BAGUIO CITY – Television and sports personalities stole the limelight at the grand float parade of the 22nd edition of Panagbenga, the Baguio flower festival, which made it the most star-studded parade of floats in the history of the city’s major crowd-drawing event.
Local and national artists, as well as sports stars, boarded various flower-decorated floats that spiced up the parade starting at the Upper Session rotunda passing through Lower Session road, Harrison road up to the Melvin Jones football field.
(See winners of grand float parade: Thousands of visitors grace Panagbenga 2017)
(See winners of streetdancing event: Pugo, Mabini, BCNHS streetdancers grab limelight in flower fest)
(See also PANAGBENGA IN PICTURES for more sights of this year’s celebration)
Residents and visitors greeted the stars with cheers along the 3-kilometer parade route under good weather conditions.
The 22 flower-decorated floats and the accompanying streetdancers and marching bands were greeted with an early morning drizzle but the sun shone up inspiring spectators of the 3-hour parade that was capped by the beautiful performances of winning contingents of the grand streetdancing parade the previous day.
Popular television stars Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza boarded the float of the GMA Network while Kapamilya stars Bea Alonzo and Enchong Dee. boarded the ABS-CBN float, both competing in the big float category.
2016 Miss International titlist Kaylie Verzosa, who hails from Baguio City, was on board the Pepsi Cola float while Jerico Rosales took pride in boarding the float of M. Lhuilier.
North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Road Warriors Coach Yeng Guiao and Fil-Tongan slot man Asi Taulava accompanied the float of the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) while newly-discovered local talent Jeric Sigmaton of Barlig, Mountain Province, who is popularly known as Carrot Man, beefed up the float of Wedding Memories.
Aside from the rivalry between GMA Network and ABS-CBN, their competition extended up to the kind of floats that were presented and the artists that rode the floats.
Further, the two giant television networks will be holding their own live television shows in the city in separate dates prior to the end of the flower festival on March 5.
The networks will be bringing with them their own stars to attract more visitors to enjoy the remaining days of the festival in the city.
The grand float parade is one of the major highlights of the annual staging of the flower festival with participating companies and groups fielding their respective flower-decorated floats that coincide with the theme of the festival, “Inspired by Beauty, Nature by Nature.”
Groups and companies spend up to P700,000 for the big floats while sponsors of small floats spend from P250,000 to P300,000 just to showcase and promote their products and support the festival.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed the deepest appreciation of the city government and the organizers to the participating agencies, groups and companies for helping sustain the staging of the festival over the past 22 years, citing that their participation in the festival is not for winning but for the sake of being a major contributor to the success of the festival.
“We are grateful to all those who have in one way or the other contributed to the successful staging of the festival. We hope that we will be able to sustain the success of the festival through the years with the active participation of our ever loyal agencies, groups, and companies,” Domogan stressed.
By Dexter A. See