Blended conduct of 2021 Panagbenga Festival eyed

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Residents and visitors who are longing for the conduct of crowd drawing events in the city next year will now have a chance to  witness the events of the 2021 edition of the Panagbenga that might be done through blended mode.

Supervising tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius C. Mapalo stated that the recent conduct of the Ibagiw Creative Arts festival served as a benchmark for the future staging of similar crowd drawing events in the city like the upcoming Panagbenga by February next year.

He admitted that while there is no vaccine that has been made available to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), there will be limitations in the conduct of crowd drawing events where there will be a mixture of virtual and face to face gatherings that will have to adhere to the strict implementation of the prescribed health and safety protocols.

The city tourism officer disclosed that the local government will closely coordinate with the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) to get their insights on how to conduct next year’s activities that will be lined up for the 26th edition of the Panagbenga Festival, the city’s major crowd drawing event.

Earlier, the city and the BFFFI decided to cancel the various government-supported and community-led events for the 25th edition of the Panagbenga last February after the threat posed by the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) started to be realized in some parts of the country.

Mapalo explained that the blended conduct of the Panagbenga events is part of the efforts of the local government to gradually and safely bring back the vibrance of the local economy that was heavily impacted by the implementation of the various levels of the community quarantine to contain the spread of the virus over the past eight months.

According to him, the recent staging of the Ibagiw Creative Arts Festival last November paved the way to the discovery of feasible approaches on how to stage crowd drawing events that will not generate too much individuals in a face to face setting but will be able to reach people worldwide through live streaming, thus, the same will be replicated in some of the events of the Panagbenga once the organizers will agree to such proposed blended conduct of the festival next year to help in reviving the local tourism industry that had been heavily impacted by the prevailing health crisis in almost all part of the world.

Panagbenga is the only festival in the country that was included in the elite list of the International Festivals and Events Association being one of the well organized crowd drawing events.

The annual conduct of the Panagbenga is being spearheaded by the BFFFI where the lined ups usually run from February 1 up to the first week of March that encompass the traditional activities complimented by numerous private and community-led festivities that entice foreign and domestic visitors to visit the city right at the start of the year.

The festival was named Panagbenga, the Kankanaey term for blossoming, since the same is being staged during the time of the blossoming of flowers in the nearby Benguet areas.

By Dexter A. See