After having a much deserved rest from yesterday’s street dance parade (here!), we decided to go earlier than our previous attempt. It was still dark outside and by the time we arrived before 6 am, it was packed everywhere! True to the hearsay, some people indeed slept on the streets to save the prime spots! 🙂
We’ve scouted everywhere. The best option available when we got there was across the intersection, adjacent to our place from the day before. It was an “okay” spot because from where we were, the floats parading were facing us and we got to see both the front and the side before it makes a turn. It would’ve been better though if we were able to see the floats from above (at the overpass) because from there, you could see the top view, and it just meant seeing everything about it! Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.
After standing for almost 3 hours, the parade finally started at around 8:30 am. There were still different marching bands and street dances along the parade, but this time, the floats made up of flowers were the main attraction.
Here are a few photos that I took during the parade. All my photos have dates (I didn’t realize it was on–sorry for that), and have people or hands around it. I hope you don’t mind, I was blending in the crowd so well (and enjoyed everything about it) that even my camera view blended in. 🙂
*Photographers can apply for a photographer pass beforehand and can walk freely in the parade area.
It was amazing to see how the floats came in together: the concept, the color combination, the craftsmanship, the flowers to be used, and even the flow of the parade itself. Even though our spot forced us to “firm” and “tone” our neck, back, arm, and leg muscles (basically the whole body), the experience was all worth it.
I didn’t know at first why the crowd went the craziest when they saw these floats. And then it came to me: Local Popular Celebrities.
Daniel Matsunaga for Smart.
Robin Padilla for ABS CBN.
Gary Valenciano for M. Lhuillier
And my favorite, JOLLIBEE for the inner kid in me!
For this day, not only did we get to see the floats, we also got in deeper with our Panagbenga experience.
Surprisingly, to be surrounded by a more aggressive crowd was both distracting and entertaining. Even though we’ve expected a bit of a craziness from the crowd, a part of me still hoped that it wouldn’t go down that way. I was astonished, to the point that I was both in disbelief and amused at the same time by how crazy people could be just to mark or terrorize a place for themselves in the crowd. And they go crazier when they see a popular celebrity in the parade! We all got bumped, pushed, and yelled upon one way or another. But for me, it was okay. I think it’s human nature for Filipinos to be like that in those kinds of events. Well, that was some kind of experience! Hey, I totally got a calmer crowd the day before that(but of course , each day has its own sparkle, isn’t it?).
Some of the funniest observations I heard in the crowd were probably the ones where some said that “they weren’t the ones who were pushing those in front of them because they were just being pushed forward” and five minutes later, they were already in front of you! And another one was probably where the person who was “passed by” during the “pushing incident” made a statement with so much emphasis (pointing fingers of who’s who) about it which was very loud and clear. Those were pretty funny. Hearing different banters. The parade happened for roughly 2 hours, and you could just imagine how we all went battle-star in the fan crowd!
Here’s a few during the parade.
Here’s everyone after the parade.
Additional Tips for Travelers and for Photographers:
1. Arrive early–as early as you could get. Early birds can mark their territories.
2. Photographers could apply for a Photographer Pass in which they would access to all areas to take amazing photos. Inquire from their site here. Apply for one before you get there. But for me, one must really try to experience watching the festival as a part of the crowd as well. It is AMAZINGLY CRAZY!
3. I think the best area to see the floats is at the overpass facing session road. You could see the whole float from the top view. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option for us at that time.
4. Be careful and be mindful of your belongings. There were reports and broadcasts every now and then about cases of theft in the crowd.
5. Respect other people’s personal space (by that I mean, don’t push) and be mindful of others. Everyone just wants to take a good look at those models and stars on parade and after that, they would behave! 😉
6. To add to #5, be friendly (especially) to the people in front of you, because worse comes to worst (when the people behind you keep on pushing harder), those in front of you would not get mad at you. They’d probably even defend you, and secure a space beside them for you to relocate at. The perks of being friendly goes a long way in festivals like this.
7. Make sure you have a bus ride home. This is a huge festival, and for sure there’s a lot of tourists! It means, most bus line are probably fully booked for that night and the next day’s trips. Thus, when buy tickets, make sure it’s a round trip unless you aren’t sure when exactly you intend on going back to the metro. Otherwise, you could stay another night (or two), be a chance passenger and wait for a lucky bus ride home, or book a trip to a halfway stop and take another from there to the Manila.
8. If you’re choice in #7 is the last one, you could buy a ticket to Dau (Pampanga) and hop on a bus from there to Manila. There are a lot, for sure.
9. Be open-minded and your crazy experience might just turn out really amazing! You will enjoy, definitely.
Overall, the whole experience was incredible. From what I mentioned earlier in previous post, I strongly feel that one should try to attend the Panagbenga Festival. It is appealing to the eyes as you would see a variety of interpretation of cultural performances and of course, creatively designed costumes and floats! And much more to that is the cultural immersion you would get just over the weekend is much more than you could ask for. A weekend getaway that is just SO MUCH MORE.
And lastly, here’s one for Session Road!
**Want to read more about other festivities? Read other posts on Festivals that might interest you**