The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, informally known as Manila Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic basilica located in Manila, Philippines, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. The cathedral serves as the see of the Archbishop of Manila, the de facto Primate of the Philippines. (Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila_Cathedral)
We really wanted to check out and revisit the place because of an event called Pasyal Intramuros. Upon anticipating the event, and the recent awesome sunset colors in Manila, I envisioned a shot of the Cathedral something like what Elia Locardi does with his sunset travel photos. Too bad I didn't make it to the place earlier enough to capture the flaming colors of the sky and clouds during that day. But what amazed us is that the Cathedral was lit up with lights just like what other famous churches do abroad.
I arrived late for about 20 to 30 minutes from the best possible light that would have given me the orange and pink hues. But the blue hour was still amazing. So I quickly setup my Benro Travel Angel tripod and Nikon D7000 with Tokina 11-16mm UWA lens and positioned somewhere in front of the church. After one test shot, then immediately came one security guard and asked me what I was doing and what/where will my photos be used (for). So I told him that I just like to take one good photo of the church and if he could grant me even just five minutes. He told me that I regularly, I needed a permit for that, but then he gave me 5 minutes. So, without further ado, I stood there and tried my best to compose for the shot and took two long exposures-- one for the overall mood of the scene, and another underexposed shot to preserve the highlight details of the church lights.
Despite spending several years in college and getting my basic photography course both from or near the area, and practically revisiting Intramuros at least once or twice a year, I still do not have a good photo of the Manila Cathedral. It had been under renovation for quite sometime during my first few years in photography, and because photography with tripods is really not allowed within Intramuros. Don't ask me why, but all I know is that the local Intramuros Administration requires photographers to pay at least PHP 2,000.00 for a permit to do a photo shoot within and around Intramuros.
This is why a great photo of the Manila Cathedral had been and is still elusive to me and probably to most photographers. Aside from the absurd regulation, there are only a few good angles to shoot the cathedral from the ground because of the trees and buildings around it, and most of all, the irritatingly bad looking power lines and posts along the streets. I don't know if there is any place in the area where I can shoot from a high vantage point, but I have seen some photos on the internet that have done it.
I feel sad for Manila not having beautiful photos of its iconic church. When one googles "manila" or "manila cathedral", you won't find awesome photos of the church or other buildings in Intramuros, unlike its foreign counterparts such as St. Peter's Basilica or the Coliseum in Rome; The Eiffel Tower or the Louvre in France; The Marina Bay Sands hotel and gardens in Singapore; the Big Ben, House of Parliament, and the London Eye; the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona; or even the St. Basil's Cathedral in Russia. Such a sad thing because beautiful travel photos can certainly attract more tourists and foreign photographers. I hope the Intramuros Administration, with the help of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and/or the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), would follow suit with what they did in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig. Because at the end of the day, more photos/photographers = more publicity, tourists, and customers for the commercial establishments in the area.
Anyways, I hope you like my photo below. Still visit Manila and Intramuros if you can. I still have a lot of revisiting, exploring, and shooting to do myself.
© 2015 Jigs Tenorio