Text and photos by Cecilia S. Angeles
The Tourism Promotions Board of the Department of Tourism and the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation (FPPF)—under the leadership of chairperson Eduviges Huang and president Pablo Beltran—supervised the recently concluded photography event dubbed Crossing Bridges XVI. This weeklong activity was participated in by 110 delegates from the nine Asian countries including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The Asian photographers certainly enjoyed taking pictures of strategic locations in Luzon particularly Manila, Laguna, Quezon, and Batangas.
The day following the arrival of the delegates, FPPF took the participants to a day tour at Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon with colorful performances including folk dances accompanied by the Villa Escudero rondalla composed of young musicians as well as cockfighting. The delegates also enjoyed lunch by the falls where some of them also had fun not only shooting the falls but also dipping in the water. They were thrilled no end as they had a tour around Villa Escudero riding on two-wheeled carts complete with grass roofs pulled slowly by handsome carabaos.
They also visited Fort Santiago, Intramuros where they witnessed old Manila established by the Spanish conquerors sometime in 1521. They also walked around the commercial sections of Manila including Quiapo and China Town in Binondo. In the evening, they enjoyed clicking their cameras to capture the festive atmosphere of the Aliwan Fiesta 2019 which started from the Quirino Grandstand and continued its way along Roxas Boulevard southward. At least Asian delegates had experienced the festive mood of fiestas in the Philippines, complete with street dancing, parade of well lighted and extravagantly decorated floats carrying beautiful fiesta queens and kings waving to the crowd.
After an early breakfast the next morning, the three busloads of photographers went to Liliw, Laguna in time for the Tsinelas Festival. They visited some factories making shoes and slippers. Mayor Ericson Solibit of Liliw, Laguna hosted the lunch of the delegates. Next, they checked in at Caliraya Club in Lumban, Laguna where they had another sumptuous dinner. The following day, they witnessed ice, clay, and soap carving. Everybody was impressed by some children who also did carving such as melon fruits into human faces and molding clay into different items. Lunch was hosted by Mayor Rodgelyn Bagabaldo of Paete, Laguna.
The next trip was the historical Taal town of Batangas where the group witnessed balisong making. Everyone was very much impressed by Manny Inumerable’s Galleria Taal Camera Museum, displaying an incomparable collection of old and new cameras.
After the Batangas trip, delegates took a kalesa ride to Intramuros where Asian photographers were provided with models in Filipiniana costume and had had lunch at Fort Santiago. After dinner at the Manila Hotel, there was an audio-visual presentation contest from seven groups not necessarily coming from each country. Individual members of each group came from different countries.
Crossing Bridges is indeed a friendly interaction among Asian photographers. This was the second time that Crossing Bridges came here to the Philippines. The first time was in 2010 where the group toured Cebu, Negros, and Bohol.