Let's say it straight away, the Philippines have been our best human experience so far. Filipinos are extremely friendly and charming people. Life is not easy here for most of the population but it doesn't prevent people to smile most of the time. Being easily identified as foreigners, we'd be greeted by many people in the streets. Always polite and welcoming, never invasive or with after-thoughts. I can't recall how many times I was wished Merry Christmas or Happy New Year while walking in the streets, it even got exhaustive after a few hours.
The Philippines are not a mass tourism destination yet. So we were glad to discover a lot of authentic places and see Filipinos evolve in their daily life. Obviously, this is a country of high contrasts : Manila vs small villages, poverty vs extremely wealthiness, and tradition vs Westernization. We only visited the Northern part of the country, leaving aside the wonderful beaches of the Southern Island. Another time I hope.
As for street photography, let's say that my candid rate was probably the lowest of the trip so far. Impossible not to get spotted. At the same time, a vast majority of Filipinos like to be portrayed, even asking spontaneously to be pictured at times. I have not had a single bad look or rejection word which is definitely a change compared to some of the other countries visited. In the end, not getting many candids was ok, because depicting Filipinos can only be done with their full smiles (see series below)
Finally, a huge thanks to street photographer Enrico Gutierrez and his wife Sheila. Not only they made us discover parts of Manila, but also invited us to their house to celebrate the New Year. And believe me, they definitely celebrate big time in this country !
Good-bye Philippines, what a wonderful stay. (click on pictures for high res)
All pictures taken with Leica M8 and 35mm Lux Asph.