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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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March 24, 2015

san narciso | quezon : centurion mask making tradition

Centurion Masks

Some looked angry and grumpy, a few looked really menacing. Other looked funny, while there are some which looked downright weird.  During the Holy Week in the Philippines, men in certain towns in the archipelago don these masks and put on tunics and Roman soldier costumes. They roam the streets from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday and re-enact the search for Christ and the eventual capture and suffering of Christ on the way to calvary, and scaring the kids while they are at it. On this week the Roman soldiers are an angry and evil bunch.

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March 17, 2015

baguio: random shots on a panagbenga weekend

I was finally able to visit Baguio to shoot the Panagbenga festival highlights this year. And while the street dancing and the grand float parades are the main items on the itinerary, I had some chance to go around the city and re-acquaint myself with some of its popular tourist traps.

Related post: Panagbenga 2015 Grand Float Parade

The Panagbenga Festival is always a crowd drawer, with thousands of visitors heading up to the "City of Pines" during the weekend of the parades. Hotels and lodging houses, especially those near the city center, can be fully booked months in advance.  Baguio can be very crowed at this time and getting around could be a challenge. But with a little bit of luck and good timing, I was still be able to see some of what this popular destination offers.

Mines View Sunrise

Mines View, Panagbenga or not, will always be crowded. But come here at dawn and you'd be able to experience the very reason why this spot is a popular viewing area. Dawn is the best time to see what the view in Mines View is really all about.

Mines View Sunrise Catcher

Mines View Layers

Mines View

Veteran Tree

Down the road from Mine's View stands a very old (over 100 years old) picturesque Benguet pine tree called The Veteran Tree. It has survived the elements for as long as it could, but finally succumbed to it.  The tree was declared "dead" in 2011 and  local artists transformed it into an amazing work of art. Not sure how long this will last, go see it if you have the chance to.

Veterans Tree

Veterans Tree

Veterans Tree

Wright Park

Perfect place for a morning horse ride. I could not understand though why some of the horses's hair are dyed pink. To make them more appealing to the children maybe?

Wright Park horses

Wright Park pink haired horse

Insect on flower (Wright Park)

Baguio Public Market

Perfect place to sample Baguio's delicacies and shop for souvenirs. A friend and I stumbled upon this longganisa section while walking through the market trying to dodge the horrendous traffic.

Local longganisa at public market

Burnham Park

This is one of Baguio's most recognizable landmarks in the city center.  And with the horrible traffic during the Panagbenga weekend, we found ourselves walking most of the time and passing through the park.  Might as well take some photos.

Burnham Park lagoon

Burnham Park

Burnham Park bikers

Baguio Sunset

Best place to catch it if you are stuck in the city center is at the viewing decks of a big mall at one end of Session Road. The mall guards are usually touchy about you taking photos inside the mall, specially with a tripod and that "professional looking" camera (they have funny ways of defining how a camera can fall into this category, but they leave you alone at the viewing decks.

Downtown Baguio at sundown

Baguio Cathedral at dawn

The Cathedral is lighted beautifully during the Sunday dawn Mass. The façade lights are turned off immediately after the first mass. I took these before heading out to Panagbenga park where the floats are being prepared for the parade.

Baguio Cathedral at Dawn

Baguio Cathedral at Dawn

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March 4, 2015

baguio : panagbenga 2015 grand float parade

Dragon riders, bird riders, clowns, and celebrities. Flowers of all imaginable shapes and colors, and much more, arranged and bundled into amazing works of art. Its a visual treat that happens once a year of Baguio.

20 years of blossoming together

They say the Panagbenga Festival (Blooming Flowers Festival, "panagbenga" means "season of blooming") get grander each year since it started 20 years ago as way to promote Baguio (after a devastating earthquake) as well as the culture and tradition of its people.  This year's theme is "Across 20 years, Blossoming Together".

It was my first time to witness the festival first hand. I was excited and woke up before dawn, and before the sun rose, my friends and I were already in Session Road (one of Baguio's main streets where the parade will pass through).  You might think we were early, but we are not. Folks line the parade route as early as 1AM and the prime spots are occupied well before dawn.

A friend based in Baguio was able to help me secure a photographer's pass, so I had a bit of freedom and can get really close to the floats.

Getting Ready
getting ready

Imagine a kid in a candy store full of all sorts of colorful and sweet goodies - that's how photographers were that day.  To actually see the floats up close is surreal.  The explosion of colors and patterns and designs is simply overwhelming. You haven't seen flowers until you see them on a Panagbenga float.



There were a total of 16 floats of various sizes and themes. The floats take weeks to build and uses an insane variety of flowers to create the design. Exactly how they make the flowers look as fresh as possible and maintain the float's design until the big day is in itself a feat.

Some would really stand out, like the Baguio Country Club's (BCC) float which was inspired by the movie "How To Train Your Dragon".

Inspired by How To Train Your Dragon
BCC's float

Dragon rider


BCC's float comes complete with a dragon driver and an entourage of vikings. [BCC is a Hall of Fame member for the float competition]

Another float is inspired by Pixar's animated movie Epic, featuring "leaf men" and bird riders.

Inspired by the movie EPIC


Some of the floats featured nature and the culture and tradition of the Cordillera people.

Where is Nemo?
where is Nemo?

Its beautiful float after beautiful float for a good hour or two, longer if you follow the parade as it goes through Session Road, then to Harrison Road, and finally to Athletic Bowl beside Burnham Park


For more photos, check out Lantaw Facebook page and this album.
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[name=lantaw] [img=https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8237/8458831412_c95b7dbbae_t.jpg] [description=Loves to shoot nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and other natural wonders] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/lantawphotos) (twitter=https://twitter.com/lantawphotos) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/lantaw/)