Random Thoughts and Photos

Part One – Manila Taxi Drivers Suck

Saturday night I wanted to go out and find some bands to shoot with my new camera. I was talking to an American friend and he said he’d come with if we went to the Hard Rock. Since drinking would be involved, we both left our cars at home and took a Grab over to Makati.

We got to the Hard Rock waaaayyyyy too early. It was 7:30, there was practically no one else there, they told us the bands don’t start till after 9:30. We sat in the bar and had dinner and then it was 8:00 and still time to kill so we went for a walk – Cafe Havana where we had some drinks and admired the view, then Spicy Fingers, and then back to Hard Rock. It was boring cover band night, I kept hoping for something better, but by the time the band on stage decided to torture us with Toto, I said it was time to leave.

I suggested Handle Bar, which is a good place to hang out and sometimes has some bands. We exited the Glorietta Mall, it was late and there was a line of taxis there. We got in the first taxi. Here’s the conversation:

Me – You know Handle Bar, Polaris Street?

Driver – Is that a nice bar?

Me – I hope so.

Driver – What about a strip bar?

Me – No, we don’t want a strip bar, we want to go to Handle Bar.

Driver – But a strip bar is so nice, so many beautiful ladies.

Me – Not interested. Stop it. Take us to Handle Bar.

Driver – Okay, 200 pesos.

Me – Use the meter.

Driver – 150 pesos.

Me – Never mind.

I open the door and start getting out and the driver says ok, ok and flips on the meter for what was (roughly) a 54 peso ride. I mean, who wants this kind of grief? And it’s like that every fucking time you get in a taxi here. Yeah, I know, there were all these big announcements a month or two back about how taxi drivers had to be honest and there would be more enforcement. I haven’t seen evidence that it’s working.

No band playing at Handle Bar, we drank for awhile, moved over to H&J’s to drink some more, got an Uber home.

Here’s the most exciting shot I got from Saturday night:

Yeah, I know. But this Saturday my buddies Tribo Subculture have a gig at B-sides so I’m hoping to tag along and get some decent shots.

Part Two – Walking in the Fort

Tuesday I had the day off and was meeting a friend for lunch at Passion. On the drive there, stopped at a long light, I grabbed this shot, which I call Pasig Paradise (thinking of Coolio’s old song).

One of the things that impresses me about the Fujifilm X-T2 is the amount of detail it captures – keeping in mind it’s a smaller sensor and fewer megapixels than my old Nikon D800. Here’s a crop of that guy sitting there letting the day go by.

Yeah, it’s noisy, but a lot of the detail remains. (And note this shot was taken with the “cheap” XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens.) I’m happy.

Arriving at the Fort, I got a text from my friend that he was running late. I figured rather than run in for a cup of coffee right away, I’d walk around a bit since it was such a beautiful day.

And then a nice lunch with a friend at Passion.

Part Three – It’s a Really Small World After All

So I’m at Passion, my friend takes off, I’m in no rush to go anywhere. I’ve finished my coffee, I have a glass of mango juice with ice, I’m comfortable.

A family comes in – Caucasian man, Filipina woman, their young son. They take the table next to mine. And a few minutes later the guy starts talking to me.

Him – I know you.

Me – Yeah?

Him – Yeah, you’re from Hong Kong, right?

Me – Yeah.

Him – You used to hang out at [name of HK bar that’s now closed]?

Me – Yeah. (I’m great at conversation, ain’t I?)

Him – And you used to date [woman’s name] from [country]?

Me – Yeah!?!?!?!?!

Him – Me too!

It was someone we’d both dated around 10 years ago, and we swapped some stories about that and about other mutual friends it turns out we had.

Can you get any more “it’s a small world” than that? I seriously doubt it.