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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Panagbenga

Monday, February 26, 2007



Tis the season of flowers. Tis the season when my fair city is teeming with bonnet wearing lowlanders. Tis the season of water shortage. Tis the season of taxi shortage. Tis the season of traffic. Tis Panagbenga.

Panagbenga is an indigenous word for "a season for blossoming". To anyone who speaks Filipino, pagbunga is a close mnemonic. This is the Eleventh (not so sure) celebration of the Baguio Flower Festival.

I slept mostly through the parades of the festival this year (Ain't I a model citizen?) held yesterday and the day before. The whole hassle of elbowing through a crowd, standing for hours on end, just to get a bare glimpse of the dancing headdresses of participants just wasn't enticing this year. Been there, done that.

The first time we organized an entry for the Street Dancing Competition was in 2000. We were in college, and as if school work wasn't hectic enough, an idea out of somewhere blazed into a communal passion to make something worthwhile. Being true to our natures as T-square wielding egotists, we went with a Caryatid theme. I was rummaging through my files for a whole hour before I started this entry and I couldn't find a single digital picture/scan of our entry that year (Batchmates, I need your negatives, posthaste!) Here's the best I can do...


That was taken (too lazy to scan) from our Batchbook. Caryatids are load bearing statues that carry pendentives, roofs, etc. and were evident in Greek Architecture. Form and Function... A basic premise of Architecture. We used up gallons of latex paint... yes! Latex Paint ON our skin. AND we had to walk under the sun for the length of about 15 (sloping) city blocks. Latex paint turned out to be an excellent exfoliant... It can scrape off three layers of skin! Who needs salon chemical peels, right? A gallon of paint costs way cheaper.

We didn't win (Boo-freakin-hoo), But we did get a lot of media buzz and spectators went gaga over us... (Our short lived careers as white British Royal Guards). I still kept this article written by Leonora Paraan-San Agustin:
Panagbenga: It's Getting Better All The Time
... The SLU-College of Architecture's Caryatids was the "spectacle of the parade". Imagine presenting in flesh instead of marble columns the priestesses of the Temple Diana - goddess of the moon and the hunt - carrying the pendentives of the temple in Karyai, Macedonia of the ancient times. This "palabas" of the parade - starkly white, slow disciplined steps, no facial movements - with mythology as the fountainhead of the marble simulation. It is a triumph of thoughtful planning, faithful reproduction of details and cooperative execution. How often do we get these things together in a project like they did? My compliments to the students and faculty of the St. Louis University College of Architecture, who may not have won the first prize but presented a beautiful spectacle...
She goes on to say that one of the judges said that we lacked choreography and flowers. The judge hasn't heard that "less is more"... your run of the mill douchebag.

A year later, in 2001, we reentered with a vengeance. Not to toot our own horns, but we were pioneers. Almost everyone that year started using body paint. To appease the tasteless judges the year before, we used flowers and choreography ad nauseum.


We won. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo!

2003. We entered for the third and final time just for the heck of it. The theme was inspired by Venetian masks and the Brazilian Carnival.


This is Mina, a close friend of mine. She was our face paint "guinea pig". Painting 30 girls' faces was no easy feat. It may not be noticeable from a distance, but knowing how good they look up close makes up for the hours of preparation.


The girls are such troopers. They had non-wind resistant headdresses that made them act like vertical wind vanes and they weigh a ton! (the headdresses, not the girls), they had to do lifts and formations, they had irritating everlasting flowers close to their skin, and they all did this with smiles (usually genuine) on their faces.

We won.

Last year, I was a judge on the Float Competition. A small scale contest similar to the Pasadena Rose Parade. The floats have improved a lot over the years. There were fewer entries that obviously show the outline of the vehicle used. There were more entries that used more creative uses of flowers and what nots. That year, we chose this float as the winner.


And so I've been there and I've done that. I was more eager this year to watch the Oscars than I was to watch the parades.

Happy Panagbenga all (current and former) Baguio residents, and lovers of my city.

Session Road is closed til Sunday. Joy!

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posted by Alternati, 11:31 PM
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