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BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Government announced the new schedule earlier agreed upon for the conduct of the major events of the 25th edition of the Panagbenga, popularly known as the Baguio Flower Festival, will proceed as planned based on the current developments in the global and domestic scene relating to the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-2019).
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the City Government, in close coordination with regional and city health officers, however, closely monitor the developments of the dreaded respiratory infection.
Earlier, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI), in coordination with concerned health officers and city officials, agreed to reset the major activities of the Panagbenga from its earlier schedule to the end of March and early April to allow the global and domestic situation of the COVID to stabilize so as not to be a threat to the crowd-drawing events.
The Panagbenga grand opening parade which serves as the elimination round of the participants to the grand streetdancing parade will held on March 21, 2020 while the grand streetdancing and grand float parades will happen on March 28 and 29, 2020, simultaneous with the Sponsors Day while the Panagbenga Cultural Dance competition is on March 22, 2020.
The traditional week-long Session Road will now be enjoyed on March 30 to April 5, 2020 while the Pony Boys Day at the Wright Park will be on April 4, 2020.
Based on the revised schedule of the Panagbenga, the closing and awarding ceremonies at the Baguio Athletic Bowl on Sunday, April 5, 2020, to be capped by the traditional grand fireworks display.
The decision of the organizers and the City Government to reschedule the conduct of the Flower Festival Highlights was based on a joint memorandum issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Health that allow public gatherings and crowd-drawing events provided that appropriate precautionary measures are put in place to prevent the spread of illnesses that will compromise the health of those participating crowd.
The Panagbenga grew into one of the best festivals in the world since its inception in 1995 to being the only festival in the country included in the elite list of world festivals of the International Festivals and Events Association.
In the country, the Panagbenga is known as having the most-disciplined crowd and well-organized participation.
By Dexter A. See
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos