shot with fujifilm superia 400


Language  Tagalog & English
Currency  Peso (PHP)
Airport  Ninoy Aquino International
Time difference from LAX  +16 hours

My trip to the Philippines was a mere three days but going back to where I grew up brought a rush of memories I’ve somewhat subconsciously tucked away in the back corners of my memory bank - my mind often occupied with the stress of work and the rush of every day life.

As a kid I roamed around uneven dirt roads in tsinelas (slippers) from the time I got out of school up until the final glow of the evening sun. The kids I played with have unfortunately become forgotten faces but how we spent our afternoons have never faded. We played patintero, langit-lupa and jack ’n’ poy. We scavenged the roads for broken pieces of wood and tin and pieced them together to build small makeshift ramps for our bikes. We occasionally hunted for bugs and when I was fast enough to grab a large beetle, I’d tie a string on one of its legs and have it fly like a kite without the hassle of waiting for the right gust of wind. 

I woke up to taho being yelled during the early mornings and I’d run down, ask for a few pesos and buy myself a cup of the silky soft tofu immersed in sweet syrup, always in anticipation of whether or not I would get a little extra of the sago (tapioca pearls). I remember the strict rules of respect at school - standing when the teacher walked in and greeting with a “good morning, ma’am” or “good morning, sir.” I remember the soda in plastic bags, the powdered milk, the morning jeepney rides, the waiting for hot water before I showered.

The places I visited this time around reflected more of my interests now - museums, art galleries and the occasional touristy spot - but I was fortunate enough to be able to return to the places my parents grew up. I stood in the church my mom and dad said their weddings vows and peeked through the fences of the schools they attended.

Each moment and each place has led to where I am now. As a kid, I tread these very same grounds but the impact of family history played no significant role at that age. More than ten years later, those seemingly insignificant buildings and streets have become images that replay in my head - creating new memories from pieces of old memories. 

I kept my trip to the Philippines a blank canvas with no plans of what to do, what to eat and what to see. I put my meticulous planning aside and instead let myself go with the flow, enjoying the company of the people closest to my heart in the country I once called my home.