This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

I'm not really used to having myself get splashed all over a newspaper front page, but it's nice to get the chance to tell some stories I've never told :

MBulletin
 

You can read the entire web version in the Manila Bulletin online :)


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Can't get enough of monk portraits in Cambodia!

Monk_bay

Shot while watching over my posse at the recent PhotoTreks: Angkor.

 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma
#9: CLOSING THE GATES OF HELL

At midnight, right behind my apartment block, the Hell God and his followers were getting busy. It was the last night of the 7th lunar month, when spirits from hell were said to go back to their fiery home after roaming the earth for weeks. There were candles, incense, and huge piles of “hell money”. More importantly there was a tang ki – a spirit communicator whose job that night was to be possessed by the man himself. He (or the Hell God) smoke Marlboros and drank Cognac offered by devotees, and then he got to work, closing those less-than-pearly portals for yet another year.

nine

Nice photos, interesting event – here's a more detailed account.

That night I dreamed that the tang ki greeted me outside a taoist temple. As he led me inside, I noticed a Chinese-style gravestone on the wall. My name was written on it.

#8: INSIDE THE MADRASAH

Two similar schools, two vastly different teaching philosophies. While one stands firmly rooted in the present, the other lives in a world of its own. Save for its traditional uniforms, Singapore's Madrasah Wak Tanjong is no different from any other school. On weekdays here, students as young as ten fill their minds with Math, Science and Computing, along with Islamic subjects that are characteristic of the Madrasah curriculum. At Malaysia's Madrasah PKTM, on the other hand, pupils live in dormitories devoid of radios, TV's or mobile phones. The only instruction they get is from one teacher, their only reference is the koran.

eight

How will these kids face the outside world, you ask? It depends on the world they enter after they leave their school.

#7: ANGKOR ON TWO WHEELS

I've done Angkor many times before, but rarely during my five previous visits has that feeling of “been there, done that” ever accompanied me. On my sixth visit last November, the ancient city of the Khmers gave me yet another reason to return here – on a mountain bike. From the bustling town of Siem Reap, I cycled 17 kilometers through the Cambodian countryside.

seven

Without a roaring motorbike engine underneath, one feels connected to the land. My guide and I passed herds of schoolkids and water buffalos sauntering down dirt roads lined with villages, temples, paddies - even an archaeological dig – as we made our way to the little-known ruins of Prasat Prei Monti, to the east of Siem Reap. This was Angkor at its best; just the land and its people – and not a tourist in sight.


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma
A line of Apsara dancers perform for a local audience at a night market in Siem Reap:

Apsara 
BW

Back in '04 you had to pay for a dinner show to see this iconic Khmer performance. These days you can't help but bump into one. There are nightly shows at the Temple Bar, the Arts Market and at several night markets.


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma
A stonecarver chisels the image of a pair of Apsara dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia:

Apsara Carver


 


 
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