Bobby's Feed
Jan 13, 2014
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Keeping the faith

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Manila, Philippines

By Bobby Ranoco

Covering the grand procession of the Jesus of the Black Nazarene is not easy, even though I do it annually. Every year on January 9, millions of devotees crowd the streets as a life-sized, dark, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ carrying the cross is brought through Manila’s old city.

I began to prepare days before the procession and sought permission to get a vantage point on the rooftop of the Quirino Grandstand at Luneta Park, where the procession begins, and on top of other buildings surrounding the route, to produce photographs from a bird’s eye view. It was my first time photographing from the rooftop of the Quirino Grandstand. I had to do my research on how my photographs would turn out at such an angle.

Dec 13, 2013
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Challenging gender roles in the Philippines

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Manila, Philippines

By Bobby Ranoco

The Philippines economy has surged with 7%+ growth for five straight quarters but for some, jobs remain hard to come by. The answer for some people has been to look for work in an area traditionally filled by someone of the opposite gender.

I contacted the state-run Technical Educational Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) which offers training courses for ‘unisex jobs’. I met three women undertaking training courses in the traditionally male jobs of automotive repair, welding and electrician.

Nov 9, 2013

‘Massive destruction’ as typhoon flattens Philippine city, kills at least 100

TACLOBAN, Philippines (Reuters) – One of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall churned through the Philippine archipelago in a straight line from east to west and devastated central provinces, killing at least 100 people in a surge of flood water, officials said on Saturday.

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan is expected to rise sharply as rescue workers reach areas cut off by the fast-moving storm, whose circumference eclipsed the whole country and which late on Saturday was heading for Vietnam.

Nov 9, 2013

Super typhoon flattens Philippine city, killing at least 100

TACLOBAN, Philippines (Reuters) – Possibly the strongest typhoon ever to hit land devastated the central Philippine city of Tacloban, killing at least 100 people, turning houses into rubble and leveling the airport in a surge of flood water and high wind, officials said on Saturday.

The toll of death and damage from Typhoon Haiyan on Friday is expected to rise sharply as rescue workers and soldiers reach areas cut off by the massive, fast-moving storm, now barreling out of the Philippines towards Vietnam.

Apr 4, 2013
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Meet pistol-packing Judge Jimmy

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Manila, Philippines

By Romeo Ranoco

Traditionally, Filipinos are gun lovers, particularly in the southern Philippines, where almost every household keeps a rifle or a pistol at home. I know someone who said “I can let go of my wife, but I can’t live without my Armalite”. Thus, I got excited when I was asked to do a gun culture picture story, focusing on a pistol-packing judge who helps train fellow magistrates and lawyers at a target range.

FULL FOCUS GALLERY: ARMED JUSTICE

When one talks about a pistol-packing judge, one person immediately comes to my mind, a legendary former police officer who traded his blue uniform for a black robe. Jaime “Jimmy” Santiago is a celebrity in his own right. The presiding judge of branch 3 of Manila’s Regional Trial Court, Jimmy was a police officer a quarter of a century ago. He rose to celebrity status when as a commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit in the Philippine capital city Manila, he rescued several victims and “neutralized” a total of six gunmen in several separate hostage-taking incidents. His exploits were eventually made into a full-length movie, entitled “SPO4 Santiago, Sharpshooter”.

Feb 18, 2013
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Front line female Marines

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Ternate, Philippines

By Romeo Ranoco

Long before U.S. President Barack Obama allowed female soldiers to be deployed for combat duties, the Philippines has been doing exactly that for several years, in particular among those in the Marines.

I was excited to photograph some of the women during a military exercise at a Marine base south of the capital Manila. This was not the first time that I had taken pictures of female soldiers during training exercises, but I volunteered again because this time I would be documenting new recruits.

Mar 7, 2012
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Going hungry

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By Bobby Ranoco

When I saw a headline in a local paper that the number of Filipino families experiencing hunger had risen from 4.3 million to 4.5 million, I called my sources in the slum district of Baseco community in Tondo, Manila.

I was told there would be a feeding program for children sponsored by South Korean missionaries later in the afternoon. When I arrived, I was surprised to see hundreds of children gathered outside the missionary house waiting for a free meal.

Jun 27, 2011
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Mud-covered devotion despite downpours

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As Tropical Storm Meari dumped heavy rains on the Philippine capital Manila, causing the cancellation of domestic flights and residents to flee their houses near rivers and low-lying areas, I traveled in the wee hours of June 24 hoping that the rains would not spoil this year’s “Taong Putik” (Mud People) Festival.

The trip to Aliaga town in Nueva Ecija province, north of Manila took an hour longer than usual due to rising flood waters in Manila and surrounding areas. I arrived in the barangay of Bibiclat before 5am, allowing me enough time to talk to residents and ask for directions to where devotees, called “Taong Putik” or literally Mud People, start their preparations as part of a yearly festival honoring the village’s patron saint, John the Baptist. In other parts of the largely Roman Catholic Philippines, people use St. John the Baptist’s feast day to engage in revelry that includes dousing water on unknowing passersby.

Oct 25, 2010
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Lessons learned after super typhoon Megi

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I didn’t really know what to expect on the eight-hour drive up to Isabela province in the northeast of Luzon island after it was hit by Megi, a super typhoon with winds in excess of 250 kph (155 mph).

I knew it was a strong typhoon – the strongest in the world this year – but even so, standing in Cauyan town, I was shocked. The scale of devastation was enormous and it’s obvious why a state of calamity has been declared.

Aug 23, 2010

Manila bus gunman killed, some hostages alive – TV

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine police stormed a bus on Monday on which a sacked former police officer was holding 15 Hong Kong tourists and local media reported the hostage-taker had been killed.

Police could be seen removing a body from the front of the bus before entering the vehicle. At least four hostages left the bus alive, but TV images also showed more bodies being removed.