COME HOME AND SEE THE BLOOMS AND MORE IN BAGUIO: The Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City
VOL 1. NO. 2 MAY 2019
BY: MARIA AZALEA FLORENTINO | PHOTOGRAPHER: BUTCH GIOVANNI CAPOY
Behind Baguio's foggy interludes lies a myriad of classic tourist spots, natural wonders, cultural spectacles, quaint nooks and coffee shops, but most notably, the beautiful blooms that grace Baguio's annual flower festival known as the Panagbenga.
Panagbenga is a month-long celebration that highlights and promotes Baguio's natural blooms. Baguio's cool climate makes it ideal for flowers of almost all kinds to grow in the land.
From the Kankanaey term, season of blooming, Baguio's Panagbenga Festival traces its inception to lawyer, Damaso E. Bangaoet, managing director of Camp John Hay in 1996. Bangaoet presented the proposal of holding a flower festival in Baguio City to the Board of Directors of John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation ( JDPC ). Luckily, the proposal was approved. It was then called Baguio Flower Festival. Former First Lady Amelita M. Ramos opened the first year of the festival, which showcased activities like the search for the Festival Queen, a Floral Parade with street dancing and floats, a garden show, a tour of the most beautiful and private and institutional gardens of the city, Barangay Beautification Contest, and Flower Arrangement Contest. It was in 1997 that got its present local name, Panagbenga, with the addition of the activities, "Session Road in Bloom," where one can see flower carts and entertainment shows along the street, and Baguio Flower Festival Fashion ( BFFF ) held in Mansion House.
The Panagbenga used to run for just ten days, but because of its popularity, it became a month-long celebration which both locals and tourists have come to love. More importantly, the Panagbenga is a celebration of the communal spirit of Filipinos who come together and help bring out the innate charm of their own land.
Other than the Panagbenga, the City of Pines offers art enthusiasts a cultural display of the place starting off with contemporary art galleries inside the traditional huts at Tam-Awan Village and wood-carved items done the traditional way at the Ifugao Woodcarver's Village. National Artist, Benedicto Cabrera's Ben Cab Museum, along with Museo Kordilyera and Baguio Museum, is not be missed in a trip to Baguio.
Nature lovers are also in for a treat at Baguio's Botanical Garden, Bridal Veil Falls, Burnham Park, and Mines View Park for a scenic view of the entire city. While in the city, don't forget to take a trip to La Trinidad to pick some strawberries at the Strawberry Farm.
But if one would just simply want to relax and take in all the beauty of the place, the entire city is proliferated with quaint and quirky coffee shops and restaurants for that much needed private quiet time.
Baguio has retained its innate magic amidst all the changes that have happened in the city. It will always be one of the most charming places for a quick getaway from all the hustle and bustle of Manila, or it can be the reason to come back home to the brand of warm welcome that Baguio has to offer. [K]