Colonial chess

Colonial chess

It’s curious how chess pieces are represented based on culture or tradition. In Baguio, I’ve seen chess pieces are in the shape of Igorot tribe warriors. I did a Google image search and found chess sets inspired by the American Civil War, the Scottish Wars, The Lord of the Rings (the kings are Gandalf and Sauron), African Massai warriors, the Super Bowl, ammunition (yes, bullets!) And, of course, in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, there’s wizard’s chess where the pieces move and demolish one another as the game is played.

In the chess set in the photo above, the King, Queen and Bishops look like they are from the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. Instead of horses, there are carabaos (water buffalo). And, in place of the Rooks, traditionally represented by castle towers of Medieval Europe, there are nipa huts.

Interesting, this universality of chess. The rules of the game stay the same but the pieces can look so different from one set to the next.

Crocodile sungka boards


I don't play sungka. I never learned although it has always intrigued me as a child. When I got older, my interest was more on the solid wood board than the game itself. I so love solid wood objects. When I saw this crocodile sungka boards at Tiendesitas, I was drawn to them. But since neither I nor my daughters play the … »

Gat Paguil and Prince Carlos at the Pangil town plaza


Most have heard of Pakil but not Pangil. In fact, when I told Speedy that we could go to Pangil to photograph Lenten penitents, he did a double-take and asked, "Pakil?" as though, perhaps, I had mispronounced the name of the town. Pangil and Pakil are two distinct towns in Laguna. If you take the Manila East Road, Pangil is … »

Cool rider with wings on his wheels. Literally.


Speedy ran some errands this morning and saw this biker with the most interesting motorcycle. The mud guards, for the rider and not for the wheels, are shaped like an eagle's wings. Why stop at wings? Put in the bird's head too. Cool.The photos were taken along Marcos Highway in Antipolo. … »

Well, they sure looked like potholders — with paws and claws


Think of it this way. Take a potted plant. Say, a pot of sweet basil with flowers blooming on the tips. Show it to a botanist and he will see a specimen. Show to a decorator and he might see something that can adorn a window or a corner of the patio. Show it to a cook and he'll see aromatic herbs that belong in a pot or a … »

Filipino shopping habits and the “tingi” culture


In Philippine markets, it is possible to buy cooking oil by the cup. In Philippine neighborhood sari-sari (literally, variety) stores, it is possible to buy cigarettes by the stick, shampoo and coffee by the sachet, garlic in packs containing as few as four cloves or peppercorns in packs equal to about a teaspoonful. We … »

The honeybee wind vane in a honeybee farm


In photography, a moving object is best captured by actually showing motion. This honeybee wind vane at Ilog Maria honeybee farm, for instance. I had to wait until there was sufficient wind to make sure that the honeybee's wings were rotating fast. A really strong gust lasting at least half a minute would have yielded … »