Written by Chris Kirschnick
My name is Chris Kirschnick, 50% Filipino and 50% German, born and raised in Germany. I am the creator of “I’m in Manila” a photographic documentary of the Philippines which shows how I view the life and culture in the Philippines through my lenses and my personal experiences. Being raised in Germany, I’ve never had enough time to really appreciate the beauty of the Philippines—and not just about the breath-taking beaches and the scenic views that the Philippines takes pride in, but all its components from the busy business districts, the culture in the streets, to the life in the slums. This project is the spawn of that—my deep desire for the discovery and exploration of the deepest parts of the Philippines, especially the areas in and around Manila.
Couple at work
However, this project does not only aim to serve my own personal pursuits. One of my intentions for this project is to show both the foreign people and the locals a side of the Philippines which we oftentimes choose to overlook for different reasons.
My first photos for this project started from my three-month stay in Manila in year 2015. During this stay, I was able to personally know people including the locals who find Manila chaotic, dirty, and dangerous; and the foreigners who prefer not to stay too long in the capital and fly directly to the most common tourist spots such as Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, and Palawan to enjoy the dreamy sceneries. Indeed, Philippines has a whole lot to offer with its tourist attractions that Filipinos should really be proud of. But for me, all these touristic places are just one of the aspects that make up the Philippines’ beauty.
Rail trolley ride
In Manila, I found an unconventional type of beauty and a whole lot of excitement: the people, the infrastructures, and even the unbelievably heavy flow of traffic! It is fascinating to see how all these elements marry into one picture and produce the beautifully topsy-turvy Manila.
Touring around through hundreds of kilometers by feet, guided with the city map does have its ups (not only because you don’t get stuck in the crazy traffic but also) because you tend to really absorb the surrounding and get to interact with people first-hand. On some of my tours, locals guided me around and showed a whole deal of hospitality. Some invited me to join their company to have a bottle or two of Red Horse, some invited to join them in their dinner table and have a taste of the Philippine-famous Chicken Adobo, and some even asked me to sing karaoke with them! It has been really great experiencing the smiling faces and the welcoming homes of the Filipinos. With these kinds of experiences, it seems walking through Pasay to Marikina to Mandaluyong to Pasig to Quezon City doesn’t really seem that tiring at all.
Through the “I’m in Manila” project, I hope that people see that beauty that lies in the chaotic world of Manila and appreciate it more and more. This photographic documentary will not be exclusive to Manila; I hope this project evolves into something that would acknowledge the diverse culture that the Philippines have. This is a live project that intends to go on for a period of one year beginning November of 2016.
If you have some insider-tips about places or interesting stuff to see in the Philippines, feel free to write me a message. I am grateful for all kinds of support.
The rest of Chris’ documentary of Manila:
Landing over the city
It’s more fun in the Philippines
Black Friday demo
Visit Chris Kirschnick’s official website at www.im-in-manila.jimdo.com
For daily updates, visit Chris’ Facebook site at www.facebook.com/iminManila
Chris Kirschnick’s photography portfolio at www.kirschnick-fotografie.jimdo.com/portfolio