Portraits and Facial Impressions – Set 2

Over the years I have accumulated photos of people who left lasting impressions in my mind.  Most of them are just ordinary individuals in various places I’ve visited whose actions or facial expressions represented certain peculiar characteristics which made their image in the photo more meaningful.  I’m sharing these photos in this series entitled “Portraits and Facial Impressions”. This is Set 2 of the series.

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A local boy requests spectators to throw a coin into the lake

“Coin Diver” / Philippines 2010 [Lake Sebu, Province of South Cotabato]: Of the many attractions Lake Sebu has to offer, a coin diver is the least one would expect to encounter.  The municipality is tucked in the mountainous portion of South Cotabato and is inhabited by indigenous people called T’boli who produce popular handicrafts, particularly the t’nalak.  The natural ambiance of the place features 3 lakes and 7 waterfalls surrounded by rainforests.  A newly-installed zipline offers an exciting ride above the waterfalls.  Several resorts and lodging houses provide comfortable accommodation.  Traditional fresh fish dishes, particularly of the tilapia, is also a local pride.  Coin divers were not traditionally featured in the lake but, on my recent visit, I found this enterprising boy (and his brothers) who challenged us to throw coins into the lake which they will catch / search for underwater.

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A retired Mongolian diplomat

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“Retired Diplomat” / Mongolia 2009 [Ulaanbaatar]: I captured this photo on my last visit to Mongolia in 2009.  It was a holiday in Ulaanbaatar and I was having lunch alone in my favorite restaurant when this respectable-looking gentleman emerged at the door.  He looked at all the tables first (most of them were empty) then, in broken English, requested if he could share my table to which I gladly agreed by offering a seat.  He became very excited when he found out that I am from the Philippines and can speak a little Spanish. Thanks to 12 units of Spanish in college; we were able to talk, albeit haltingly, about many things and I found out that he speaks Spanish because he used to be the Mongolian consul to Cuba during the Soviet era and he was a bit drunk that day because he just came from a ceremony honoring former Mongolian diplomats.

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A Mongolian herder lassos a chosen goat from his herd

“King of the Steppes” / Mongolia 2009 [Central Aimag] : Around 40% of Mongolians are livestock herders and still live a nomadic way of life in their constant search for grazing lands for their herd.  I was always intrigued by this lifestyle and, in my several visits to Mongolia, have collected many photos about the Mongolian herder.  On my last visit in 2009, a Mongolian friend brought me to a herder camp in the Central Aimag and I captured this exciting photo of a herder lassoing a goat from his herd for our dinner.

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A "bird snatcher" displays his catch

“Bird Snatchers” / Nauru 2008 [Central Pacific]: I discovered this unique pastime among Pacific Islanders on one of the lazy afternoons on my last visit to Nauru in 2008.  The islanders scatter fresh fish on the beach then release domesticated frigatebirds which then lure other birds to feed on the fish.  The frigate birds usually hover over the fish before snatching them from the sand.  Using a long twine with a lead-weighted tip, the islanders lasso the birds while hovering and thus, basically, are able to “snatch” the birds from mid-air once they get entwined by the lasso.  In this photo, an islander holds the newly-caught bird while the other man retrieves his lasso.