12 Hours In Cebu

man selling food, market in cebu

This was a layover. I was on my way to Dumaguete (where I’ll be based for the next 6-8 months).

When I travel, I don’t make a beeline for old buildings because I care very little for views and interiors. I’m more interested in the human element; I want to document the lives of the characters who populate these places.

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beggars in Cebu, sto. nino church in cebu

beggars in Cebu, sto. nino church in cebu

Photographed in Cebu City, Philippines. Photography by Teegee Villanueva. May 29, 2016

“Clothes as text, clothes as narration, clothes as a story. Clothes as the story of our lives. And if you were to gather all the clothes you have ever owned in all your life, each baby shoe and winter coat and wedding dress, you would have your autobiography.”–Linda Grant

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sto. nino church in cebu

sto nino church in cebu

Balloon Vendors 1&2. Photographed at Cebu City, Philippines. Photography by Teegee Villanueva. May 29, 2016

“She was tough in the best sense of the word. She’d taken blows, the disappointments, and had worked her way through them. Some people, he knew, would have buckled under, found a clutch, or given up. But she had carved a place for herself and made it work.”–Nora Roberts

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Finding Nemo

fish, fishes in an aquarium, manila ocean park, pictures of fishes

fish, fishes in an aquarium, manila ocean park, pictures of fishes

“I’ve crossed some kind of invisible line. I feel as if I’ve come to a place I never thought I’d have to come to. And I don’t know how I got here. It’s a strange place. It’s a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation.”
― Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From: New and Selected Stories

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The Queens of Quiapo

picture of a woman, quiapo, quiapo church, quiapo manila

“Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
–Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman

Continue reading “The Queens of Quiapo”


quiapo, quiapo church, beggars in quiapo church

“Lorenzo”, Quiapo, Manila. May 20, 2016. Photography by Teegee Villanueva

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” -Jim Morrison

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Give Me Shelter

poor man, homeless man, homeless people, depression, sadness

“Give Me Shelter”. Carriedo, Manila. May 18, 2016. Photography by Teegee Villanueva

I was overcome with a deep and profound sadness this afternoon. I felt dead; I came undone and it obviously affected my output. I was editing images when the thoughts came on, and I was ruminating non-stop. I went silent for two hours. I ignored everyone who tried to speak to me. And after an hour or two, I felt better; relieved, at the moment, from the demons who perpetually torment me.

I tell you this with absolutely certainty: this illness will kill me one day. I don’t know when…maybe tomorrow, maybe in the next two years. Who can say.

On the photo: while walking around Binondo, I ran into a man washing his clothes (and himself) at the Carriedo fountain. It was dirty and the water was polluted. He noticed me, and when he did he carried on as if I weren’t even there. It was a sad sight and I thought it was reflective of the Filipino experience–at least for those living in the margins. It’s not an easy life for most Filipinos; most people live on subsistence wages or very low salaries here, and life becomes a burden…when it shouldn’t even be.


Love on the Brain

love, couple, pictures of couples, Binondo, Binondo Manila,

“Do You Love Me?” Ongpin St. Binondo, Manila. May 18, 2016. Photography by Teegee Villanueva

For the uninitiated, unrequited love can be painful. It’s a feeling I know well. Rejection isn’t alien to me; it’s followed me all my life. To be rejected by suitors happens so frequently, I just shr*g the feeling off…this is how I respond to all things romantic now.

I took this photo of a couple by chance in the middle of Ongpin Street in Binondo. I wasn’t privy to what they were discussing (obviously, I was so far away to hear anything substantial hehe) but by their body language I could tell something was up. I hope it all went well. Whatever it was.

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Give Me Happiness

happiness, binondo, binondo manila


“Give Me Happiness”. Escolta Street, Manila. May 18, 2016. Photography by Teegee Villanueva

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”

–Anthony De Mello

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