whether in the flesh trade, the “hospitality” trade (girls get commissions from the bar when you buy them drinks), manual labor, paid for peanuts freelance outsourcing work so the first world can live a four hour workweek lifestyle and never have to encounter dick pics and beheading videos in their social media feeds.

The “love industry” staples mentioned in this link are nothing new to me.

(the segment on the cuddling starts at 5:53)

I’ve met both customers and service providers. However, through an informal poll of random people I asked, not a single person has ever thought that cuddle cafes are a good value for money, are something that would be viable as a business, or forget feasibility, something that would even catch on short term!

I thought I had heard of almost every permutation of the flesh trade, and through the years I have learned to not judge because it’s not my place to say what’s wrong. It makes money, and unless I have some brighter idea for people to feed themselves (now, not 10 years away when people are dead), I have no right to impose whatever Western liberal standard of “right or wrong” I learned or read.

When I put those tainted prejudices aside, I see the bigger picture and can get the sense of what sells, what doesn’t sell, why certain services sell, what is “attractive” to what markets, etc.

However, cuddle cafes were never something that I’d thought would make inroads in this industry. Either this is a flash in the pan, or it could be a harbinger of future trends to come. Maybe this will only be a hit in certain cosmopolitan pockets where there’s a lot of lonely singles. Who knows. But hey, it’s still good to learn something new each day. Now go hug someone.

(link to source)

Nov 302015

I show you 8 kinds of yummy dumplings, and a fresh batch of my street side grotto and graffiti photos, APEC stamp, & 2 extra videos in this email – View Mailchimp archive

Past Issues


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Newsletter #2!

Mercredi, 28 Novembre 2015

Dear Friends,

Thank you once again for reading. Thanks to those who wrote to me too with comments and feedback on last month’s first ever newsletter.

This month’s newsletter features my overview of eight different kinds of dumplings, two new additions to my Street Side Grotto series, one new addition to House of Soda, and two graffiti captures.

I also link to Doug Menuez’s Fearless Genius photo project documenting the rise of Silicon Valley.

For those who didn’t receive it, you can view my first newsletter here.

Hope you enjoy this month’s dispatch. Please forward this to friends of yours who may be interested, and ask them to subscribe too!

Always Fresh


In this 5 minute video, I show you guys eight different kinds of dumplings.

00:07 Steamed Dumplings (??) – flavor: leeks/ scallion/ kutchay (??)
00:28 Xiao Long Bao/ Xiao Long Tang Bao (????)
1:03 Pan Fried Dumplings (??)
01:41 Pot stickers/ Kuo Tieh (??)
02:10 Wontons/ wantons (??/ ??)
02:58 Siomai (??) – flavor:  shark’s fin (??)
03:45 Hakaw/ Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (??)
04:10 Rice Rolls/ Cheong Fan (??)

This month’s additions to my ongoing series of various street side grottoes in the Philippines. 


People often ask me where I find them. They’re actually everywhere, hidden in random nooks and crannies.

The two above were shot last week in San Juan near a Mormon temple.

I shot zoomed out views to show where I found them:


This month’s addition to my ongoing series of Coca Cola houses in the Philippines :


I almost thought November will pass without a good graffiti capture. I was mistaken.

The photo above was shot in 9 de Pebrero Street.
The one below was shot in the area being widened in Santolan. It was on the wall of a demolished structure.
graffiti-on-road-being-widened-near-Santolan---3zoomed out version of where I shot the graffiti above

From the Web

I love this essay on Doug Menuez’s Fearless Genius photo series about the early days of Silicon Valley.

I also like that Doug Menuez is trying to use Silicon Valley’s own tools to bring his photo project to life:

“I am trying to create, trying to take this record I have and make it a compelling educational or entertainment body of work. We’re trying to make a new model?—?we have a core story and then a documentary around it, a book and an exhibit. We’re combining video and sound around the stills, but all of these expressions of the core story get distributed to different channels and different revenue streams.”


Past Work:


photo of great typography on a porridge + tofu street cart and a wall.
shot 1/7/2008

Stamp of the Day:

apec-2015-stampsstamp commemorating the Philippines hosting APEC a couple of weeks ago and giving us a very long weekend.

Visit my Stamp Library for more.

