A Glimpse of Panagbenga

In line with my desire to begin travelling more and experience the beauty of the world as it is, I visited Baguio City together with my college peers last February 22nd-24th. Our main intention was to witness the Panagbenga Festival (Baguio’s Floral Festivity) and of course, pull ourselves out of the corporate scene even for just a couple of days. Chris and I went straight to Victory Liner Station in Pasay City right after work (Urgh, imagine us carrying our heavy luggage to office!) and met with the others around 9 o’clock in the evening. When our bus arrived, we occupied the last row and so all five of us were sitting beside each other (which I find really awesome!). We left the metro around 10 o’clock so everyone was preppin’ to get their sleep – Unfortunately, I was not able to get mine but that’s totally fine.

We arrived at Baguio City around 4:00 in the morning. Our bus stopped in the middle of the road after a car (a white Honda Jazz, if I remember correctly) bumped to our tail. Good thing we were already inside the city and lots of taxi’s were sprawling around, waiting for passengers like us off the bus. It only took about less than 20 mins to reach our rented Apartment in Kitma Village, (Good job Miguel for landing this simple yet comfy crib!) leaving us some time to get a rejuvenating nap.

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Our apartment is located at a very interesting spot, not to distant to the city proper. But the street going to the house is VERY steep, even the walkway to the apartment itself! We needed to catch our breath every time we climb up to the Village entrance. It is exhausting but FUN!

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We visited Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral (more popularly known as “Baguio Cathedral”) after a brief walk in Burnham Park. I wanted to do street photography but that was changed when a middle-aged man approached us offering an iPhone 4S and a pair of Rayban shades. I instantly knew those goodies came from “dirty” work and so we (Chris and I) skipped the idea of photographing the public. I cannot afford to lose my workhorse camera and lens just yet. Though I have a feeling that the man isn’t a Baguio native. I still adore the friendliness and hospitality of local Baguio people, they are simply warm-hearted people so to speak.

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We circled the city, shop for “pasalubong” and souvenirs on the stores. Though it showered a couple of times, that did not stop us from enjoying the view and climate in Baguio. I’m starting to miss the cold mornings there, but not the cold water coming out of the faucet! (Thank goodness, the heater somewhat neutralizes the temperature of the water in the shower). Our days were spent moving around Baguio, riding cabs (Mega Taxis as we put it in Metro terms) as we wait for the big day to come. Sadly, we do not have enough time to visit all the tourist spots – well, next time!

THE BIG DAY – Parade of Flowers

And so the big day came. We promised ourselves to wake-up early but we weren’t that “early” enough to catch a good spot. Natives and other tourists were already flocking the streets where the floats will pass by. I tried to squeeze-in between people to get a better view but I failed. But since I have this utter desire to get a clear view (by clear, I mean photos without heads), I went to a building and asked permission to the guard whose very kind enough to let me literally climb their building’s roof. I pinched myself on the grilled window at the third floor and climbed a ladder to reach the roof. The view is a lot better than what I have on the ground. I can see people from the start up to the end of the street. Unfortunately, being on an elevated space; trees, electrical posts, and wiring were blocking me to get a decent shot of the floats. I’ll upload the photos in bulk and place a link in here when I have time. Just to give you an idea:

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I should have coordinated with the authorities prior to the event to get permit to shoot. Oh well, I’ll do that next time! 🙂 Overall, my little escape to Baguio is worthwhile. It gave me the opportunity to catch-up with my college peers and experience traveling to the northern part of the country. I just can’t wait for my next travel yey!

For the benefit of the readers, these are the people I spent this short break with:

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[From Top: Leonald, Em, Siegrid, Myself, Miguel, and Christopher]

Until next post, cheers!

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