No wind or rain or any bad weather can dampen anyone’s spirits as this day, August 19, went off with a blast. Some would comment that Tanabata is usually had on the seventh of July of every year, but according to some sources, the date of Tanabata can actually change every year. And for this year (2012), lo and behold, Tanabata, the day that Orihime and Hikoboshi meet is actually August 24. So take that! Catching up to the Philippine-Japan Friendship Month too (July), of course something big should go along with it!
The venue was only the lobby of the Baguio Convention Center, and you can imagine just a short hallway with a stage at one end and booths crammed along the lobby. There were food booths, anime booths and lots games to be had. They had different activities on stage while others either sat down to watch or ate their food. There was an Origami Wrestling Tournament, Fukuwarai, Anime Karuta and the OTAquiz Show.
I think they were having the Orihime and Hikoboshi of the night while this was being written. They were about to start the Japanese Folktale Play followed by the UTAnabata J-Music Singing Contest and the Japanese Street Fashion Show when we left. With all honesty, there wasn’t enough place to sit for all the festival goers. At some point, you’d eventually feel you’d have to go, either tired or feeling like there’s nothing more to see. Don’t get me wrong though, it was a lot of fun. It was even a guarantee that with a small budget, you’d leave the venue with a full stomach with their okonomiyaki, egg rolls, yakisoba, candied apples, choco bananas and much more! Thinking about it makes me want to have more!
The event was also very lively because of their goldfish-scooping contest, shooting gallery, ring toss, popping darts, mask booth, fortune-telling booth, and their souvenir booth. There were a lot of little trinkets you could come home with, and of course, a lot of pretty people in their pretty yukatas. Of course, no Tanabata Festival is complete without writing wishes and tying them up on a branch of bamboo. It’s a very special festival, and who knows, wishes just might come true.
All in all, I think this event is too big to be crammed in just one day. With some of the arts, anime and cosplay orgs in Baguio (Gomen, XD Gumi, Anime HQ and Bag-iw Art Society) joining forces to make this event happen, it deserves more than one day. Not to mention, this was also in partnership with the Japanese Association Northern Luzon, Hidenobu Oguni-sensei, Baguio Museum and ABONG. Now you can really imagine how much of a power-house this event has been. They could have done with a much bigger venue, but since this is the first time Baguio has ever had a Tanabata Festival, I’d say it’ll do better next year. Nonetheless, this year’s Tanabata Matsuri was already a success, much more than they probably expected, or what anyone expected. As Tanabata celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi, in Baguio it also means the coming together of two different cultures to be appreciated in the City of Pines.
More power to the organizers and to everyone who has been part of it; it was one heck of an experience! Till next year!