November Extras:

1. I show you guys how to send texts (SMS using MightyText, What’s App and Viber using your computer this video. the latter two work for both iOS and Android, the first only for Android.
3 minutes 41 seconds
2. In this video, I give my views on the anti piracy ad that airs before movies in the Philippines, bullet shakedowns in the airport, and relationship advice (related to martial law).
12 minutes 51 seconds

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Nov 302015

Philippine graffiti, peanuts in Coke, and more – View Mailchimp archive

Past Issues


First Newsletter: featuring my graffiti haul last weekend, me trying out peanuts in Coke earlier this month, essay about the ethics of disaster journalism, and a postage stamp.
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Newsletter #1!

Mercredi, 28 Octobre 2015

Dear friends,

Thanks for agreeing to give me your email addresses. I’ve been polluting the internet with my varied writings, photographs, and videos for a decade now, but surprisingly have never sent out e-mail blasts: equating email with spam, bills, work, and heartbreak.

When I started following blogs online, we used Google Reader, or the non-algorithmically censored “feed” of Livejournal, or “blogrolls” in Blogger’s sidebar. I remember if you used Typepad you were considered intellectual, or cutting edge if Movable Type. And you used Feedburner to make your post look neat in RSS readers.

Now people post stuff on social media, most of which disappear into the ether when Facebook’s omniscient algorithm decides not to display your post onto some people’s feeds. Or it gets lost in the deluge of Twitter updates. And these ephemeral modern services don’t even have proper archive searching or indexing for older posts! You snooze, you lose.. because you won’t be able to find that Instagram picture you know you saw a few months ago..

I started this newsletter because unbeknownst to me, e-mail newsletters have been making a comeback. Apparently the modern way of blogging isn’t just “blogging” on your website, even Tumblr isn’t “new” no more. The kids now be sending out email dispatches. Like it was 1896 and you’re sitting pining for your betrothed to send you a letter from the trenches of the Philippine-American War.

I also want to have a reason for constantly creating new work, even if it’s just superficial short term weekly/ monthly projects. The premise of these monthly (or bi-monthly if I’m feeling up to it) dispatches is that I will send out one fresh art work each newsletter. Not just recycle a photo from 2009.

And if it’s a new photo that is part of an existing long term series I’m shooting, it won’t count. I will mention that I’ve made new additions to my existing long term series, but that will not exempt that month’s dispatch from having a fresh new piece (whether video/ photo).

I may still change this, but for now, I plan to have four permanent sections in every newsletter:

  1. Always Fresh – whatever new thing I made for that month/ fortnight
  2. From the web – an interesting link I found online and would like to share
  3. Past work feature – I will either post something I’ve done in the past, or new additions to my long term series (currently, Philippine Stores with Coca Cola Logos, Street Side Grottoes in the Phils., No Parking in the Philippines, and other nonspecific themes like neon, payphones, barbershops)
  4. Stamp of the day: I will feature a stamp from my Stamp Library

P.S. I know the first iterations of everything, like iPhone 1 , or the first genetically cloned sheep, are usually nothing to write home about. But if you find my succeeding newsletters improved and enjoy it, I’d be very grateful if you would forward them to your friends and encourage them to subscribe too. Or click “like” on my Facebook page.So without further ado, here it is!

Always Fresh

I shot three different walls of great graffiti pieces here in the Philippines on Oct. 23 and 24, 2015.

Kalentong St.

kalentong st graffiti panorama

wall #1 along Kalentong St., Manila, Philippines

This is a really long wall, it stretches all the way to the corner and the wall on the other side. Please watch the short 1 minute 25 second video below for the full view. Or better yet, see close ups of every distinct piece in my blog post.

Ortigas Ave:



Doña Hemady St:

graffiti on a trailer on Hemady St.

graffiti on a trailer on Hemady St.

Please click to see detailed close ups of every distinct piece in my blog post

I tried out peanuts in Coke on Oct. 12, 2015. Please watch. 3 minutes 46 seconds.

From the Web


I like this article that questions when is disaster photography/ documentary exploitation? Please read.

Past Work:


In keeping up with my graffiti theme, I’d like to invite you guys to view my previous graffiti megapost. Posted 2013, photos from 2011-2013.

Stamp of the Day:

2002 Philippine Stamp featuring Tagalog Fashion Plates circa 1840

Visit my Stamp Library.

