February 27, 2016. This is the third morning in my life that I got woken up from my slumber by the rhythms of the drum and lyre corps participating in the Panagbenga Festival’s Grand Street Dancing Parade. These three mornings seemed like a repetition of the preceding one. They were never distant from each other that it seemed to me how I have an internal framework of waking up to a Panagbenga morning.
(Photo by AvianQuest Mukha ng Baguio (MnB))
I really am lucky to have a boarding house located near our campus, Victory Liner, BenECO, BaWaDi, South Drive, satellite markets, night life hubs and Panagbenga Park. It really is accessible to town, as well as isolation that I, too, wanted. The greatest perk here is that I get to have a front row access to this Panagbenga highlight. All that I needed is to survive swimming through the mob and having people see me being a mess with my uncombed hair.
Imagine me in a panorama as a girl in her pajamas running a couple flights of stairs and jogging an uphill street. I tried making my way through the crammed spectators, who on usual days, do not exist to squeeze out every membrane that I have in the body. As soon as I arrived on the closed highway, I started identifying where the Performance Spots of the corps are. The highway I walk by daily never seemed so lovely and colorful-and crowded and noisy. I really thought that these kinds of events only have children, and the parents accompanying them, as spectators. I can never see through the crowd as I compete with the tall ones in front of me. The cemented waist-high fences never seemed so useful for a girl of 5’2 until this morning in her life.
For a while, I watch the grandiose colors that are in a graceful motion like what people put into phrase as “love at first sight” even though it’s my third time already. It was a sudden snap that made me go back to my sanity. I realized that I should take pictures of what I wanted my folks back my home province to see. Luckily, a phone I forgot about was in my hand all along. I then positioned my phone and tried every camera angle taught to us in school. All angles and moment seemed perfect to be captured and shared to the world, if it wasn’t my poor camera resolution that is stopping me from doing so. After a while, I started taking random pictures. I would not mind having buck loads of photos in my gallery after-as long as the frames include either the colorful costumes or the hot drummer guys.
I put the phone down for a minute. I realized how some memories are meant to be engraved to my mind directly through my senses than a throwback every Thursdays. I enjoyed watching the dancing elementary students with their obviously well-spent attire. They moved blissfully as the sun shone on them. I heard a familiar tune from an incoming group of Saxophone players. That song was really familiar that I know what the next note should be. It was a little late when I recognized that it was the recent song of Justin Bieber that they were playing. It was so amazing that I stared across the road for a moment and then came to senses to capture a video. However, basing on the timing, I never got another chorus to capture. The video I took has disturbingly shaky frames and an oddly cut tune that would be hard to comprehend if watched it again. Anyway, that was only for the sake of sharing the awe to others but I got to have the full experience of being awestruck. I always get that kind of video every year, the one that shows how my instinct is to watch first and document halfway.
I never get tired of reading what was written on their tarpaulins. They were pretexts and super summarized introductions of who they are and what they are trying to portray with the upcoming performances behind them. Some were cultural and groups. It was actually in this the same event last year that I got to recognize how the natives of the Cordilleras are distinct from each other. Back in our province, only natives and some Ilocanos live there so it made me amazed how diverse the culture here is.
My first year watching was a real bomber on my phone gallery. I took a picture of how perfect the costumes go with the highway landscapes and how some appropriate their props not to get caught in the electric cables. I never knew what to expect in a Panagbenga parade other than majorettes and drum and lyre corp. Also, I really love seeing cultural dances. I think it is what makes me interested on discussions and fora regarding culture on school.
Every year, the girl running in her Pajamas to watch the Street Dancing that woke her up is my scenario. Only after watching will I go back home to comb my hair, wash my face and cook for breakfast. The only difference is that I get a deeper understanding and stronger attachments to it every time.