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!
I really can’t remember who shot what. I was with Ian aka Greg when we consumed a roll of film on a Holga. These are just random photos from sporadic clicks. We didn’t expect to see such beautiful accidents.
“And the road becomes my bride”
——Metallica (Wherever I may Roam)
Its nearing 13 years ago since I set foot in Baguio. I was only 7 the last time I came. Now, the long wait is over.
Well, the Baguio I saw is still the Baguio I had in my memory. Nice climate, beautiful parks, a very relaxing atmosphere… everything.
But the story began on our way back to Manila. May 8, 2pm, it was departure time from Baguio heading to Manila. We were running at a constant speed of not lower than the 60km/h, a relatively good drive—For the first three hours that is.
5pm, We reached Tarlac. It was the end of the glorious run. The car suddenly stopped. No signs of letting up showed all throughout the first hours but it somehow stopped all of a sudden and guess what? It doesn’t want to start again.
We asked the locals if there is anyway we could get a mechanic. The locals lead us to the house of Mang Julio, an old man who once was a mechanic. He admitted to us that he is no longer familiar with the newer car models since they no longer have the spark plugs he used to know. Mang Julio was kind enough to help us find another mechanic. He asked his grandson named Romnick to go fetch a mechanic to rescue us from the brink of being stuck in Tarlac. The mechanic came and said that he would need to call his electrician friend to determine the problem of the car.
My dad already had the idea that no electricity was running to the car. Though discarding the worst case off his mind, the electrician gave us the bad news. It was the fanning belt that was broken.
We had no choice but for the car to be towed. May it be a wrecker or another vehicle, we need to drag the car back home in Manila. The wrecker would cost at about 10 thousand pesos. That is a hell of a price. We have another choice though: To ask the good Samaritans to drag us to Manila (For a bit lesser price that is).
They agreed to take us to Manila. The plan: use a towing rod to keep us from hitting them from the back and drag the car via the provincial roads going to Mc Arthur Highway all the way to Manila. It was 8pm already when we sailed.
My and my brother stayed on the towing vehicle to lead the directions while our parents stayed in the car. Not far from where we stopped, two punk guys approached the towing vehicle. The one having spikes on his jacket on a summer night and the other one having a Ramones T-shirt. “Papunta kayong Laguna Sir?(Are you going to Laguna, Sir)”. The driver and his friend replied that we’re heading to Manila.. As a means of farewell, the punks thanked us and said: “Mabuhay ang mga Punks ng Tarlac (Long live the punks of Tarlac) “.
The driver and his friend were laughing from what they heard and said that there is nothing free in this world anymore so don’t expect to hitchhike anytime soon.
30 minutes elapsed from all the dragging. It seems that we will reach Manila in no time. Though running under 40kms/hr, at least we were moving. It was just that bad luck was really on our side that night. Next thing we know, the towing rod fell apart.
They had no choice but to find an open welding shop to have it fixed. We on the other hand had no choice but to wait and hope for the best. They returned with a “fixed” towing rod at around 9:30.
We installed it again.
From exit of Tarlac all the way to Angeles, Pampanga, it was no less than 8 times that we stopped and spent a 15 minute or so to fix the rod’s installation to the car.
Move under 40 km/hr-Fix the rod-get back in. That was the routine we did.
It was in San Fernando that all efforts of rescuing the rod is useless. Around 11pm-12 midnight, with no welding shops open to fix the rod, it was time to sink the facts and realities to our systems. We were stuck in Pampanga….
We decided to stay in Pampanga. We asked the “towing team” if its okay that we pay them half since we didn’t reach Manila. They were so kind to agree with our offer..
Thank God that we have relatives in Pampanga. We asked them if we could stay for the night. We decided to get the car fixed in Pampanga. It was a lot better than traveling all the way to Manila with a vehicle refusing to run.
At around 10:30 am of the next day, we’re back in the road to go to Manila, this time on a bus (while the car is getting fixed). At exactly 1pm, we finally reached home.. The end of the 23 hour unforgettable experience of going back to Manila.
This set of lomographs is way way overdue. Robi and I went to Ilocos last October during our semestral break to get a heavy dose of sanity break. From Vigan to Laoag to Pagudpod, Road Trip Baby!
This is also my first roll of 120 film in Holga.
I had the chance to see the beautiful culture of the north, and the place where Panday had his sword fighting antics!
Angels + Tattoos = Badass
Using an expired 120 Film, I captured a glimpse of the man called Chino Roces.
Though Mendiola is still quite far from the Palace itself. Concertina Wires will knock some sense out of your ass if you try to cross the line. Don’t prick with the wires or else it will prick you back. Ouch!