Density Is Such A Not-So-Lonely Word

 

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.

– Thomas Malthus

Most of us always have that love-hate relationship with Metro Manila. Inasmuch as we hate the perennial traffic, flooding, and congestion, if you happen to live in the Metro, chances are, you’ll miss them all. Metro Manila is becoming denser as years progress. As a matter of fact, it is 62 times denser than the national average (PSA, 2012). Yeah as if it’s still a surprise to anyone. In 2015, 12.8 million strong sharing the same air, land, road, water table, and that’s exclusive of the tourists, visitors, and transients visiting the big Metro. Metro Manila is almost the size of Chad, an African country. It is double the size of Denmark. While 12.8 million people is quite a story, congestion of people in the Metro is another interesting plot to see.

So, the question is where do our fellows settle most at? We’re quite sure that they don’t live on the river but along the rivers. You can go to Quiapo or Tondo and feel the dizzy sweat of your instant pals inside your personal bubble. Or sleep through the calm charm of large open spaces in UP Diliman and Katipunan. There is black, white, and a wide spectrum of gray when we speak of density of Metro Manila. I therefore thought of possibly visualizing the 2015 population of Metro Manila based on PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) but put it with a twist.

Not A Rocket Science

Hey this is not some sort of rocket science, physics, or some study of entropy. This is basically plain visualization of population. The most realistic method is to illustrate the population through dots in the map. But sure, the map will basically be a plain-filled color because 12.8 million dots will fill the map. So I represented each green dot = 100 people in every barangay.

Is that it? Not so fast. Each dot will randomly fill the barangay space, that is, if barangays have no waterways, restricted spaces, etc. But that’s not the case. So, I tapped all known large open spaces and waterways that would be impossible for people to settle at and restricted the random dot to be placed there. I think that’s quite logical enough. I would have wanted to do the opposite on the existing roads; that is, gather the random dots to nearest highways, roads, alleys, and waterways, but I think that would require me more time since we are talking more than 5,000 kilometers of road, barangay and subdivision roads not counted yet. That’s quite a lot. So I think I’m ready. Here’s the result:

mempopdensity
An illustration of population growth in Metro Manila for every decade from 1990 to 2010, and 2015.

So, did you find your community? I found mine, quite true. Check yours.

A GIF Says A Thousand Words

Perhaps a moment of glance on the gif would tell us something:

  1. City of Manila is indeed the densest extending to Caloocan City (South) – with its historical role in the development of the country, it is no surprise that Manila continues to be among the densest in the country. Historical landmarks, universities, diverse services, commerce & trade, hawker shops, tiangges, transportation hub, and squatters are among the push factors in this city.
  2. Barangays along Pasig river have the densest population – does Mesopotamia ring a bell? Ting!! But this is another kind. People in Mesopotamia directly benefit from the Tigris and Euphrates. Here in Pasig River, I am not sure. We do not want to eat or drink something that came directly from Pasig River. Perhaps because the setbacks and communities along the river were among the neglected spaces by the local government thus easily occupied by informal settlers and communities.
  3. Decade 2000s marked the steady growth of south and north Manila – When the city of Manila started to deteriorate in 1970’s to 1980’s, then incoming Generation X’ers (babies of baby boomers who loved the imperial Manila) learned that city of Manila is no longer the pearl of Philippines. They started moving out to suburbs – thus BF Homes, Ayala Alabang, Moonwalk, Merville in the south, Corinthian Gardens, San Juan Greenhills and Loyola Grand Villas in the north were among the pioneer communities wherein considered fringes during 1990s. Moving forward, the fringes extended up to the borders of Metro Manila – North Caloocan extending to Bulacan in the north, and Muntinlupa extending to Cavite in the south. You will also observe the sudden increase in Batasan area in QC; perhaps that was during Erap and GMA’s relocation programs to Montalban (Rodriguez) thus directly covering the Batasan transportation belt.
  4. We seriously lack open spaces – large open spaces which serve as breathing lungs of Metro Manila are Rizal Park in Manila, Quezon Memorial Park (which is gradually becoming built up), UP Diliman campus, Ateneo de Manila campus in Quezon City, Ayala Triangle in Makati, and the Lamesa Dam Reservoir within the boundaries of Quezon City, Caloocan, and Rodriguez Rizal. More than these large breathing spaces, we need pocket open spaces that will serve population in every accessible way.

What’s Next?

