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BAGUIO CITY – Residents and visitors will have a chance to witness a number of the traditional events that will be lined up for the upcoming staging of the 2021 edition of the Panagbenga otherwise known as the Baguio flower festival as part of the efforts of the city and the organizers to gradually and safely allow the opening of the local tourism industry.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that he already approved in principle the conduct of limited events of the Panagbenga that will start in February until the first week of March to pave the way for the local tourism industry to regain its vibrance.
However, he disclosed that the much awaited grand streetdancing and grand float parades, two of the major attractions of the flower festival, will not yet be allowed as part of the preventive measures to contain the spread of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 in the city.
The local chief executive claimed that among the initial activities of the flower festival that had been approved include the landscaping competition among the schools and the barangays and other similar activities that will not draw huge crowds of people to converge in certain areas.
Earlier, the conduct of the 25th edition of the Panagbenga was cancelled following the COVID global pandemic that affected most countries in the world and ruined the economic gains that had been achieved by the different nations through the years.
According to him, the members of the Board of Directors of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) will be constantly providing the local government with the latest updates on the ongoing preparations for the conduct of the annual flower festival that will contribute in the efforts of concerned government agencies and the local government to revive the tourism industry and the overall economy of the city that has heavily impacted by the pandemic.
The Panagbenga owns the distinction of being the only festival in the country that was included in the elite list of festivals in the world under the hospices of the International Festivals and Events Association.
The mayor asserted that the adherence to the prevailing implementation of the basic health and safety protocols among the organizers and the public had been reiterated to ensure that there will be no untoward incidents that will transpire that might cause the transmission of the virus among the spectators that could affect the city’s gains in containing the spread of the virus in the city.
The Panagbenga was conceptualized in 1995 to be a community-led and government-supported event that eventually grew into one of the country’s major tourist attractions that feature the blossoming of the flowers in nearby Benguet and some parts of the city.
The conduct of the annual Panagbenga was previously done by the BFFFI in partnership with the local government but starting last year, the events that will be lined up during the duration of the festival will be under the management of the foundation composed of representatives from both the government and the private sector in the city.
By Dexter A. See
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos