The final night in the Philippines… walked around the majestic night skies of Quezon Hill/San Carlo Heights, Baguio once again (I can’t get enough of those colors!). Sitting here in Shanghai now, and I can’t wait to see them again while breathing that fresh crisp air… good thing I’ll be there in less than a month. See you soon Baguio!
That final photo is of the firework display (as seen from Quezon Hill) marking in the end of the Panagbenga, Baguio’s annual flower festival (see previous posts for photos).
On the drive from the coast up into the mountains around Baguio we stopped to get some lunch (pic #1), and right across the street is the Darf Cockpit Arena. Check it. We then drove further up the Naguillian Highway (yes, that 2 lane road is a highway!) and into Baguio… sweet drive if you ask me!
The bus(es) from Pagudpud [to Laoag] to Baguio were PACKED, due to the famous Flower Festival (“Panagbenga”) that was about to take place in Baguio City (also part of the reason we were there). A week long celebration of music, food and street markets… not to mention parades, fireworks… oh and some flowers! I can’t say I’m a flower-guy at all, but street vendors are always good (on this side of the world at least)! The festival is something like a week long, and I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted, considering the crowds were a bit much for my taste… but it was still an amazing experience.
As you can see in some of the pictures, all students from schools in and around Baguio dress up in the traditional clothes of the countless tribes people of the Philippines. Some were happier than others!
The highest peak surrounding Baguio City belongs to Mount Santo Tomas (map). The peak is littered with radio & tv towers and 2 radars built by the American military post-WWII. The views of the city and South China sea are stunning, not to mention the beautifully crisp fresh air, which is something I can only dream about back here at my office in Shanghai. Bah.
One of the two guards gave us a personal tour of the radars are the peak, which has been off-limits since a bombing recently which aimed at taking out one of the radars (even though they haven’t been used in decades). Apparently back in the day tourists visiting the peak could even climb the metal radars, with no fences or anything holding them back. Now the area is fenced off and kept away from curious eyes by 2 security guards, who must be the loneliest around, considering the near 60 minute trip up the mountain from Baguio City below, much of it off-road. Which is probably why the guard gave us a tour, as he was pretty wasted, even offering us some drinks after his tour.
An epic evening of verpertinesque skies above Upper Quezon Hill, Baguio City!
There was also a lightning storm occurring out over the South China Sea, check it out in some of the images.
Around Baguio City…
(click to view large)
I’d seriously love to rock one of those armored trucks…!
The first couple images were taken from the roof of the house I was staying in… a perfect spot to try out (only for the third time in my life) a nice proper long “star shot”. Image #1 is a 30sec exposure, while #2 is 2,737sec (+/- 45 minutes)! Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the image I wanted… it really has to be an absolutely clear night for it to work out properly.
The next several pictures are from the Lourdes Grotto, “100 stairs” turned out to be 242. Then finishing our religious tour with the Chinese Bell Church, located at the edge of Baguio City and La Trinidad, which practices a mix of Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
The final several are from the top of Upper Quezon Hill, I actually had to DE-saturate some of those images. The [red] city lights reflecting on to the low clouds above, with still some blueness to the sky… quite a remarkable effect only possible at a specific time. Truly VESPERTINE!
Some night shots around Upper Quezon Hill, Baguio City.
The following day we rented a jeepney and accompanied the family for a day at the beach, heading from Baguio down Kennon Road through Rosario, a 1500m decent to the seaside, where we enjoyed the warm water and BBQ’d fresh fish on the beach…!