BAGUIO CITY – Major roads leading to the Summer Capital will become colorful during the start of the 20th edition of the Panagbenga because of the various kinds of flowers that will be planted along the roadside to serve as added attractions for visitors while on their way up to the city proper.
Aside from the roadsides of Kennon road, Marcos highway, Naguilian road and the Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya road, most of the city’s 128 barangays will also become colorful because of the establishment of garden of flowers and their roadside beautification which form part of the contest category of the barangay landscaping and roadside gardens in order to beautify the city with different kinds of flowers in time for the 5-week flower festival.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the 20th edition of the country’s long running festival is one of its milestones, thus, greater participation of local residents and stakeholders are required in order for the city to have new offerings for visitors, particularly the pockets of flowers along major roads and even in the different barangays as well as households.
“We received commitments from our neighboring municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay that they will be sending their respective delegations to participate in the streetdancing parade and the float parade in order to provide our visitors with more attractions and a variety of performances,” Domogan stressed.
Various types of locally produced and imported flowers are expected to be showcased by the different roadside garden and barangay landscape participants that will serve as an added menu for the traditional government-led and community supported activities for this year’s flower festival.
The flower festival will kick off on February 1 with the elimination round of the streetdancing competition where all interested elementary, secondary and college institutions will be competing with each other to determine those who will be qualified for final judging during the streetdancing parade.
From February 1 to March 1, the month-long Baguio Blooms exhibition and exposition will be opened at the Burnham lake drive. Exhibitors of flower-inspired products and other local handicrafts will be featured in the area for the promotion of their products.
On February 15, festival organizers will be holding a whole day program entitled ‘Handog ng Panabenga sa Pamilya Baguio’ and the traditional painting contest entitled ‘Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom’ as well as the Panagbenga kite-flying challenge to be capped by the Panagbenga variety show.
On February 28, competing elementary, secondary and college streetdancers who will be in their well-designed costumes will be competing during the grand streetdancing parade, which is one of the major highlights of the festival, in order to entertain the expected influx of visitors.
On March 1, dozens of flower-decorated floats from participating government agencies, multinational corporations and giant television networks will be parading along Session Road with their own unique designs during the grand streetdancing parade. The floats will then be displayed at the Melvin Jones grounds for a week in order to allow the public to view and take photos for their remembrance.
From March 1 to 8, Session Road will be closed to vehicular traffic and converted into a sidewalk café and promenade area courtesy of the Session Road in Bloom where establishments are allowed to put up their flower-inspired decorations and tables where the public could take a break. Furthermore, stalls will be put up in the area in order to promote local handicrafts and other flower-inspired products.
On March 7, horseback riding enthusiasts can enjoy the day with the various competitions organized for the conduct of the Pony Boys day whereby it will also feature competitions on horse races among others.
The 5-week flower festival will be capped with a grand closing program and grand fireworks display on March 8.
Anthony de Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) and general manager of the Baguio Country Club (BCC), said most of the 250 members of their organization are fully booked as of this time while most of the over 700 transient houses are also fully booked because of the reduced travel time to the city as a result of the opening of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
“Baguio is ready to welcome our visitors for the Panagbenga and we are ready to cater to their needs,” de Leon said.
By Dexter A. See