Back from the Philippines — Here are Some Pics as Part of Manila Prepared for Typhoon Hagupit

2014 12 10 hagupit tracker

I’m back in Singapore after my trip to the Philippines.

Thankfully, typhoon Hagupit turned out to be less severe than many feared:

The people of southern Luzon expressed relief Sunday night as Typhoon Hagupit, which they had feared might be a repeat of last year’s deadly supertyphoon, largely spared their region.

Just two days earlier, forecasters had warned of a crippling direct hit on the populous region.

“We’re happy, because we were afraid it would be like Yolanda,” said Jennifer Amonuevo, one of 650 people in Legazpi Port Elementary School in Legazpi City. “Yolanda” is how locals refer to last year’s Supertyphoon Haiyan.

2014 12 10 baseco

Meanwhile farther to the north of the country, I spent much of Sunday, before the storm arrived, at an evacuation center in the Baseco compound of Manila’s port area.

It’s a fascinating place: full of narrow roads, tiny homes, various shops. And it’s buzzing with activity: food vendors, children running about, pickup basketball games, people coming and going to work.

Due to its location next to Manila Bay — it’s the triangle highlighted in the second map above — it’s vulnerable to storms.

Thankfully, though, the typhoon didn’t make its way north and pummel Manila, as some thought it might.

Here are some iPhone pics from the day — many of which I Tweeted and posted to Instagram — as some in the community took shelter in a large building that is also used as an elementary school.

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The evacuation center

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Smiles all around

No shortage of laughs among kids at the Baseco evac center here in Manila. #RubyPH #Hagupit

A video posted by Newley Purnell (@newley) on

And more smiles

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Inside the shelter

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Getting settled

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Playing ball

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View from the evacuation center looking out toward the water

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Preparing for the worst

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My ride out of Baseco

Had never ridden in a sidecar-like contraption like this before. #Manila

A video posted by Newley Purnell (@newley) on

Video from inside

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And, finally, rains hitting Manila on Monday. (I took this pic from a standard taxi, not a sidecar!)

The storm ultimately killed 11 and injured 480, according to local media.

Any loss of life is sad, of course. But compared to the 6,300 or so who perished during Typhoon Haiyan just over a year ago, Hagupit was obviously far less destructive.


HSBC New Yorker Ad Features Mall in the Philippines

2013 02 06 philippines new yorker

File under: Another photo to share.

I spotted this HSBC advertisement in a recent issue of The New Yorker.

As you can see, the top line says, “A mall in the Philippines can change the way you look at your financial future.”

The ad goes on to say that “A wealthier middle class in Southeast Asia is buying American,” purchasing “clothing, electronics, and other categories led by Western brands.” Developed markets, like the U.S., are turning from “consumer to producer.”

Then there’s a call to action for the reader to speak with an HSBC Premier adviser about taking advantage of such opportunities “before they emerge.” (The photo above is also featured on the home page of the HSBC U.S. site.)

The message to the consumer seems to be: We can help high net worth investors in the U.S. and elsewhere make money as middle class consumers in Southeast Asia get richer and increasingly buy Western products.

I haven’t researched this specific consumer trend, but I find the concept — as well as the overall ad and its placement — interesting.

And there’s historical element worth noting.

This is a high-end service offered by a bank founded by a Scottish man in Hong Kong in 1865, the year the U.S. Civil War ended.

Back then, in the 19th century, the U.S. was an emerging market, selling goods to developed economies in Europe.

Food for thought. A lot can change in 147 years.