I was not able to include Marilao & San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, Rodriguez & Antipolo in Rizal, Imus & Bacoor in Cavite, and San Pedro & Santa Rosa in Laguna on the map but they’re actually the next population giants.

Whether Metro Manila subway is on its way to Philippine infra scene, or Marcoses are on their grand return come next election, or BPO is still alive in the next 10 years, population is bound to grow, though there’s a diminishing marginal rate, we still tend to enjoy the country’s young population until the next 25 years. If current planned infrastructure will continue, I think, Metro Manila will start regressing population growth due to its continuous urbanization while fringes will continue to grow. That is, I’m speaking of decades of population changes, and I think that’s not gonna happen in the nearest future.

References:

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2016, May 31). Population of the National Capital Region. Retrieved April 2017, from Philippine Statistics Authority: https://psa.gov.ph/content/population-national-capital-region-based-2015-census-population-0

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2012, April 4). The 2010 Census of Population and Housing Reveals the Philippine Population at 92.34 Million. Retrieved April 2017, from Philippine Statistics Authority: https://psa.gov.ph/content/2010-census-population-and-housing-reveals-philippine-population-9234-million

 

The Foods They Were: Week 1, Month 3

Weekdays give me money but weekends burn them. In spite of t hat, weekends are better loved because they give us good food with good friends. The set of food I had for the whole week, whether weekdays or weekends.

Bagnet: The Aftermath

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Bagnet Special 150.00, Goto Monster, Makati City | ISO 2000 ; 1/40 ; f5

After a week of #IDILY fever, I still can’t get over bagnet. I love bagnet (and so are longanisa Iloko, empanada, and pukipuki) but I loved them more after #IDILY. I can dance while singing Bagnet! Bagnet! Bagnet! Bagnet!

Hallyu in the City

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Bibimbap 130.00, Kim ‘N Chi , Ayala Tower One, Makati City | ISO 500 ; 1/24 ; f4

It’s a bibimbap in the CBD. It may not be as authentic as your usual Korean bibimbap but at least they tried. I love their spicy sauce though.

A Touch of Italian Taste

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Linguine Amatriciana 605.00, Amici, Ayala Triangle, Makati City | ISO 250 ; 1/30 ; f4

You can never go wrong with Italian cuisine. Pizza, pasta, and gelato will save your day.

Escape at the Food Park

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Pik-A-Boo 165.00, Surfries, Gastro Park Kapitolyo, Pasig City | ISO 640 ; 1/17 ; f4

Artisanal and third wave restaurants are now a scene in the metro. In Pasig, this is another find. This melted cheddar covers ground beef with fries diced tomatoes.

Nothing But Sweet Nothing

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Left: S’mores Shake 120.00, Right: Molten Lava Cake Shake 130.00, Sweet Nothing, Gastro Park Kapitolyo, Pasig City | ISO 500 ; 1/24 ; f4

Not too sweet but taste is too shallow as well. Taste is good enough for its price.

My favorite shot of the week:

That Eureka Moment

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ISO 250 ; 1/30 ; f4

Drunk Festival at I’m Drunk, I Love You

Dio:

Relax! Relax! Ang puso mo!

Carson:

Nasa ‘yo. —- Joke laaang!

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, YOU SHOULD. I have no part in the film and no stake at its revenue but with all storytelling it made, I really felt it is really worth-watching. Consider this as my warning to you – THIS POST IS A MAJOR SPOILER. AND A MAJOR UP CULTURE and SUB-CULTURE DISCUSSION.

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When you are destined to be best friends for each other – that’s Bestiny. photo grabbed from Spot.ph

It’s a story about an unconfessed (therefore unrequited) love – a one way love which this generation loves (and hates) so much. You know, that.. one way love? So the movie is a hipster romcom chick flick movie but done in a very tasteful manner with nice execution.

Plot and Crucible

Dio and Carson are super close friends which started when they were in college. Carson grew her love for Dio which she kept for seven long-years – parallel to their academic residency in the University. The challenge here is how will she confess her feelings to him and manage her expectations on Dio’s response to that confession?

Characterization

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Dominic Roco is Jason Ty, Maja Salvador is Carson, and Paulo Avelino is Dio. photo grabbed from Twitter.com

Their roles and characters were laid out simply. The scene opens in UP Cine Adarna–

for non-UP audience – the UP Cine Adarna is an 800-seat capacity theater which serves as a venue to certain campus events. Usually this is where independent movies are premiered. Even the most raw kinds of films can be shown here – no cuts. This institution is not covered by MTRCB censorship. This is to broaden the artistic appreciation of students and audience not bound by any limitations. Cine Adarna is also used by several UP institutions to its College Recognition Day – that’s the ‘college’ equivalent of graduation to us. But technically, it’s only a recognition day.

