27 February 2010

More Frankenbikes

Lady driver, reprezent.

I dream of someday driving up to the grocery (or Sunday market) in a bike (tricycle, actually) like this. It's so roomy, and so much the opposite of hyper-engineered suppository cars. I do love improvised vehicles. They are a universe on their own and I wish to someday meet a Maker.

A jeepney route sign.

These larger "frankenbikes"are motorized. I suspect they are mopeds with the option to pedal if needed. Many of them have car steering wheels in place of handlebars. If I had this ride, I would take friends around, maybe have a little tree in a pot somewhere in there, and, maybe, a grill in the back for when I get hungry.

Under the fiesta colors with the token guy that has his shirt up, scratching stomach.

A parked one. Rope on the front bar for tying cargo in.

Rope ties passenger backrest down, scrap slipper rubber keeps driver backrest softish.

And some other human-powered vehicle photos from thereabouts:

Fully loaded pedicab. Note a cheetah print umbrella tucked away overhead, and handlebars held together by tape.

Deluxe ride under a beach umbrella.

24 February 2010


Addressing a crowd of very behaved Ilocanos.

So Imelda drops in on the town fiesta of Paoay, and talks about her conversations with Comrade Mao.

Talking about culture.

20 February 2010

The Making of An Empanada

A bitten empanada.

The Ilocano empanada has more in common with a lumpia than it does with an actual empanada. It is made with rice flour (making it not doughey at all, and relatively crispy) and is deep-fried in the oil of a million empanadas and longganisas past.

Trying, in vain, to drip some oil out.

The Norte version contains shredded green papaya, munggo (mung beans), an egg, and some longganisa. It is made quite masterfully, and I have tried to compensate for my lack of video coverage by taking a series of (dark) shots.

This woman from Batac claims her grandmother invented the Ilocos empanada. Here's how she makes them:

13 February 2010

Ode To A Restroom

The shrine of baby.

I think I sort of know local bathrooms. From the gag-inducing, Trainspotting sort (belonging to stores with the most unfriendly and jaded employees), to literally a plot of soil behind a curtain, Ive been to some pretty memorable ones. At one point, it was a raised wooden structure from which you watch through the slats as your pee flows onto and around the people doing Islamic ablutions in the river. Well, hey, what can you do? I do prefer al fresco, but there are norms you have to follow.

Ilocos Norte is, on the whole, almost faint-inducingly clean compared to the rest of the Philippines (I've been trying to figure out why for quite sometime), thus, needless to say, my restroom experiences here have been better than the average. The Laoag Public Market is a multi-storey deal that is probably one of, if not the cleanest large market in the country. It also houses a (yes, clean) and impressively ornamented public restroom.

Public slippers? No thank you, for me.

As you enter, you spy public slippers so that you don't bring your dirty shoes in, and a plastic flower vine scratches against your head. You wait in line and check yourself out in the mirror, which is accented by several arrangement of orange flowers, likewise faux. There is a small shelf that bears even more petroleum-based plant replicas. Your reflection tells you that behind you is a humorous stock photo of a baby, hanging on the cubicle wall, alongside some small red curtains.

A kilt and cleaning materials beside The Baby.

So you do your thing, thinking about the effort put into maintaining this holy room.

Curtains and an announcement about the Male C.R. (comfort room).

The walls are bright blue, and as you make your way out, your head finally explodes as you see the tip jar (an old powdered milk can wrapped in "Happy New Year" gift paper) resting on a handmade yellow-and-pink doily.

Tip can.

09 February 2010


Hello everyone. The silence is deafening, as one reader emails. But hey, I have some things I need to attend to. We will be opening a small shop, Ritual, at The Collective, Makati. It will be a food and interesting-thing store. I am excited. Be posting again when things are less busy.


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