Major roads in this mountain resort city are expected to be filled with cheerful crowds of residents and visitors who are eagerly awaiting for the resumption of the twin highlights of the 27th edition of the Panagbenga otherwise known as the Baguio flower festival by the weekend.
On Saturday, some 32 contingents from various elementary and secondary schools in the city, cultural groups and festival dancers will be joining the grand streetdancing parade covering a stretch of more or less 4 kilometers from Upper Session road up to the Melvin Jones football field
The contingents composed of 4 competing schools in the streetdancing competition, 17 cultural groups and 11 festival dancers will be entertaining the huge crowd that will be gathered along the parade route to signal the resumption of the face-to-face conduct of gatherings in the city
The performers will be well dressed in their own attire depicting the theme of this year’s flower festival, “A Renaissance of Wonder and Beauty,’ to showcase the ongoing efforts of both the government and the private sector to recover from the effects of the COVId-19 pandemic that prevented the full face to face conduct of the festival over the past 3 years.
On Sunday, some 24 beautifully decorated floats will be paraded along the stretch of Upper Session road up to the Melvin Jones football field to help in spicing up the festive mood of residents and tourists alike who are eager to witness the major highlights of this year’s in person flower festival.
The floats will be composed of 2 non-competing floats, 2 special participation, 3 Hall of Fame floats and 17 competing floats where 9 are entries in the small floats and 8 are entries in the small float categories.
The non-competing floats will be presented by the local government of Baguio and the Department of tourism while the special participating floats are Jeepito and NSKK floral kart.
On the other hand, the Hall of Fame floats belong to the Baguio Country Club (BCC) which will be presenting 2 floats and SM City Baguio.
The 9 competing small floats are Converge, The Fraternal Order of Eagles, Eevor Skin Depot, Mang Inasal, Solid North, Palawan Express, Province of Benguet, Unilever Philippines and Saparita’s Garden while the 8 competing big gloats are Avilon Zoo, Camp John Hay Leisure, Coca-Cola Philippines, Ikea Philippines, Jollibee Foods Corporation, SITEL Philippines and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
After the grand float parade, Session road, the city’s main thoroughfare, will remain closed to pave the way for the set up of stalls by the concessionaires for the week-long Session road in Bloom that will run from February 27 to March 5, 2023 where the said road will be converted into a virtual promenade area with the availability of stalls of various handicrafts and flower-inspired crafts.
More than 1,000 uniformed and non-uniformed policemen will be deployed in strategic areas in the city to ensure the reign of law and order and to man the smooth flow of traffic in the areas where vehicular traffic will be re-routed following the closure of the roads that will be used for the twin flower festival parades.
The conduct of the annual Panagbenga is now a sole initiative of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) after the local government scrapped the subsidy that it was providing for the staging of the month-long festival effective 2020.
BFFFI officers expressed hope that the twin Panagbenga highlights will help in gradually and safely bringing back the vibrance of the local economy that was heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to allow people to get back their jobs and economic activities that were affected by the implementation of the series of lockdowns in the past years.
Panagbenga is a Kankanaey term for blossoming of flowers and it was chosen as the name of the flower festival because this is being done during the time of the year when flowers blossom.
The Panagbenga was also included in the elite list of events happening in the different parts of the world that form a part of the prestigious International Events and Festivals Association.