FUNtastic Philippines went up to Baguio last month to cover this colorful spectacle that grows in popularity year on year.



The parade started from the Panagbenga Park at the John Hay side of South Drive. We had an easy time photographing the floats as they assembled prior to the start of the parade.






We had a feast photographing participants above the floats, those in Igorot attire – – – as I missed the parade the day before.




When the crowd swelled, we contented ourselves with  taking other shots – – anything within our sight.540900_10151447735617570_1871213279_n



At a jampacked intersection, we were being asked by police to move back. But there wasn’t even an inch to move back to. At that point I thought maybe they thought people could fly. Or just banish from the scene.


I took this one last shot near SM on the way to Starbucks. My friend Brenda (who flew in from Davao), her daughter and I thought this was enough. I think I am ready to suggest to the organizers to close this festival to the public. It is utter nonsense to go and watch and be asked to push back where there was just no space. You can have your Panagbenga, and I will enjoy Baguio in the comforts of my John Hay home unbothered by this mad event in the future. Panagbenga, enough.

The Ruins, Bacolod City

Dont Know 018 (960x634)
The structure of The Ruins is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns, having a very close semblance to the facade of Carnegie Hall in New York City. In New England, they often were homes to ship’s captains. A belvedere, facing west, affords a beautiful view of the sunset in a glassed-in sunroom with bay windows.
The mansion was built in the early 1900’s by the sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson (1865-1948) and was home to his unmarried children with his first wife, Maria Braga (+1911), a Portuguese from Macau.
Dont Know 019 (960x655)


Dont Know 029 (960x640)

The mansion was the largest residential structure ever built at that time and had in it one of the finest furnitures, chinawares, and decorative items, as the father of Maria Braga was the captain of a ship that sailed across Europe and Asia and would cart with him these items. One of their daughters maintained a beautiful garden of lilies in and around the 4-tiered fountain fronting the mansion, all brought in from abroad.One of the sons supervised the construction of the mansion making certain that the A-grade mixture of concrete and its pouring was precisely followed.The mansion met its sad fate in the early part of World War II when the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East), then guerilla fighters in the Philippines, burnt the mansion to prevent the Japanese forces from utilizing it as their headquarters. It took days of inferno to bring down the roof and the two-inch wooden floors.To this day, the 903 square meter structure still stands tall amidst sugar plantation and continues to awe both local and foreign tourists. Truly, a picture-perfect backdrop and a magnificent sight to see..

Dont Know 020 (960x701)


The RUINS is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Mondays through Sundays including holidays. A restaurant serves Mediterannean food and operates from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Recently opened is an 18-hole Mini-Golf Course as a recreational fun activity for the whole family.

The RUINS is now accessible from the Bata area in Bacolod City. Upon reaching the bottling plant of PEPSI, turn east. About 600 meters away, you will see a cellsite above a 2-story building on the left. Opposite that building you will see a big sign that says ‘THIS WAY TO THE RUINS’. You will enter that narrow street leading to Rose Lawn Memorial Gardens. Follow the small red and yellow signs on the electrical posts which will lead you all the way to The RUINS.
Dont Know 030 (640x960)
(all above information copied from wikimapia)

As for this blogger. make sure you go around the grounds and marvel at the mansion’s magnificence. Order a buco shake and a sandwich if you are not having lunch, and enjoy dining at the veranda.

Do not rush the visit. A guided tour is most informative, and definitely entertaining. No one ever toured this place and did not feel entertained by the witty guides who, in jest, say they are descendants of the owners. Indeed, humor blends well with the history of this grand mansion now in ruins.

And by the way, you may want to arrange for The Ruins as your wedding reception venue.