Manila Bay, Philippines

Quick! Where is the Sinulog festival celebrated every third Sunday of January? Manila Bay, it’s not. The Sinulog festival is celebrated in Cebu City, but I just have to check if you’re familiar with Manila Bay.

I thought hard of describing Manila Bay, but I believe whatever I’ll write is less worthy that what the great son of Manila, Nick Joaquin, wrote in his book Manila, My Manila, describing how the first settlers, sailing in their boats called the barangay, came to discover the Manila Bay:

“Certain barangay expeditions sailing up from the south and cruising the western coast of Luzon came upon an opening in the shoreline. This entrance was partly blocked by an island that rose high like a rock. Rowing past this “door,” the migrants found themselves inside a big and beautiful bay, almost perfectly round and almost totally enclosed. Here the water was calm and the breeze was gentle, for this was haven shut off from the storminess of the China Sea outside. Down to the waters of the bay grew the forest primeval, so that everywhere you looked you say a world of blue and green.

With what awe must our forefathers have gazed on all that purity and silence and loveliness!

They had discovered Manila Bay.”

The primeval forest, the world of blue and green, is no longer there, replaced by buildings of various shapes and colors. However, I believe that this view of the sunset at Manila Bay remains the same even today.


I could very well post my own photo of the Manila Bay, but decided against it. Anybody could snap a photograph, but not everyone can be a great photographer. “Photography as a conceptual art may not be as simple as it sounds. The medium is expected to do what it does best: capture the hard realism of the material world. The talent to capture realism in its simplest geometric and conceptual form without technical or material tampering is a challenge and one that seems to come naturally to fine arts photographer Carlos Esguerra”. (statement of Tribeca gallerist Craig Scharlin, co-owner of TAMA Gallery on Harrison Street, New York, with his wife and partner, Lilia Villanueva).

This photograph, entitled “Manila Bay,” is posted here with the permission of Carlos Esguerra, a multi-awarded photographer. You can view other works of art at his website – www.carlosesguerra.com. Please keep in mind that all photos are subject to copyright protection, so contact Mr. Esguerra first before using any of his photos, including this beautiful shot to the right.

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