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Nov 282015

san juan graffiti panorama

san juan graffiti 1

san juan graffiti 2

san juan graffiti 3 colorful painted basketball hoop

San Juan, Philippines, September 2013

Nov 252015

blue wall with shuttered window

Nov 222015

small office standing alone below a coconut tree

Manila, Philippines, October 2013

Nov 152015

shot along Aurora Boulevard and G. Araneta Ave. on April 2015 a little past 11 PM

city at night 08

city at night 05

city at night 10

Nov 102015

Vincent Kambingan (goat meat restaurant)

Vincent Kambingan (goat meat restaurant), San Miguel, Manila, Philippines, October 2013

Nov 052015

San Juan, Philippines, September 2013

street corner egg vendor in front of abandoned structure under an umbrella

Nov 032015

video diary of a day at the small fish market on Bustamante St., Valparaiso, Chile. April 24, 2014

runtime: 1 minute 36 seconds

Click to watch on Vimeo.

Nov 022015

Read more about it on this blog post.

Oct 272015

I shot three different walls of great graffiti pieces here in the Philippines on Oct. 23 and 24, 2015. 9 years. That’s how many years have passed since I shot my first photo of graffiti. From then on, I’ve tried to document every piece of graffiti and street art I encounter in my daily life.

I didn’t get to shoot a lot of good street art from the Philippines when I first started documenting them in 2006. Most of my early collection came from Taiwan. Around 2008 though, I noticed that there was an increasing number of good pieces in the Philippines. Before that time, it was mostly tags of names, political rants, and curses.

fuck you graffiti on a QC street

2007, Quezon City, Philippines

(This is a photo-heavy post, please be patient and wait for them to load. It will be worth it.)

Last week, I drove past Kalentong St. in Manila, and I saw a very long wall of great graffiti encompassing two streets. I was in a hurry at the time and didn’t bring my camera with me, so I went back a few days after to shoot it.

detailed view of wall #1

graffiti on Kalentong St., Manila, Philippines

the corner leading to the next set

detailed view of wall #2

The next day, I had my camera with me because my friend told me that this wall on Ortigas Ave. corner Santolan Street I photographed back in 2008 had new street art on it.

As I was going home after having photographed on Ortigas Ave., I saw this great piece on a long trailer on Doña Hemady Street (near the corner of Gilmore St.). This was a bit tough to shoot because I had to stand in the middle of the street for everything to fit in my camera.

I love that I was able to shoot three great sets in two consecutive days. I love it when I see Philippine street art leveling up in just a few short years.

Click to view my previous graffiti mega post from 2013.

Oct 252015

man with accordion

Santiago, Chile, July 2014

Oct 202015

green patches on building
green patch on building, Quezon City, Philippines, September 2013

Pepsi house (pepsi new logo)
blue stripe on house with Pepsi logo, Mandaluyong City, September 2013
Please click to view part 1 of my House of Soda photo series.

yellow house facade with graffiti and blue and red stripes
yellow house facade with graffiti and blue and red stripes, Quezon City, Philippines, September 2013

Oct 102015

laundry sign
Atlanta, July 2014

Atlanta 28
Atlanta, March 2014

Oct 012015

two UAAP Season 78 ball games I watched September 2015:

9/25: Ateneo vs UST. Ateneo was leading as much as 16 in the 3rd quarter, then lost.

Ateneo vs UST  basketball game

Ateneo vs UST basketball game

Ateneo vs UST  basketball game

9/16: Ateneo vs NU.

Ateneo vs NU basketball game

Ateneo vs NU basketball game

Ateneo vs NU basketball game

Ateneo won after double overtime. Everybody was tired when it ended:

Ateneo vs NU basketball game

Oct 012015

I went to the northern tip of the Philippines for a weekend in August 2015.*


My point of origin to my final destination.

Got to Vigan, Ilocos Sur just before sunrise. It was pitch black except for a Frank’s stall, where I grabbed a hotdog, and then had a second meal after walking around looking at the well preserved classical Filipino architecture. My second meal was a Filipino breakfast with Vigan longganisa. These are my some of favorite kinds of sausages, typical Filipino longganisa is sweet, but these are salty.

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13 photos in this slideshow. click left and right arrows to navigate.

I was even able to make some additions to my ongoing No Parking photo project in Vigan. Click here to view map of the route from the point of origin to Vigan.

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This photo meanwhile, combines two of my long term photo projects: No Parking Signs in the Philippines and Coca Cola houses.

coca cola store in Vigan with No Parking sign

Next stop was Bangui, Ilocos Norte. The famous windmills were situated on an empty stretch of beach. Aside from 5 stalls selling some souvenirs for tourists, there was nobody else for miles around.

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Click here to view map of the route from Vigan to Bangui.

Afterwards, went even more north to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and checked into Pannzian Beach Resort. It’s a cozy and affordable place with lots of good, healthy food.

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14 photos in this slideshow. click left and right arrows to navigate.

