BAGUIO CITY – Some fifteen traditional events are initially lined up by the organizers for the staging of the 23rd edition of Panagbenga otherwise known as the Baguio Flower Festival that will run from February 1 to March 4, 2018.
The theme of the city’s major crowd-drawing festival is “Celebration of Culture and Creativity” in support of the city’s latest recognition as a member of the elite club of Creative Cities given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Interested elementary schools in the city will compete in the grand opening parade of the flower festival from the Panagbenga Park in Upper Session road up to the Baguio Athletic Bowl where the contingents will showcase their performances during the elimination round of the streetdancing competition. The selected finalists will then compete against each other in the festival’s grand streetdancing parade on February 24, 2018.
Furthermore, the month-long Baguio Bloom Expositions showcasing flower-inspired handicrafts will open to the public right after the grand opening parade.
On February 11, 2018, organizers will hold the usual Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio program simultaneously with the “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom” art and painting competition, the Panagbenga Open kite flying competition and the Panagbenga cultural show, all at the Melvin Jones grandstand.
Elementary and high schools in the city will join the school-based floral arrangement competition on February 14, 2018.
On February 15-17, 2018, the participating elementary and high schools will be judged for their landscaping in helping sustain the beauty and scenery around the city during the duration of the festival and beyond.
Part of the activities for the annual flower festival is the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming weekend on February 16-18, 2018 where over 2,000 graduates of the premier military school in Asia will be in the city for their traditional annual gathering events.
Golf enthusiasts will also have the time to participate in the city’s festive mood during the scheduled Flower Tee Golf Tournament on February 16, 2018 at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay golf courses.
The city and the Chinese community will also join the celebration of the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival on February 17, 2018.
The highlights of the festival, the grand streetdancing parade and the grand float parade, will be held on February 24 and 25, respectively which will be followed by the week-long opening of the Session Road in Bloom on February 26 to March 2, 2018 wherein the whole stretch of Session road will be closed to vehicular traffic and converted into a promenade area. The usual Pony Boys Day will be held on March 3, and the closing ceremonies and awarding of winners will be held on March 4 capped by a grand fireworks display in five stations around the city.
By Dexter A. See