BAGUIO CITY – The 23rd edition of Panagbenga, otherwise known as the Baguio Flower Festival, was formally launched by the local government and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) on Monday, December 18, 2017 with a new setup in the organizational structure following attempts from the city to take over the conduct of the city’s major crowd-drawing event.
The festival was named Panagbenga in recognition of the time when flowers blossom, considering that February is the blossoming of flowers in the Baguio City and Benguet areas.
The month-long festivities will kick off on February 1, 2017 and will culminate on March 3, 2017 with the theme and logo to be unveiled during the launching date.
Earlier, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan issued an administrative order that designated Councilor Elmer O. Datuin as the chairman of the Panagbenga Executive Committee with businessman Frederick Alquiroz of the BFFFI as the vice chairman, both of who will oversee the conduct of the activities lined up for the month-long festivities.
The local chief executive underscored the importance of sustaining the public-private partnership in the handling of the activities lined up for the flower festival in recognition of the importance of the significant contribution of the private sector in the growth of the festival as one of the major festivals in the country that earned the recognition from the International Association of Festivals.
The conduct of the flower festival was originally conceptualized during the time when its founder, lawyer Damaso Bangaoet, was the vice president of the John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC), a subsidiary of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in 1995, when he was looking for an event that will draw the influx of visitors to the city during the lean tourism months in 1995.
It can be recalled that in 2002, the local government took over the management of the flower festival before it was again reverted back to the BFFFIU in 2005 following the celebrated fiasco that transpired between feeding organizers that same year.
The launching of the flower festival was followed by a press conference at the Baguio City multipurpose hall wherein the new set of officials comprising the Panagbenga Executive Committee provided additional details for the activities lined up for the 23rd Panagbenga next year.
Domogan expressed optimism that the local officials and the members of the private sector designated as officers and members of the Panagbenga Executive Committee will be able to work together to find ways to further improve the conduct of the major events of the festival, so foreign and domestic visitors will be enticed to continue visiting the city and patronize the prepared events. These would contribute to the robust growth of the local tourism industry, considering that tourism is the lifeblood of the city’s economy.
He called on the public to sustain the support that they are providing the organizers of the Panagbenga to effectively and efficiently contribute to innovating the festival’s conduct that will boost the identity of the flower festival as one of the must-see festivals in the world.
By Dexter A. See