Lounged around the beach the morning after, then headed to Paoay to check out the sand dunes. Click here to view map of the route from Pagudpud to Paoay.

Paoay sand dunes 04

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8 photos in this slideshow. click left and right arrows to navigate.

Spotted this interesting sign while leaving the sand dunes. I like its font, and the name’s mysterious rustic feel which doesn’t give you a clue what the place is about.


Note: I didn’t bring my camera for this trip, so all these photos were shot with a cameraphone.

Click here to see more photos from this trip on Flickr.


*I didn’t go to Pagudpud directly. Stopped over in Vigan first.



point of origin in the city to Vigan



Vigan to Bangui



Pagudpud to Paoay

 Posted by on October 1, 2015  Tagged with:
Sep 302015

alcoholics anonymous graffiti

Santiago, Chile, July 2014
click to see more of my photos from Chile

Sep 202015

graffiti 2

graffiti 3

graffiti 7

graffiti 5

graffiti 4

graffiti 1

Makati, Philippines, December 2014

Sep 162015

really big squid being barbecued on the street

Manila, Philippines, October 2013

Sep 062015

San Juan, Philippines, October 2013

black nazarene procession in san juan 3

Aug 262015

shoes on wires

Valparaiso, Chile, May 2014
click to see more of my photos from Chile

Aug 222015

blank billboard frame above gray concrete structure
Aurora Boulevard, September 2013

wall in an empty lot with graffiti 2
Manila, Philippines, October 2013

concrete and brick building
Makati, September 2013

 Posted by on August 22, 2015
Aug 142015

Classic orange/ yellow house with jalousies and a balcony

September 2013

Aug 072015

doorway with arches 2

Quezon City, August 2013

Jul 282015

barbershop at night 1
Mandaluyong City, Philippines, November 2014

JRF Barber shop 1
9 de Pebrero, Mandaluyong, Philippines, September 2013

Ruel barbershop 2
San Juan, September 2013

Char's barbershop 1
Aurora Boulevard, September 2013

Ruel barbershop 3
San Juan, September 2013

shirtless man standing by orange barber shop with handwritten sign
Mandaluyong, Philippines, September 2013

Jul 202015

graffiti in public housing yard with makeshift basketball court 3

graffiti in public housing yard with makeshift basketball court 4

I photographed this awesome wall covered with graffiti in the yard of a public housing project that’s been turned into a makeshift basketball court. The man depicted on the left side of the wall is Dr Jose Rizal, a national hero of the Philippines.

Osmena highway, Philippines, October 2013

Jul 102015

green Mitsubishi Lancer car 1

Quezon City, September 2013

Jul 052015

customized bike with polka dot frames, wooden compartment, and a mirror

Makati, September 2013

Jun 302015

jeepney 4
Makati, Philippines, December 2014

Transformers Jeepney
Aurora Boulevard, September 2013

jeepney 3
Makati, Philippines, December 2014

batman jeepney
Fort Bonifacio, September 2013

Jun 052015

March 15, 2014 – Game 4 of the UAAP Season 76 Women’s Volleyball Finals
Ateneo de Manila vs De La Salle University

Ateneo volleyball champions- 21

Ateneo volleyball champions- 55

Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles vs. NU Bulldogs
UAAP 76 basketball game
September 11, 2013

jp erram and chris newsome double teaming Bobby Ray Parks

PBA Governor’s Cup Game 5 final do or die Wednesday
San Mig Coffee Mixers VS Rain or Shine, July 9, 2014
san mig coffee game 23

May 252015

taken in Malinggap St., Quezon City, Philippines, August 2013

Malinggap St graffiti panorama

Malinggap St. graffiti 7 Malinggap St. graffiti 4
Malinggap St. graffiti 6 Malinggap St. graffiti 5
May 152015

First posted two photographs of this wall in Aurora Boulevard, San Juan, Philippines taken 5 months apart in 2013 here.

Two years after, I went back and shot it again, it’s changed!

shot May 2015

graffiti near aurora blvd   3

I also shot it last year in 2014, two months apart.

shot November 2014

Aurora Boulevard graffiti

shot September 2014

aurora blvd graffiti

watch my video about this “grinning face” pattern that’s covering the September 2014 wall.

Here are the 2013 photos:

aurora graffiti collage

May 092015

back to Chile 2014 main page

Fourth of July fun run in Atlanta - 18

Fourth of July fun run in Atlanta - 30

Leaving Chile, I had another six hour long stopover at Atlanta that gave me around a little under 2 hours to explore. It took 40 minutes to leave the airport for security, I needed to be back at the airport at least 2 hours before my flight, and I had to make allowance for the travel time via the MARTA metro.

