Chicken men of the South

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I finally found my way to Alabama, Mississipi and Texas. After all these years of talking to chicken men, I go to the heart of America to find more answers… and was not disappointed at all.  The southern hospitality was strangely familiar. It is striking how similar Filipinos are to the southerners– religous, family-oriented, and very hospitable.

I can’t say much because I’ll have to let the documentary speak for itself. But the whole trip was well worth it.

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Some photos speak volumes. This is one of them. Probably the most important photo there will ever be in the American cockfighting story. And this is what I flew to Alabama and drove to Mississipi for–this photograph (taken at Johnny Jumper’s home).

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Yosemite: back to basics…

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When I was 10 years old, my dad took us to this magical place called Yosemite. It was for me one of the highlights of my childhood.  We slept in a tent made of canvass and I remember hearing then seeing a racoon outside our tent and for me, it was like seeing a Lion, an exotic wild animal not found in my country.

30 years later, I was 40 and my son Ethan was 10, I went back and life came full circle.  This was my 3rd visit and the place still works, like it was my first time.  Still the same awe. Still the same feeling of wonder and gratitude. The place always makes me feel thankful, humble and alive. It is my… happy place.

Ethan grew up being my most important subject in photography. It reached a point that he hated being shot and he wanted to also shoot. And he did. And he was good.  That’s him lying on the ground framing for the shot he has in his head.  And I never taught him that.

When I asked him what he wanted to be, many times he’d say he wanted to be a photographer.  Ofcourse he was a kid and I knew that that was just my influence, and although I think he’d make a good photographer, he’d also make a good doctor or filmmaker or yoga instructor or what-have-you, who knows and I support him in whatever he chooses, except drug dealing and being a politician.

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I promised him I’d give him his own camera when he turned 12. I did. And he’s been an on and off hobbyist and he’s got the chops, I have to say. I know I’m biased but for the record, he does. I’ll let him share his own photos at his own time. But here’s the proud father shooting his talented Ethan.

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