The Lights at Pinaglabanan Street

Two days ago I took my new old Nikon for it’s 2nd official field test, aiming to understand a little about Manual settings. It was already late so I had no choice but to take the photos with not much light, but it’s a good thing it’s Christmas time! I was excited because I had just read a refresher on shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings. The only thing left was to know which buttons to press to adjust these because I was too lazy to download the user guide.

After several takes and trial and errors, I finally achieved acceptable shots. However, I admit that these shots are pretty mediocre haha! I got hungry and needed to go home, but I learned a few lessons.

I have posted here the “better” pictures, while the blurry and underexposed ones are for me to cringe at, haha. Without a tripod and any flash, I got these descent photos using 1.00 shutter speed and f/10 f-stop.

I’ve learned that increasing the shutter speed would need a corresponding increase of the aperture opening, and vice versa. For example in the picture with the security guard below, there is much noise and the ISO is already at 1600 since I set the speed at 1/6 and the aperture opening at f/10.

I’ve also included a short history of the place, which I thought was pretty interesting.



During the nights of the month of December when you happen to pass by Pinaglabanan shrine, which is right beside the San Juan City Hall, you will see lights in the shape of stars and angels. These lights warmly illuminate the street and intensify our feeling that Christmas season is finally upon us.






When warm yellow and red lights line Pinaglabanan street this season, a century ago a different kind of light burst through its dark eerie nights. The lights were heralded by a cocking sound. Then a flash. Then a ‘BOOM’, ‘POW’, ‘TWANG’ accompanied by gasps or stifled cries.

It is interesting to know the history behind naming this street “Pinaglabanan”, or in English fought over. Backtrack around 119 years ago during the start of the Philippine Revolution.

On August 1896 after the Katipunan was discovered by the Spanish Government, the Battle of San Juan Del Monte occurred. Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto led a surprise attack to El Polvorin,  a Spanish powder magazine (at it’s former ground now stands the San Juan Elementary School, just right across Pinaglabanan Shrine). Although this attack caused quite a stir strong enough to make Governor General Blanco declare Martial Law this was still unsuccessful, for while the Spanish soldiers all had rifles, the Filipinos only had bolos, a few varieties of guns, anting-antings (amulets), and their faith in God.

It is amazing to think that where I walk at or where people drive through was hallowed by blood of those who fought for our country’s independence. What vision must they have seen about the future while giving up their lives? I wonder, would they have liked the city hall – it’s stairs and hallways and the people that walk through it each day, or the monuments built for them? Is the independence we think we own right now the same as the independence they wished to have had that fateful year of 1896?


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