Manila Minorities

House of Open Doors: The Manila You Don’t Know

MANILA, Philippines — Guidebooks paint two-dimensional portraits of Manila: Intramuros here, Chinatown there, traffic everywhere. Online accounts reveal all her glaring flaws: she’s noisy, highly disorganized, a little suffocating, and totally insane. Yoshke Dimen takes a leap of faith in this sorely misunderstood megacity in search of her good side and finds that only those…



ZHANGJIAJIE, China — He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously,…


Lost in the Middle of…

“Hey, take a picture of me here. I’m gonna pose like I’m lost.” “In the middle of the rocks?” “Yes.” “Lost in the middle of rocks?” “Your tone implies that it’s a ridiculous idea. People get lost in the middle of rocks all the time! Where are you from?” “Lost in the middle of r…”…


Twinkle in Her Eyes

BATANGAS, Philippines — Not too far from our house stands a small store, owned by a woman, a distant relative. I remember, on the way to school when I was a kid, she would always wave at me and try to convince me to buy something. She was always friendly and a bit talkative. She…

Yoshke with Dog

Winter Warmth

I’m usually scared of big dogs, so when this doggie here walked closer to me, I WAS TERRIFIED at first. I would move away, but he would follow. It wasn’t long until I realized what he was trying to do.

Yoshke Storm


“Do a superhero pose.” “Okay.” “WTF is that pose?” “Storm. Duh?” #AlamNa Photo taken in GOREME, Turkey.

Maxine Casaclang


TAGAYTAY, Philippines — When I woke up, I found her driving the car downhill. My friend Maxine and I came from another friend’s wedding, where I had too much to drink. On the way to the hotel, I passed out, leaving Max on her own, navigating around an unfamiliar territory at midnight. “Where are we…

Bonfire Closeup


BATANGAS, Philippines — When I was 11, I was playing with candles alone on the porch of our home. At one point, I went to get a drink, leaving a lit candle on the window sill just above a bamboo bench. When I came back, THE BENCH WAS ON FIRE. I was able to extinguish…