–where Carson and her friend are talking about their graduation which therefore expounds her mom’s character and the situation they’re in – graduation.

Carson and her friend are eating either banana que or karioka. In UP, that’s the staple merienda of students. Manangs and nanays stall where there are events and people (aside from their permanent stalls) and sell lumpia, bicho, karioka, and banana que. Morning breakfast is another set of diet and menu.

Dio is a film major (which then I prejudged him as a millennial hipster artistic musician, then I was right) who is not interested on what future awaits him even though he passed LAE —

LAE or Law Aptitude Exam is an admission exam administered by the UP College of Law annually. It is often regarded as one of the most stringent law admission exam. Those who pass the LAE earn an almost lifetime bragging rights of being a LAE passer even when graduating from the UP College of Law is another story.

— and he’s not happy about it. Their friend, Jason Ty is another character story. Though it’s a tried-and-tested gay beshie formula, they were still able to pull it off. But this movie, I think, tried to humanize further Jason’s role as not your only tried-and-tested beshie but a more substantive living LGBT person. I wonder though why do they have to characterize him as “Jason Ty” in the whole film, perhaps to make it noticeable? Hence my wonder? Nonetheless, all characters played at most one or two scenes – oh there’s another major character, Pathy. She is like the anti-thesis of Carson. Carson is flamboyant, outgoing, outspoken, liberal and independent. Pathy is meek, prim, proper, feminine, and this is what swoons a regular guy. I think her name was really intended as it is – Pathy. Pathos meaning disorder, or something improper in feeling. She makes Carson uneasy.

Both Carson and Dio are MRR status in the University–

–or Maximum Residency Rule is a universal rule in UP which restricts overstaying of students in the University. Students are only allowed x1.5 of their residency in UP. For example, Engineering courses which have 5 years in its curriculum program only allow at a maximum of 7.5 years (5 + 2.5) of residency in the University . Likewise, 4-year courses only allow a maximum of 6 years of residency in the University.

thus, moving forward to another phase of life is completely inevitable.

Execution

I have no background in film so I have no idea in methods of filming so please bear with me on this. The director has a good background in millennials’ and hipsters’ way of life – perhaps because he is also one? The movie extensively utilized alcohol as the pivotal instrument in important scenes. It is the trigger device to Carson and Dio’s conversation, Carson and Jason’s heart to heart talk, and even Carson’s confession to Dio, and their moment of patching things up. Hence the title. Humors are executed by music and novelties such as language and body movements – remember that ‘luh luh luh luh luh ooohhh’ on the iPod scene and that Bagnet dance? Oh such a guilty pleasure to dance with that bagnet body wave while eating it.

What I love most is the director’s treatment to music as their language and their silence as their emotions. Every turning point that happens in the movie corresponds its moment in major silence. It is basically commanding the audience to feeeeeel what Carson feeeeels.. when an explosive line is delivered, look at their eyes, then the cinematography, then listen to the drop of the music.. oooh them feeeels! Direk JP (first name basis?! How close) really knows how to fill up the emotion and trigger them all at once for you to explode. Those scenes happened with the following:

  1. First scene of Dio and Carson – she asked him of his plan in entering Law School. Maja felt betrayed. She was faltering. Dio snatched his guitar and plays his composition. She asked (non-verbatim) ‘maglo-law school ka pala di ka nagsasabi’, Dio retorted with the lines of the song he’s writing. Oh that feelssss.
  2. Carson finally confessed to Dio her love for him. It was a moment of silence, then Carson dropped the ‘I love you’ bomb! Both of them exploded.

    Mahal kita, seven years na. Seven years na kitang mahal.

    Good thing Carson managed to compose herself from Dio’s breakdown confession MOMOL. Oh that feelssss.

