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Panagbenga Festival pays tribute to beautiful blooms, unites diverse Baguio

Taking inspiration from Pasadena’s “The Rose Parade,” Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival is held not in honor of some saint or legend but pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms. A…

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Taking inspiration from Pasadena’s “The Rose Parade,” Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival is held not in honor of some saint or legend but pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms.

A historian and museum curator, Ike Picpican, named the festival Panagbenga, a word in the local Kankanaey dialect that refers to a season of blossoming.

Panagbenga Festival

Panagbenga Festival participants perform the warrior’s dance of the ethnic Ifugao tribe.(Creative Commons photo by Miguel Isidro Photography)

For a city that has been through so much, the Panagbenga takes on a special significance as it also means the blooming of an idea or vision for hope, revival, unity, and growth.

Panagbenga Festival 2015 schedule of activities

Father of Panagbenga

Baguio’s crowd-drawing flower festival was conceptualized in 1995 by a man they now call the Father of Panagbenga, Atty. Damaso Bangaoet Jr.

The city was still reeling from a killer quake that left it in rubbles in 1990. The Panagbenga Festival gave people hope for a brighter future.

A tiger float made of flowers was one of the Grand Float Parade entries during the Panagbenga Festival 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Adel Mendoza)

A tiger float made of flowers was one of the Grand Float Parade entries during the Panagbenga Festival 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Adel Mendoza)

Bangaoet, who was then the head of the John Hay-Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC), presented his idea to the board of directors and it was immediately approved. JPDC allocated funds to help bring it about.

Sunflower emblem

Like its wild sunflower emblem, the Panagbenga Festival continues to blossom year after year.

The people of Baguio and visitors to the summer capital took to the flower-inspired festival as it doesn’t trample on cultural practices or beliefs and divide tribes.

What the celebration does is promote local culture and unite a Baguio of diverse ethnic backgrounds behind a festival it can consider its own.

Bangaoet cooked up the festival to draw more tourists to Baguio on a February, which is considered a lean season for travel.

Festival highlights

The Panagbenga Festival has grown to become one of Baguio’s biggest tourism attractions some 20 years since it was first conceptualized.

One of the highlights of the month-long celebration is the Floral Parade, which happens on a seven-kilometer stretch of street and involves groups of dancers garbed in flowery costumes performing the Bendian dance.

The biggest draw of the Panagbenga Festival, however, is the Grand Float Parade. During this event, Baguio highlights its artistry in the flower float creations that glide through the streets.

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Panagbenga 2015 Schedule of Activities

The Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, now on its 20th year, pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms. Although it’s a month-long celebration, the flower festival’s highlights include the Grand…

Continue Reading

The Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, now on its 20th year, pays tribute to the city’s beautiful blooms.

Although it’s a month-long celebration, the flower festival’s highlights include the Grand Street Dancing Parade and the Grand Float Parade.

One of the groups that performed in the Grand Street Dancing Parade, one of the highlights of Baguio City's Panagbenga Festival,  in past celebrations. (Photo taken from the Baguio City Government website)

One of the groups that performed in the Grand Street Dancing Parade, a highlight of the Baguio City Panagbenga Festival, in a past celebration. (Photo taken from the Baguio City Government website)

The street dancing parade happens on a seven-kilometer stretch of street and involves performers garbed in colorful costumes decorated with flowers performing the Bendian dance.

In the Grand Float Parade, Baguio highlights its artistry in the flower float creations that glide through the streets.

The Panagbenga Festival 2015 theme is “Across Twenty Years of Blossoming Together”.

Panagbenga Festival highlights

Grand Street Dancing Parade
February 28
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

Grand Float Parade
March 1
Locations: DILG, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

Panagbenga 2015 schedule

Here’s the fully Panagbenga Festival 2015 schedule of activities:

February 1, 2015

* Opening Ceremonies and Street Dancing Parade Competition
(Drum and Lyre Dance Competition – Elementary Division)
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Baguio Athletic Bowl

* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 2 – 14, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 15, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Handong ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio
Location: Melvin Jones

* Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom
Location: Melvin Jones

* Panagbenga 2015 Kite-Flying Challenge
Location: Melvin Jones

* Panagbenga Variety Show
Location: Melvin Jones

* Fireworks Display
Location: Melvin Jones

February 16 – 18, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

February 19, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Chinese Spring Festival
Location: City-wide

February 19 – 22, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* PMA Grand Alumni Home Coming
Location: Philippine Military Academy, Loakan Road

February 23 – 27, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Floral Arrangement Competition and School-based Landscaping Competition (Judging)
Location: Elementary and High schools in Baguio City

February 28, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Grand Street Dancing Parade
Locations: Panagbenga Park, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

* Sponsors’ and Exhibitors’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

March 1 , 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Grand Float Parade
Locations: DILG, Session Road, Harrison Road, Athletic Bowl

* Sponsors’and Exhibitors’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

March 2 – 6, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

March 7, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

* Pony Boys’ Day
Location: Athletic Bowl

March 8, 2015
* Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition
Location: Lake Drive, Burnham Park

* Session Road in Bloom
Location: Session Road

* Panagbenga Closing Ceremonies and Grand Fireworks Display
Locations: Athletic Bowl and various areas in Baguio’s (Central Business District) CBD

Panagbenga 2015 Schedule of Activities
Source: Baguio City official website

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