What and where to photograph in Manila? (Philippines)
As a tourist here in the Philippines I had hoped to assign myself a project to photograph the best known tourist sites in Manila. So the research was begun and while nursing a cold I began to develop a list. The more I researched the more disturbing discoveries I made! For a country that struggles to promote tourism with 7,000 islands and some truly beautiful places Philippine elected officials and wealthy property holders (Catholic Church included) prohibit photography even in areas of significant National Historical and Heritage Interests in the Manila area!
Manila is usually the port of entry for many as they make their way to more exotic and less crowded tourist destinations in the Philippines. Yet Manila is full of historical sites that are photogenic and are truly important cultural repositories of Philippine history. I was unable to find anything at the Official Department of Tourism regarding photography. You should take the time to visit Malate. The following site may shed more light on these areas and is full of wonderful images and great writing.
The amount of information on Malete written by Elmer Nev Valenzuela is invaluable. His work is exceptional and well worth the time to visit his blog. You will have to make more than one trip to take in all the great images! I am at a loss how to move forward with my plans! With an even more short sighted perspective in my opinion there is: HOUSE BILL 4807: END OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE PHILIPPINES? Information on this can also be found at MALATE. Given the plethora of cell phone cameras, iPads, tablets, small pocket cameras, etc. this seems like a Bill destined for immediate conflict with the people it says it is supposed to protect. So why was it introduced? It is beyond me! In the US a photographer can take pictures from public property of all things visible, which includes people. A person in public does not have an “Expectation of Privacy”. But if the photographer is shooting from public property into someone’s living room the person being photographed has the “Right to the Expectation of Privacy” and the photographer is wrong. I am not an attorney and this is my simplistic understanding of US law. It seems that the Philippine House Bill 48O7 goes far beyond that! Ultimately, I am not going to give up to easily hoping the Department of Tourism and other Officials will realize these types of restrictions and unwelcome interaction between Tourists and Police or Security, who are just following orders and doing their jobs, is not good for tourism! An unexpected negative encounter could be an unpleasant experience for a tourist, which could result in lost tourism revenue and a bad reputation for the Philippines. One that is not deserved. The Philippine People are gracious and caring hosts! Let’s hope this gets sorted out for the benefit of tourism dollars into the Philippines!