  3. Carson waking up from last night’s chaos. This is my favorite scene. Carson finally confessed her feelings, it was kept for seven long years. Now she finally said it. What’s next? He kissed her. He almost fucked her. Why? To make up for his mistakes? To make up for his future mistakes because he can’t really reciprocate her feelings? That’s the best sorry that he can give? A fuck? What’s next after the confession? Too many questions running though her mind, and me as an audience. What will happen next? But as an audience, I wanted to savor that moment of confusion from last night’s war. Direk JP gave us audience that silence. Carson was lying alone on her bed, no music, no people talking, no nuisance noises, complete silence. Not only to think, but also to feel the emotion.
  4. Carson and Dio was standing with the audience during Daluyon Music Festival. Look at the cinematography here. Carson stepped backward on the left, Dio in the middle, Pathy on the right. Carson distanced herself from Dio, but she prayed that Pathy will take that long at the comfort room. Just an ample time for her to glance at Dio. That’s the only scene in the movie where she was emotional with Dio. It was quite a leap from her character towards Dio. She did finally confess her feelings. Then the music plays again. Saaaad song.
  5. The moving on scene. They drank at the closed Tomato Kick (TK) while Dio is wearing his sablay.

sablay or sash in English is a garment worn by UP students on their graduation. Instead of the traditional graduation gown and toga, UP Diliman students (some UP units wear gown and toga) wear Barong Tagalog (for men) or Filipiniana or any white dress and skirt (for women) while wearing the sash with a baybayin script stitched on it meaning U.P. Wearing a sablay while taking a picture with your parents is one of the most rewarding moments for a family. It is symbolic to your rite to college and your parents’ role to you in your education.

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Oh that sablay shift. Photo grabbed from the UP OUR.

Dio wore his sablay perhaps as part of his apologetic gesture to Carson. For the whole movie, he eloped topics on his life after graduation and after his college life. He is afraid to see what is awaiting him come graduation day. He feels the pressure of creating a dent in the universe. He was so scared in life after graduation that he ditched his graduation. Hashtag adulting. But in this scene, he had his share of his realizations. He wore his sablay and asked Carson out. TK is already closed but still they pursued drinking (again). Carson chuckled. I think that’s her complete realization that there’s life after loving Dio. Dio was dying to know why she laughed, Carson never bothered telling him the reason. I also never wanted Carson to tell Dio the reason, because I knew her reason. Only Carson and us audience know the real reason. They laughed again together. That’s her first laugh after her heartbreak with Dio.

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Maja had a one step backward and a giant leap to express herself. photo from Rappler.com
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The barkadas are doing the Bagnet dance. I think I’m gonna be doing that for the next decade or so. photo grabbed from Youtube.com

Overall

Heavily emotional but inquisitively complete. I like the non-verbal communications between the characters. I can understand them completely. Their story of friendship was firmly established that you wouldn’t really want them to end up together because that will look utilitarian to both of them since both of their premises were in awkward situations. Normally, I never look for flaws to any movie, as long as the movie is able to convey its message effectively, I think it did its purpose; to entertain and teach the audience. I both did.

Oh by the way, since you cannot take away the geographer in me, I forced myself of doing something ‘geographical’ in the movie, so, I created a map of places which Carson, Dio, Jason, and Pathy visited during the course of the movie.

So here’s the map of Carson and Dio’s escapade in the movie. Majority of the film were shot in UP campus, Teacher’s Village, and La Union. Of course I don’t have the marking of Carson, Dio, and Jason’s houses. All else are indicated in the map. Be sure to zoom in and click the landmarks on the map to check the trivia in each setting.

By the way, as of this posting, IDILY is only shown at 14 cinemas in Metro Manila and 23 cinemas nationwide. Such a sad feeling that this movie is taken for granted. It is definitely worth-watching.

Hottest Spot for Valentine’s Day

And, just like that, Valentine’s Day finally happened. This is the only day where you’ll see flowers blooming in the city in broad daylight afternoon. Come sunset, expect to literally bump people (and cars) everywhere. Likewise, this is the perfect excuse to splurge on sweet nothings – Holland tulips, fancy cards, posh-packaged chocolates, fully-booked restaurants, and to some extent, fully-booked inns and hotels (Oohhlala). In all perspective, Metro Manila is a hustle and bustle of people and events. Now I quickly pondered, where would they be now? On a regular Friday or Saturday night, I am sure people flock in Ortigas, BGC, or Timog, but strictly speaking, where would we flock in the Metro?

