Travels with Miguel

Miguel Kaminki is a second-year nonfiction student. He enjoys cats and film. He recently had this to say about his MFA-funded summer:
I had trouble finding reliable photographic evidence of my summer, most of which was spent in the Philippines. I therefore offer the most polite photo from my travels. This portrait, taken outside the University of the Philippines Film Center, was shot with a small, barely functional digital camera, hence the overexposure of the photo, particularly the subject’s arms, denim, and a white box (which, I believe, contained leftover sans rival cake and beef salpicao from a restaurant called Chocolate Kiss). Dated June 22, 3:50PM, the portrait immortalizes the five minutes before me and my companion entered the University of the Philippines Film Institute to attend a screening of Lav Diaz’s Siglo ng Pagluluwal. As you can see, the UP Film Institute portends in the background like the site of a disreputable Tagalog exorcism: wild foliage, decorative handicap ramp, denuded college bulletin board, and a child’s powder blue bike—possibly abandoned.
I won’t bother with a pretentious synopsis, but what you need to know about this film is that its running time is six hours; it’s got Joel Torre; it draws parallels between religious fanaticism and uncompromising artistic vision; only ten other people showed up to watch; and it’s an incredible movie. Undoubtedly the best Filipino movie I’d seen that summer (I’d watched at least fifteen, from Kamera Obskura to Every Breath You Take).

Also, at one point I resolved to take long walks around Manila and photograph every cat I came across. Manila with its slack attitude towards ferals and strays is, above all Southeast Asian cities, a city of cats. The photo below is probably the best of the bunch, though I don’t remember taking it.

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