sequel, or, my titles will never be as catchy as claires’

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This is the street where my Aunt Aurora lives (and my cousin Tina, and my Aunt Jean, three guard dogs, three newborn puppies, and a rabbit). The following post has nothing to do with food, but for anyone remotely interested in what I was up to the month I disappeared, this one’s for you! Welcome to Part II of my travel notes, aka Nicole’s Vacation Photo Dump.

To start off this (lengthy) photographic journey:

This is the same view of the above street during New Year’s Eve. This does not even remotely do justice to the insane fireworks display I witnessed. There’s no regulation of pyrotechnics there and people take full advantage of that fact. The neighborhoods erupt in whooshes and bangs for at least two hours before midnight.  It’s best to wear a gas mask because of all the smoke that fills the streets, and it’s a truly stupid idea to try and drive anywhere all night because of all the explosives being set off. There are so many fireworks lighting up the sky that I had no idea which way to turn my head, except wayyyyy way up.

Me and the fam went on an hour-long trek into the woods where we crossed a bunch of rough rivers and walked on a lot of slippery rocks. I almost ate dirt a bunch of times but came out relatively unharmed.

Mother’s Fall is the reason why we hiked for an hour — and it was well worth it. It was my first time swimming in a waterfall (and almost dropping my camera in a waterfall).

We hit up the coast here in Belar and watched the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. This area draws a lot of surfers and was one of the shooting locations for the film Apocalypse Now.

This wild bird was tied up to a tree branch in one of my relative’s backyards. Seeing it flap around until it got too tired was a really sad sight … so my mom bought it off them for 200 pesos (approx. $4). She intended to release it into the mountains when we were driving out of town, but when attempting to transfer the bird to my sister in the car (which, for the record, I said was a stupid idea) she lost her grip and it flew out the window. Hopefully it made for the hills on its own — or maybe it flew right back to its owners. Whatever, we meant well.

This is my dad in dressed as an indigenous head hunter. Speaks for itself I think.

For some reason I really loved taking photos of hanging laundry — out in the country, they were just lined up in front of the most obscenely picturesque backdrops.

This is the Santo Niño. There is a shrine for this guy in every single Filipino household. The only thing they love more than building shrines for the little man is dressing him up in ridiculous costumes. The above photo is far from the worst of it.

It looks like they’re going to a championship game, but they’re actually dressed up in matching uniforms for a religious parade. It’s called the Feast of the Black Nazarene, where millions of people gather in the center of the city, wait in the sun for hours, and face potential death by stampede so that they can throw towels at a black wooden Jesus. True story. And if you check out the woman below…

…true devotees don’t wear shoes. We’re talking about walking barefoot on the streets of Manila here, people — New York City has nothing on the grunge on these sidewalks.

This is the inside of a tricycle, which is one of the cheapest modes of transportation around the city. Tricycles are pretty much a motorcycle sidecar. This is how the inside of most vehicles are decorated — tons of religious iconography, street-art inspired stickies, and strings of the national flower.

So that was my trip in a nutshell. I’ll leave you with some other pictures that don’t need explanations but are too nice to not include:

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5 Responses to “sequel, or, my titles will never be as catchy as claires’”

  1. Emily Says:

    This is so beautiful. My favorite: Santo Nino. I wish we could dress one up in skinny jeans, a loose fitting V-Neck, and a necklace with feathers to keep around Brooklyn.

  2. mom Says:

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