So I took the liberty of visualizing spatial movement of people in the metro. But how can I do it? Then there came social media. What is more powerful today than social media? Apps like Zomato, Foursquare, Swarm record our visit for every check-in we make. These data check-ins (don’t worry, the apps never reveal your identity in the record) are the bridge to answer my questions. There had been a lot academic sites which share these kind of data. For one, Dingqi Yang’s Dingqi Yang’s page provided a good one. I quickly downloaded some data from the site to see how busy Metro Manila is on a regular Friday and Saturday and perhaps deduce from it some side stories such as Saturday night spots, payday zones, and Valentine’s Day oozing districts. Dingqi’s site has uploaded the census check-ins of the Foursquare in the metro for the last two years. From there, I can derive the volume of check-ins for a given day or perhaps, a census for entire record years. For this quick study, for general visualization, I used all the check-ins for the recorded two years. However, to make the data useful to my objective, I only sorted the establishments relevant to people like me, who frequently visit on a payday or occasion day. These are

  1. Restaurants, fastfood chains, burger joints, bars, etc.
  2. Event places such as concert hall, stadium, open fields
  3. Lodging venues such as hotels, motels, inns
  4. Entertainment spots such as malls and theaters

The whole process was done through GIS (Geographic Information System) and by utilizing density spatial analysis. For simplicity’s sake, I initially used the optimized kernel density as I gradually develop this map. There may be a lot of flaws such as biased population data since this is only based on voluntary check-in on Foursquare. Nonetheless, this can provide an interesting insight of movement of people in Metro Manila. I think I will have to create another blog entry for the entire process of kernel density that I did with the data thus resulting the map. It was quite a long process.

The result, here’s the map:

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The result of the quick study has specified spots in the Metro Manila. Though it may be obvious to some that Makati and Ortigas are the place to go, or MOA Complex will never make you bored, this only affirms visually the density in the Metro. With the result, I think I can visually rank them with the following:

Core 3:

  1. Makati
  2. Ortigas-Shaw-Tiendesitas
  3. BGC

Influential 5:

  1. MOA Complex
  2. Eastwood
  3. Trinoma-SM North
  4. Greenhills
  5. Timog

Next 10:

Star City-CCP, Katipunan, Magallanes, Airport, Alabang-Zapote, McKinley Hill, Monumento, Maginhawa, Banawe, Fairview

A reflection on Christaller’s Central Place Theory can provide us a small introduction on the concept of these developments. How hierarchy of needs exist relative to distance and necessity. How the core happened to be the source of wider range of goods and services while smaller patches of developments may provide specific need to its neighborhood.

For instance, Core 3 are the established centers in Metro Manila. Their influence virtually covers the entire country. This is where HQ offices locate – local and international, embassies and consulates, city and regional malls, museums. People are practically willing to travel to this center no matter how far since these 3 centers can provide higher goods and services. This is where dreams become reality. The melting pot of culture. These are the default dibs to whatever is something to the country. You’ll meet all kinds of foreigners and it’s normal. People are culturally diverse, more liberal disposition, creative class, artisanal, intellectuals, mean income is proportionally higher than the rest of the country.

Makati’s crowd drawers aside from its HQ offices are Ayala Avenue and Ayala Center (Glorietta 1-5, Greenbelt 1-5, Landmark, SM in one leisure walk) and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Ortigas-Shaw-Tiendesitas boasts Ortigas Business District where it accommodates Meralco, Philippine Stock Exchange, HQ offices, SM Megamall, Shangri-La, Tiendesitas, posh villages. Bonifacio Global City, meanwhile, is a fast-rising star. It will soon house the unified Philippine Stock Exchange, currently it has Bonifacio High Street, Mind Museum, open spaces, modern buildings, modern bars, modern everything. Adjacent to it is Uptown Mall and Burgos Circle.

The Influential 5 have quite different personalities but all serve as regional centers in providing goods and services. They are sometimes at par with the Core 3. Entertainment City, for example, provides gaming and entertainment events which no other districts in the metro can provide.

MOA Complex is younger than BGC but it rapidly catches up in the race. It has the Mall of Asia, The Arena, a complex of offices, condominium, the Entertainment City and soon a lot more landmarks to be built with the impending unsolicited proposal of SM. Eastwood City has limited space so I think it will remain as it is though they’re forcing to expand. Trinoma-SM North is a love-hate story of competition. They fought for consumers, products, now even the MRT common station. But this area still gives it’s contemporaries a run for their money. This district has Trinoma, SM North, and Vertis North extending up to Eton Centris. Moving southbound is Greenhills district where malls and offices are also located such as Virra Mall and Greenhills Shopping Center. The place may be relatively smaller than the Core 3 but its clientele is mostly middle class families therefore making it a hotspot for events aficionado. Perhaps two outliers seen on the map are Timog Avenue and Cubao. Cubao has undergone a lot of ups and downs. The Aranetas are continuously revitalizing the district pushing to regain its prominence during the 70’s. Timog Avenue is rich in food shops, hotels, and events places. Those two have high check-in rates in Foursquare but they’re really for food and events place only.

