Aging

















My father wanted to visit the Manila he grew up in: the old Manila, still hung from American GIs and films, one-peso hamburger-and-coke meals. In High School he studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and walks across Jones Bridge to nearby Escolta, Binondo and Quiapo are usual.

Some four years ago, when I was still wide-eyed and passionate about photography, he proposed to tour me around Quiapo. It's a wonderful place to take pictures, he said. I shrugged, knowing back then that this was one of his plans which would never take off. 

It pushed through last Saturday. We agreed to meet in Ongpin. Alighting at LRT Carriedo, my wife and I chose to go there in a caleza (Php 100/person), taking pictures. This was the Saturday after the Chinese New Year, and to our surprise the crowds have thinned, but the long lines at Eng Bee Tin and other hallmarks of Manila's Chinatown haven't.

After a long wait at Sincerity in Yuchengco St. we had lunch: warm soup, fried chicken, beef with ampalaya, and their unforgettable quekiam. Their fried chicken, which made the restaurant famous, is crispy outside, sweet and juicy on the inside. 

The lunch was followed by a long walk back to Carriedo, my father taking detours to show us around, to tell stories about Escolta back in the 60s'. The place had been abandoned for a long time, and to his shame he wished the government had kept it just the way it was in the 60s', some sort of a heritage place or a museum where people could revisit such grand time, (The place was even mentioned in Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo: "Sa Escolta, magmadali!") way before Makati, which my Dad noted was nothing but waterlilies, or Taguig.

I took some pictures, and brought home two boxes of tikoy for the in-laws. My wife was scanning her pictures and decided to render all of it in black and white, making it all the more eerie and dilapidated. I followed suit, with the exception of the food pictures below.