(Mis)adventures With Camera Phones

A quote I read on a photography blog states: “The best camera is the one you always have with you,”; for most people, that would be the camera in their phone. For the record, I don’t agree with the quote. There are some people who take incredible photos with their camera phones, and I’m envious because I’m not one of them; I don’t even know how to take a selfie. My SLRs have ruined me, I think.

My out-and-about camera, a Canon Powershot G12, is being repaired so I’m left with my iPhone, or in some cases, my Bin’s Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which is so huge that I have trouble just holding it.

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”Wait, Bin, how do I kill the flash on your phone?!”

Anyway, we’re checking out Tacos Chingones, a little food truck – or shall I call it a food cart? At dusk, this spot along Alger Street comes alive with people and assorted aromas. An offshoot of tequila bar, A Toda Madre, Tacos Chingones is right beside the now famous SOMS Thai restaurant.

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”Ack, I can see my shadow!”

The menu is as straight up as you can imagine, with only two items: the tacos (P50) and the gringas, (P100), which is similar to a quesadilla. Choose a meat filling, everything from the familiar carnitas (braised pork) to Mexican chorizo, and for the more courageous, the lengua, among others.

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”Damn, this phone’s so big I can’t shoot straight!”

Once we make our choices, a smidgen – yes, the amounts are paltry – are sliced and diced (literally), sautéed for a spell on the grill in front of us, and smeared onto the awaiting tortilla wrappers. Smeared with the salsa verde (green) and/or the salsa rojo (“Might be too hot for you, ma’am,”), it’s a light snack to line the stomach for the night of intoxication just ahead or as a night cap before turning in.

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”Sheesh, how do you zoom in on this phone? And there goes the focus!”
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”Well, the lighting’s a little better on these tacos. Gosh, are they really that small or is this phone just way too big for me?”


Tacos Chingones
Alger Street,Barangay Poblacion, Makati
Open daily, 5pm-1am


On another evening, my friend invites me over to the City of Dreams Manila. Three hotels across six towers span the 6.2-hectare, mixed-use complex. It’s massive, magical, and I’m mad that I don’t have a proper camera. With shaky hands and false bravado bolstered by sips of alcohol, I do my best to document my visit so that I can tell you about it.

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”Oh Lordy, these camera phones are messing with my horizons again!”

We’re at the Crystal Lounge at the Crown Towers. Just opened, this lounge is multi-faceted. Open as early as 6am, it offers a special all-day coffee and tea assortment to accompany some light snacks.

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”Gads, the pixelization here just kills me! I’ll just keep on shooting and hope that I get a clear shot somewhere.”

In the afternoon from 3-6pm, an Afternoon Tea is highlighted. Choose between the Western or Asian sets, or have both as my friends and I do, albeit at 8 in the evening (!). The first tier is dessert – bacause you know, dessert comes first – and the middle and last tiers are saved for savory. What I like: the raspberry cheesecake, Sacher torte, red bean macaron, calamansi-coconut cake, salted caramel truffle, and the white chocolate-green tea praline. I feel the savories can use some work – i.e., bread is tough, quiche lacks flavor, etc.

When the sun sets, the Crystal Lounge becomes a picture of ultimate sophistication. Plush interiors feature a mix of materials from faux croc to gleaming glass. The cocktails are cosmopolitan and mysterious utilizing select rums, whiskies, and exclusive French wines. Most drinks involve a level of engagement when presented at table. It goes without saying also, that the service is impeccable.

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L-R: Crystal Daiquiri, Paloma.


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”Gah, blur!”
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Smoky whiskey sour. ”Somewhat decent shot.”

At one point, I put down my phone and decide to quit stressing. Life should be experienced after all and not always through the lens of a camera, be it through a phone or point and shoot. So I focus on my friends and we laugh and drink the night away.

But once this post is done, I’m calling Canon and telling them to hurry up and fix my camera…

Crystal Lounge
Crown Towers, City of Dreams Manila
Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard,
Entertainment City, Parañaque
Open from 6am-1am.

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