Panagbenga Festival

After six hours on a bus from Sagada to Baguio, up and down mountains and valleys and through beautiful scenery, I was happy to see a parking lot literally full of waiting taxis with more lined up on the street.   I just needed to get to my AirBnB and rest for the night.

Strangely, all of the taxis were empty.  I finally found a driver and asked him for a ride.  “No,” he said.  “What are all these taxis here for?” I asked.  “Coffee break.”  It was rush hour on a Friday night in the rain.  This was my introduction to Baguio.  It took about a half hour, but with the help of a kid who must make a job of this, I did find a taxi.

I would have transportation issues all weekend, partly because I was staying on the outskirts of the city, but mostly because of Panagbenga, the annual flower festival that draws tourists from all over the Philippines and beyond to this city in the mountains.  The festival lasts a month, but the highlight was the weekend I was in town.  It was just coincidence that I was here on the busiest weekend of the year, but I’m glad I was able to see the sights.

On Saturday, I spent hours watching the school marching bands perform in a parade and at a competition at the stadium grounds.  It was impossible to get close enough to get a good view of the show, so I stood where the bands entered and exited the field.

There were dozens of elementary and high schools represented, all dressed in elaborate traditional clothing with homemade props.  Every detail was accounted for, including make-up, body paint and headdresses. They played their instruments, danced, chanted and cheered as they performed for the thousands upon thousands of spectators.

I wish I could have captured the energy and spirit of the day.  I watched and took pictures, impressed by the months of preparation it must have taken each group to prepare for this moment, impressed by these students’ obvious pride in their heritage.  It reminded me very much of Carnaval in Brazil.

My pictures don’t begin to capture the beauty and spirit of the weekend, but that never stopped me from sharing them anyway!

Comments (17):

  1. Lori Liguori

    February 27, 2017 at 05:56

    What a nice post to wake up to this morning!!! Beautiful pictures, Tim!

  2. Anne cylkowski

    February 27, 2017 at 06:48

    Tim your pictures did catch the spirit just beautiful!

  3. LInda A Wight

    February 27, 2017 at 07:42

    What a way to arrive! The costumes and smiles on their faces shows it all!

  4. Cindy Cassidy

    February 27, 2017 at 18:06

    Their costumes were gorgeous!!

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:31

      They must have spent a lot of time preparing them.

  5. Deidre

    February 27, 2017 at 20:42

    The colors in these photos are breathtaking! I tried to comment on your last post, but it wouldn’t let me.
    At any rate, I am in awe of all you are doing. Stay safe my friend! God bless you each and every day.
    You are amazing.

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:36

      I’m inspired by your encouragement!

  6. Rosie

    February 27, 2017 at 22:21

    The excitement on the faces and colors worn, tell a story of pride and awareness of this important event. What a learning experience. Glad though it is not always smooth sailing, you capture the beauty of the place you are. The photos speak for themselves.

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:41

      Thanks, Rosie. I’m glad you’re enjoying the photos. I have a hard time choosing which ones to put on the blog because there are so many.

  7. Connie Gardner Rosenthal

    February 28, 2017 at 09:24

    I am loving following your travels and adventures in the Philippines. Great photos and descriptions.

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:42

      Thanks, Connie! So glad you’re reading and following along. Hopefully I can apply some of what I learned in the workshop to my photography.

  8. Vicky Ann Deledda

    March 2, 2017 at 08:31

    Whoa, thought Vietnam and Cambodia had color! Loved the photos where the subjects looked directly at you or pointed!
    And we think the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Mystic is cool!
    Prayers for my friend and safe travels, especially on buses!
    Can’t believe the taxi driver said , “No!”. Where’s Ra?

    • Tim Flanagan

      March 6, 2017 at 21:45

      I’m searching for the next Ra or Chan or Pearum.

  9. Vicky Ann Deledda

    March 9, 2017 at 23:59

    Won’t be the same for

  10. Diane Weisman

    April 2, 2017 at 09:23

    I’m so far behind in your posts. Wow, great photos.

    • Tim Flanagan

      April 2, 2017 at 22:18

      Thank you, Diane! Take your time . . . the posts are there forever!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *