Going over the Facebook wall of a friend, I came across fantastic photos of Ilocos Sur public spaces, specifically the parks in front of municipal and city halls. Bathed in lights of various colors, they evoke the fantasyland of one’s “childhood,” whether from the days of yore when one was nine or from these challenging day of 2020 when one is now 49 or 69 or 99.
These “town plazas,” as we all used to call them, are better known as community centers where big events are usually held. They used to be the sole place for getting together, and during those halcyon days, they were the “malls” where people gathered especially when the country had its first taste of local electrification, allowing local governments to light up the otherwise dark rustic nights.
I am featuring the photographs taken by an Ilocano, Christian Garcia Valdez, who started taking photos and shooting videos in 2018 using both his cellphone and DSLR camera, although mostly the former because, he says, “It is lighter and handy.” No matter which he uses, Christian, who hails from Candon City, is the perfect example of an enthusiastic hobbyist who, making do with whatever equipment is available, creates masterpieces such as those shown on this page.
CRECHE in Cabugao.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CHRISTIAN GARCIA VALDEZ
For Christian, though, this is just a way of passing time and filling up the hours in an otherwise predictable weeknight. And he is pleased that he has gained friends who love the photos he has posted on his blog, CGV Travel Stories.
To Christian, we say congratulations and may you continue to take outstanding shots, especially of local places that otherwise would be overlooked by travelers. To those visiting Ilocos Sur, we suggest that you do some town-hopping at night to enjoy these captivating sights. And to the local government leaders who put some color and excitement to this pandemic Christmas for their constituents’ and guests’ delight, thank you so much and, as the Ilocanos would say, “Dios ti agngina.”
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