For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to take photos at the grungiest carnivals that you find in many corners of the Philippines at certain times of the year. Locally known as perya, these carnivals are filled with sketchy looking rides, games, and some gambling booths. They’re usually put up for the public a month before a town fiesta. Not the safest place to be found wandering around solo as it’s known for pretty suspicious crowds sometimes (pickpockets are known to be wandering around these carnivals, I have been told), it’s still a unique experience. There’s something quite refreshing about the energy of the locals having fun on a cool, breezy, December night.
I’ve always been a sucker for vintage looking places. Add up the grungy feel to that and I’m completely sold. I wanted to explore the area with a bit more freedom, considering that I can’t wander around freely during its operating hours at night, not only because it’s usually packed, but apparently many Filipinos are totally okay making anyone feel uncomfortable as they blatantly stare in an almost malicious manner. So one afternoon, me and my beautiful friend Maggie dragged Derick (my husband, but boyfriend at the time) to come take photos of us at the nearest perya in the cuddies of Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Obviously, this wasn’t really a spontaneous trip because we did get dressed up for the occasion. We love, love playing dress up and we just couldn’t resist taking advantage of the setting. I hate to make this look like a fashion blog entry, but yes, we meant to incorporate a theme and we’re not ashamed of it. Going for a bit of modest pin-up with her rockabilly style and my sweet romantic vintage vibe, we found ourselves traveling back in time again.
Making our import model dreams come true
Thinking we were only going to be only in the sidelines, we were surprised that people who works there actually built their shelter in the very area. Luckily for us, the boys were very accommodating and brought us in to take photos up close with the rides.
As much as we tried to avoid being watched, obviously that did not happen. We had about a dozen kids watching us, together with the workers in their improvised shelter staring out at us.
We still ended up having a grand time. We were literally just there to take pictures. I meant to take photos of the area as well, but I suppose we had a little too much fun “modeling”. We were also trying to chase the light because the sun was almost setting by the time we got there.
A year before this, me and a couple of girlfriends stopped by this very same carnival to check it out. Buzzing from cheap, local alcohol, we felt safe because our driver, who happens to know the area and the people well enough, offered to keep an eye on us. Feeling brave, we rode this thing called The Octopus, and let’s just say I thought I was going to die. I don’t know exactly how old this ride is, but it wasn’t even just the lack of seatbelt that got me screaming on top of my lungs. It looks like nothing, but this was insane. The seats swing freely as the entire thing spins around. Probably the most hazardous thing I’ve ridden my entire life.
Stumbling upon these photos, I realize how photogenic these carnivals are. I might revisit another one this year, and this time, I’m taking actual photos of the place. Perhaps I’ll brave the nighttime and share with you the local experience. Now that sound like a plan.