I worked in Hong Kong for just two years but the attachment I have with this place cannot be compared to any city I've been to. From the sights, the lights, the people, the culture, the food, the goods -- it seems every detail in the city brings back joy and happy memories. Can't forget that one bright Sunday when I walked around Central and took photos of our domestic helpers. FYI, a typical Sunday in Central Hong Kong is like Rizal Park on Christmas Day. The parks and streets are full of people, there are some cultural activities happening, you can see balikbayan boxes everywhere, and you can hear noise similar to a Ginebra game. Yet, these "imperfections" make me miss HK more. Hong Kong has been my second home and I always keep on coming back for more.
Below are some of the products of that one Sunday, circa 2002. I experimented on several candid shots by placing the camera on my chest to make my documentation discreet. As a result, 75% of those were bad and unusable haha. I used a Canon EOS film camera and two rolls of Kodak Proimage.
Last weekend, October 15-16, Bacolod City held its annual MassKara Festival. Being a noob, I was overwhelmed by the colors and awed by creativity of the Bacoleños. In spite of enduring two days of grueling heat, I was able to snap hundreds of photos but felt I could have taken more shots. Hence, Bacolod, I will be back.
To know more about this event, I took these words from The MassKara Festival Website:
One of the most famous festivals in the Philippines today, the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City was born 32 years ago. One of the happiest festival in the country, it rose from the gloom that enveloped the city in 1980s, a period of tragedy and economic dislocation. During this period, the prices of sugar in the world market were at an all-time low. Negrenses, including Bacolenos, were in a crisis as the province only relied in the sugar industry then. The depression was further aggravated when passenger vessel Don Juan sank on April 22, where an estimated 700 Negrenses, including prominent families, perished.
In the midst of these tragic events, the city’s artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph. This act of collectively fighting back at life’s troubles is embodied in the MassKara Streetdancing lyrics: Sige lang… sige na! Bacolod bato kita! (It’s okay… it’s alright! No matter what adversity, Bacolod fights on!)
MassKara is coined from two words: Mass, which means “many, or multitude,” and Kara, a Spanish word for “face,” thus MassKara is a mass or multitude of smiling faces. For Bacolenos, MassKara is a celebration and expression of thanks for the abundance of blessings life brings them.
Together with my family, I had the chance to visit master potter Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan’s works last Sunday at his home in Tiaong, Quezon. Unfortunately, Ugu was out of the country, but was welcomed warmly by his relatives there. Ugu’s place, from his store-gallery to his workshop, is as picturesque as his artworks. With his distinctive craftsmanship and contribution to the development of Philippine Arts, there is no doubt Ugu will become one of our National Artists someday.