I need some information. First, I HAVE been to the Philippines perhaps a dozen times in my life, First time was in late '72 as a U.S. Navy photographer... last time was about 5 years ago. I have never been there during the Holiday season before. My main reason for going there is, of course, photography... and to visit friends in Genera Trias, close to the city square and city hall. I have heard that there is one particular celebration worthy of photographing called the Sinulog Festival. Could you tell me about it? Is it done on Luzon? I will be there from about Dec 22nd through the end of January. Any other big celebrations in January worth seeing on Luzon itself?
Unfortunately, the Sinulog Festival is held way down south in Cebu City; it's not even on the Luzon island. The good news is that it's not too far to travel to, so you could go see it for yourself. The timing works out since it's usually held on the back end of January.
Closer to where you are, you should consider travelling to San Fernando, Pampanga, just north of Manila, for the Giant Lantern festival. Check with your friends and relatives to see if you can catch it since you're arriving very close to Christmas.
Other Pinoy Nikonians - please chime in and help identify other holiday activities Joe can participate in nearby...
Thank you so very much! I'm going to check out the lantern Festival. About the Sinulog Festival. My wife (she's from General Trias, Cavite) told me that the festival is attended by an enormous number of people. I know that we'll have to fly there. But if that festival is packed like sardines, I'm a little worried about my equipment It's all pro level (I WILL have steel cable embedded camera and case straps to prevent a slasher from trying to cut them) and I'm worried about being able to get close enough to the participants for good shots. I will have my 26 year old brother-in-law with me wherever I go with my camera. I know a fair amount of Tagalog, but no Cebuano at all! He knows a little at least!
As long as you're with locals or native speakers in your party, you should be fine. Usual cautions apply, just as if you were on shore leave in the old days - try to blend in, nothing ostentatious, keep your wallet in your front pocket , try to limit the amount of equipment you have to lug around. After a while, it gets hard in the heat and humidity. Enjoy the trip and please share photos if you can.
Most of my itenerary is now set for my trip to the Philippines in mid-December. I'll be going to Vegan, Puerto Galera and other parts of Mindoro, a good part of Metro Manila, Boracay and a couple other places on Luzon. I will not be able to attend the Sunulog Festival (third Sunday in January) because I won't be able to stay long enough. I will go to the Giant Lantern Festival. Perhaps during my trip I'll be able to find some people who can pose for me in traditional costumes (that's why I wanted to go to the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City).