The Next 10 districts are the rising stars behind the centers in the Metro. They cater to specific residential and commercial districts thus their density increases gradually. Katipunan and Maginhawa basically caters UP-Ateneo-Miriam students, residents in QC east and Marikina. Banawe serves the QC-Manila boundary residents with some populace from other place due to the concentration of automotive and industrial parts. Same goes with Fairview in the north, Alabang-Zapote in the south, etc.

The whole map is not conclusive and final. Until now, I am playing around with the data to derive to an objective and statistically sound result. Be sure to check out this blog more often as I continuously develop this study. So, next time that you think where to go next, chances are – these are the top spots that will float on your list. Don’t forget! Check-in on your Foursquare app.

sources:

Dingqi Yang, Daqing Zhang, Bingqing Qu. Participatory Cultural Mapping Based on Collective Behavior Data in Location Based Social Networks. ACM Trans. on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST), 2015.

Dingqi Yang, Daqing Zhang, Longbiao Chen, Bingqing Qu. NationTelescope: Monitoring and Visualizing Large-Scale Collective Behavior in LBSNs. Journal of Network and Computer Applications (JNCA), 55:170-180, 2015.

 

Focus and Shoot

So I got the talk-of-the-town smartphone of 2016. The double lens-ed Leica-designed Android-powered.. The Huawei P9. Released in 2016, the newest wonder in camera phones is now in the smartphone-killer cameras arena. Dual lens camera, professional GUI for manual control of aperture, shutter speed and ISO, large display, bokeh functionality. So I think that’s pretty strong introduction. Basically I tried this camera to capture some objects playing around with all its functionalities.

1. Caesar Salad by Pound
ISO: 1,250
S: 1/17 s
f: 2.2

2. Holidays at BGC
ISO: 250
S: 1/30 s
f: 2.2

Cityscape in BGC
ISO: 1,000
S: 1/17 s
f: 2.2

3. The UP Oblation
ISO: 50
S: 1/120 s
f: 2.2

4. No U-Turn
ISO: 50
S: 1/121 s
f: 13

5. The Sanctuary
ISO: 50
S: 1/1053 s
f: 2.2

6. Busy as a Bee
ISO: 64
S: 1/120 s
f: 2.2

7. Streetfood
ISO: 160
S: 1/33 s
F: 2.2

8. Campus
ISO: 50
S: 1/169 s
F: 2.2

9. Bells Ringing
ISO: 50
S: 1/100 s
F: 2.2

10. Foreshadowed
ISO: 50
S: 1/200 s
F: 2.2

11. Dusk
ISO: 320
S: 1/33 s
F: 2.2

A Toss Coin Between The Church and The State

Then Jesus said to them;

“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. – Mark 12:17 (NIV)

When Jesus was gaining the trust of the Jews while also drawing the ire of the Pharisees, this question that would have salvaged the Pharisees’ sinking appeal to their subordinates brought them otherwise. Wise and articulate enough, this passage did not only sidetrap Jesus’ situation but it had also drawn a lot of inspiration to statesmen and officials alike.

One common interpretation is the complete submission of man to God as humans are the product of God’s love since inception – all before material things, material things that is due to the State’s role. Just as Pope Pius XI said in his encyclical letter Divini redemptoris 
“The human person ought to be put in the first rank of earthly realities”,
this, of course, includes Caesar’s government, or any State or government.
However, this also puts into perspective the role of the government and its relationship to its people in paying taxes. These taxes are due to the government to provide what is best for the common good – all who pay taxes. This tax ideally neutralizes man’s norm in the State as a human being coexisting to fellow human being driven in one common goal. As MacLellan once said:
“The individual comes before the State.. the only purpose of Government is to guarantee individual freedoms”.
Thus, this premise may shed light when role of personal choice and role on the State haze the thin line. Give what is due to our God, our faith and our institution Church, while not neglecting the freedom inherent to every single person in the State.

Kasiyahan sa Kalanggaman

We took the plane, rode a car, and weathered the seawaves just to reach this majestic small island right in the middle of Cebu and Leyte.

