Aliwan – the Mother of All Philippine Festivals

One of the nicest things about living in Subic is that you are centrally located on the big island of Luzon. There is easy access to the freeway system (which has been greatly upgraded since I was here in the 80’s).

I like to travel and take photographs, so I was pretty happy when I learned about the Aliwan Fiesta in Pasay City, Manila.

I found about about the festival on Wednesday, and drove down on Friday to see and photograph the Aliwan Fiesta for 2011. The Aliwan Fiesta is a gathering of Festival troupes from all over the Philippines, where they compete for the title of Grand Champion. This year there were 18 different troupes involved, and some had dance teams, marching bands and floats. Some of the troupes were huge, with over 200 dancers.

It was an amazing time. The grand parade was OK, but my best times were when I was in the parade staging area talking to the troupe members, background staff and other workers, and taking up close personal photos. I got there early and just walked into the area – no one questioned me. I was the only photographer there for about two hours, and I’m glad I went early. There is a photo competition that pays out P50k, and the place was swarming with photographers by 11:00am. Most were pretty cool, but some were pushy and kind of nasty. All of the guys I actually met were very friendly – it was just a small percentage that kind of messed things up for everyone.

Anyway, here’s a few of the photos I was able to get. You can see them all at Philippine Photographs or on Flickr: Aliwan Fiesta 2011.

Aliwan Fiesta, Manila Philippines, 2011

Aliwan Fiesta, Manila Philippines, 2011

Aliwan Fiesta, Manila Philippines, 2011

Aliwan Fiesta, Manila Philippines, 2011

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