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,…

Korean BBQ Night

10 Years, 1600 Miles

One lazy day in college, I was chillin’ at the Film lobby with batchmates when the College Secretary approached us. “I’m looking for volunteers,” she said. Apparently, exchange students from Korea had arrived way earlier than expected and so she could use some help. Bored af, I was first to raise a hand. Out of…

Australia Campfire

Safe Zone

“How do we keep the snakes away?” one of us finally speaks up after Nick, our tour guide, told us we would be sleeping on the ground. Good question. It is the first night of our camping tour across the middle of nowhere (aka the Australian Outback), and we are all surprised to find there…


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.