JCH visits Manila


by Bellamy /

4 min read

JCH visits Manila
As many of you may know, I went to Manila for a spot of business a couple of weeks back. I was only there for a very short time, but I came back with a great impression. Let me tell you about it.
Just recently things have been going well at JCH towers. The workshops with Eric Kim were a blast and the film cases have been taking off. So after all of the madness I was really looking forward to a sit down with a cuppa and scanning some of the huge backlog of negs I have got. But this dream was not to be, as I was asked to come to Manila (in the Philippines for those who didn’t study at school) for a spot of work and for a interview.

I was in Manila to buy something. And buy it I did, but after I had done that I had some time to kill. Unfortunately though it was a really short trip, basically 1 day and 2 nights. So I didn’t really get the chance to explore anything other than the area around my hotel. I was told not to go out there at night, especially with a fancy camera. But I did check out a few places. Manila is a hectic and chaotically noisy city. There are millions just trying to get by and you are a mere blip in their lives, a ghost passing by. This place looks like a street photographers dream, with so much going on that it would almost consume you. This is a fascinating city and with the right guide I might not get myself into terrible trouble. Might.

Fortunately for me I was met by the lovely Denise from Lomo, who is not only a passionate film photographer, but also a writer for Lomo. She gave me a mini tour of some cool places that made me really want to come back to Manila. And she also asked me a few questions. Which hopefully you will be able to see soon. I shall link it when it is up.

Dear Manila peeps. I am sorry, but I don’t remember the names of anywhere as it was so whirlwind that I was basically in a daze. I asked Denise to take me to a photo store and was taken on a short cab ride to a nondescript building, which had an awesome little store inside. This place was a meeting spot for people as they waited to get their film developed. Which had a really nice vibe about it. They also had some Fujifilm emulsion that I had not come across before: YKL. I decided to buy a roll as it is always nice to see a different film.

The secondhand market in Manila is not all that big it would seem and the store itself didn’t really have anything in it apart from a few items. I wonder, where do you guys get your cameras from? I am sure there are other stores there and I will definitely go and visit them the next time.

When I was leaving the store I saw a guy approaching me with a nice camera and a big smile. It always surprises me when people come up and say “Hi, you are JCH right?”, I sometimes get a bit flustered, but it was great to meet Baru A. Dacasin. And he was cool enough to show me what he was rocking in his bag. He also had a pretty epic T-shirt.

I have to say that the afternoon light in this city is stunning. It was so golden that I could not get over it. The sun was just pouring down the streets and it was the perfect sort of light for me. I really hope that some of my shots came out.

Unfortunately at this point I was running out of time, so I had to head back to my hotel, but I really want to go back to Manila. Both Denise and Baru told me there are a lot of street photographers and film photographers running around Manila. I hope that next time I will be able to meet you all and go shooting with you. I would love to see some of the places that you guys shoot. I had a great, albeit short time in Manila and I will definitely go back there as soon as I can.

There is a vibrant community in Manila and the Philippines. Check out these sites for more info about shooters and shooting in the Philippines.

Thanks to the lovely people that I met and I hope to meet you all again soon.
I will be back

6 comments on “JCH visits Manila”

    jef December 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm / Reply

    thank you bellamy! hope to meet you there sometime.. :) i’m stuck here in iran but atleast i could still promote film photography even if i’m here!

    Karlo B. December 13, 2012 at 2:01 am / Reply

    Glad you enjoyed the Manila! Love the Jeepney’s, it’s classic Philippines.

    ZDP-189 December 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm / Reply

    Looks like a grand time was had by all.

    Basil Juan III December 14, 2012 at 12:33 am / Reply

    I knew it! i was wondering who that guy was. Are you coming back here for Eric Kim’s workshop next month?

      Bellamy December 14, 2012 at 6:46 am /

      I wish I was, but I don’t have time. But I will be back soon.

    Frederick December 15, 2012 at 11:31 am / Reply

    I was there for a month and my cousin told me about Hidalgo Street in Quiapo (old quarter of Manila).
    Bought a tripod that there that I have been using for almost 3 years now.

    But anyways, I went there alone, and on the way home as I was walking the crowded streets, I was actually tailed by several people (including some street kids). I ducked into a sort of commercial building with many booths, and I could see that they were actually still following me, so I hid my plastic bags of loot into my camera bag (barely fit) and took off to the light rail terminal nearby as fast as I could.

    Long story short, be aware and keep your valuables close.
    (Don’t let me scare you though, I myself am going back soon this summer)

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