Like I said in my first post during my layover in Atlanta going to Chile, the MARTA subway is directly connected to the domestic terminal, like Hong Kong or Singapore, making it very convenient for tourists to pop into the city for a quick look. There’s a free shuttle going to the domestic terminal from international, which takes around 20 minutes, so factor that in your time computations.

4th of july panorama in the park

I hit some human traffic in the subway though, it was very surprising because during my first layover in March, the subway was clean and empty. It turns out there was a 4th of July fun run that morning, and people were all getting on the subway to get to the run’s starting point.

Fourth of July in the park in Atlanta - 04

I got out somewhere near the same Peachtree stop I got out of in March 2014, walked around, and even bumped into a cool guy named Jo Ferrow, who’s also into photography. Together we walked around the street nearby where the run was taking place, and the park where people was cooling down.

Fourth of July fun run in Atlanta - 31

Fourth of July in the park in Atlanta - 09

fourth of july people 1

Fourth of July fun run in Atlanta - 26

Fourth of July in the park in Atlanta - 07

Here’s a few more on my Flickr page

May 082015
Apr 212015

Sagada is a small town that lies 275 km north of Metro Manila (according to wikipedia). Went there for two days in March.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

(click left and right arrows to navigate, hover to pause)

Animal encounters

(click left and right arrows to navigate, hover to pause):

  • cows walking along Staunton Road, Sagada
  • Sagada dog
  • chicken on the ground of a 7-11 somewhere in Ilocos
  • These guys own the chicken in the previous photo.
  • dog lying in the yard of diners, Sagada
  • Sagada chicken
  • Sagada chicken
  • Sagada chicken
  • Sagada dog
  • Sagada dog

Touristy stuff:

Saw the famous hanging coffins of Sagada. Went to two sites for it, Echo Valley and Lumiang Burial Cave.

  • Lumiang Burial Caves
  • Echo Valley Hanging coffins
  • graveyard in the trek to Echo Valley

The Big Falls were shut down for a cleansing ceremony by tribal elders, so we hiked to the Small Falls instead.

  • Bokong Falls/ Little Falls, Sagada
  • Bokong Falls/ Little Falls, Sagada
  • quaint little snack shack called El Cubano halfway on the trek to Bokong Falls/ Little Falls, Sagada
  • view seen on the trek to Bokong Falls/ Little Falls, Sagada
  • quaint little snack shack called El Cubano halfway on the trek to Bokong Falls/ Little Falls, Sagada

I was able to ride on top of a van for the first time in my life on our way to Lake Danum to view the sun setting over the Cordilleras.

I managed to survive going in and out of Sumaguing Cave, despite some hair raising moments dropping down in the middle of two rocks with no foothold.

Our guide had a pretty cool old school kerosene lamp that he carried all the way the three hour caving trip.

The food in town was unremarkable, but the yogurt was really good.

(click left and right arrows to navigate, hover to pause)

  • strawberry yogurt at Strawberry Cafe, Sagada
  • sandwich at Yogurt House, Sagada
  • yogurt at Yogurt House, Sagada
  • beef and rice at Sagada Brew, Sagada
  • pitstop in Baguio at Pizza Volante on the way home
  • Bulalo beef soup at Sagada Brew, Sagada
  • Strawberry Cafe, Sagada
  • pork at Salt and Pepper, Sagada
  • Yoghurt House, Sagada
  • yogurt at Shamrock Cafe, Sagada
  • chicken dinner at Salt and Pepper, Sagada

Scenes from the road:

Even stopped by the highest point of the Philippine Highway System.

More photos from this trip here on Flickr.

—driving notes: —
We followed Google Maps’ navigation suggestion and somehow ended up taking the Ilocos route after TPLEX, and ended up only 8 km away from Sagada, but couldn’t proceed as the dirt road was blocked by a tree that fell in the night. The route the whole way there was devoid of passing cars. It turns out that’s not the typical route people take going to Sagada- which would be Halselma Highway.

Sagada, Philippines

fires somewhere in the dark empty stretch of highway in Ilocos we took instead of the more commonly passed Halselma route

After some difficulty backing out of the empty and narrow dirt road blocked by the tree, we saw a local who pointed us the right way towards Staunton Road, which leads into town. It was 6:30 AM, 9-10 straight hours of driving.


Apr 182015