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A small island 129 kilometers off the coast of Palompon, Leyte. This island will surely take all your stress and problems from the city. The murmuring winds of the easterlies and the soothing sound of waves will relax your mind while enjoying the calm atmosphere of nature. I said ‘calm’ because one thing that got me hooked me here the most is its limited accommodation to people. So you’ll enjoy you’re vacation worry-free from noise of people.

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We took the plane from Manila to Tacloban City which is around 600 kilometers. The travel took us only about an hour and a half. We went aboard at dawn and we enjoyed the sunrise view from the plane.

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Amidst the sea of cloud is the rising sun showering me its ray of lights. It was indeed morning, sunrise and I must not miss it.

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That’s our plane. It’s among the cheapest yet provides good deal of flight in the travel market. I am not their paid advertiser btw (as if I have enough readers to generate traffic mehe).

From the Romualdez Airport, we should be going to Palompon, Leyte to ride a motorboat to get to Kalanggaman. Since it’s a 129-kilometer ride, we have to take a common transportation going to Palompon which is usually bus or van. We prefer the latter. Its terminal is in Tigbao. That’s about 20-minute travel from the airport. We took a cab going to Tigbao, made friends with manong taxi driver and heard stories about Yolanda, his family, his plans in life, his political views, his outstanding loans, and we had that conversation in about 20 minutes.

We alighted at Tigbao, took our hearty breakfast while planning for our trip. Damn I forgot to capture the piece of scratch paper which we used for our itinerary planning! Nonetheless, we almost followed our itinerary. We took the van and braced ourselves for another two- or three- or four-hour ride to Palompon. We laughed inside the van, told each other’s stories, shared other people’s secrets, rumor-mongered whatever topic we thought funny and punny.

Four hours of talk, sleep, and fun and we finally reached Palompon. It’s almost lunchtime but we could imagine eating our lunch at the picturesque lone island so we decided delay it a bit and buy stuff instead for our stay in the island.

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The Palompon site gives a perfect view of sky, sea and the mountains. Rent of the regular boat costs P3,000.00 so we waited for groups to at least compensate for the remaining seats.

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We were able to buy some stuff for our stay and wait for groups to complete the seat. One hour had passed and off we went.

Our mission:
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And our action:

There’s the island, the waves, and the sea. It was around  16 kilometers off the coast and were were running at 10-12km/hr at its peak and 5-10km/hr at the slowest. So you do the math. 3..2..1.. Time’s up. Two hours and twenty minutes. That’s how long we traveled over the sea.

One noteworthy before I share our island experience, I like the locales’ involvement in this tourist spot. They really know what they’re doing. They gave us an orientation on the proper actions within the island – no littering, spots safe to swim, spots where there’s fish sanctuary so it’s a no-no place for us.

Finally, we’re here! The island’s so cool! There is a space in the middle covered with coconut trees. There are ready monobloc tables and chairs, cottage huts, and even lawn area for tents..

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The sands are white and granular, the water is so clear, it’s as if the clouds are talking to you while you’re sunk into the sea..

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It’s as if the waves are inviting you into their world..

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Or the sands are encouraging you to play with it around while being scorched by the tropical sun..

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When you know suddenly you are not alone and the seniors are there watching over you..

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and when one capture of a sandbar is not enough, you abuse your camera with it.

That’s me!

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and when the day is old (corny!) and the night is young, it’s is full of shorrre..

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and you feel your squad shall have the mandatory TV series-ish poses..

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and the moon starts to appear while you’re by the seashore, that freakin’ orgasmic sandbar as the island’s last frontier..

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The day ended with so much food, fun, and waves. I never got the chance to capture it because, as I said, we had so much fun.

The day after, we visited another amazing place in Leyte. I’ll post my story here next time.

Planning to visit? Here’s the breakdown of our cost:

Manila-Tacloban-Manila Flight – P3,000.000
Cab from airport to Tigbao – P100.00
Van from Tigbao to Palompon – P100.00
Palompon boat to Kalanggaman island – P3,000/boat – P300/pax
Envi fee – P150.00 (Actually I forgot, I’m not sure with the price sorry)
Tent rent – P300.00
Food, food, food – approx. P500.00

add and divide them all – that’s around P4,000.00 including flight! That amount is equal to a memorable experience in the lone paradise of Kalanggaman!

So yeah. Visit the island now!

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My favorite shot during our visit