Requiem For An Online Store
I remember shooting the Holga for the very first time in Vigan. I was really amazed how medium format film worked and how they managed to turn into stunningly beautiful photographs with just a plastic lens. Lomo cameras were supposed to be cheap. It was a poor man’s camera until the online fad came along with the now barely breathing Multiply site. I remember Hidalgo stores selling a Holga FN for P1,800 but with the tendency of online stores to rip off “cheap cameras”, they priced it as high as P5,000 a pop.
Some really made a fortune of the film camera resurgence plus the Lomo fad coming into bourgeoisie consciousness. At that time, I was just starting with photography as a hobby. Until I accidentally discovered a sweet spot where people pawn their old stuff to get instant moolah. This was when I decided to open up the now forgotten Hidalgo Online. The very first camera I bought from them was an AE-1 Program. If you are going to buy the camera from Hidalgo, they usually charge you by as much as P6,000 for it. But with the site I opened, I sold it for more than half the price but still keeping a good deal of mark up. It became an instant hit, selling two to three cameras a week. Considering I spent most of my time in school, my cameras were everywhere. I delivered cameras to Bicol, to Cebu, to Davao and to different parts of Manila. It was my very first taste of “commercial success”, or how else you might want to call it.
I established friends over time within the pawn areas. I forged deals and good buys from the different pawn dealers within the area. As the site grew in popularity for around a year, getting my own juice on a regular basis, then Facebook came. That’s when I realized how the Video killed the Radio Star. But this time around, Facebook committed genocide over Multiply businesses and the sad part was Hidalgo Online was one of them. This is probably the requiem for the Hidalgo Online, which I never officially declared dead but was long gone. It’s always hard to say goodbyes but really we could learn a lot from the changing times and how fast internet propensities change over the past years.
We tried to order a bulk of old cameras from Japan just to get Hidalgo Online back on track. But with tax ruckus that everyone is afraid of, this idea didn’t remained just as an idea. We were supposed to be shipping EF mount lenses for cheaper prices but we were too afraid to be ripped of by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Though Hidalgo Online is active no more, I could really say to myself that I tried my best to keep the prices lower for everybody to have a chance to shoot some analog film cameras. For all those who supported the analog scene and to all those who are still continuing to shoot film and buying from the remaining survivors of Multiply to Facebook diaspora; I salute you!