February 01, 2016

Panagbenga Festival

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  • February is a very important month for a lot of people, but it takes on a special meaning for the citizens of Baguio City. It is the month when the city goes into full bloom, figuratively and literally, as the citizens of Baguio celebrate the Panagbenga Festival.

    Apart from February being the perfect time to visit Baguio, it also gave the city its very own festival, one to rival other cities in the Philippines. September 1 is the city’s official charter day anniversary, but it is also in the middle of the rainy season: an unlikely candidate for anything that has to do with celebrating outdoors. Baguio City was also established during the American occupation, which meant it did not have a patron saint and an official feast day to go along with it.

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    The festival got its name from the Kankana-ey (one of the languages spoken by the local tribes) term for “a season of blooming”. Back in 1995, Atty. Damaso Banagaoet, Jr. came up with the idea that the city should hold a flower festival in February. This was seen by many sectors of Baguio as a way for the city to promote its rich cultural heritage and bounce back from the horrific events of the 1990 Luzon Earthquake.

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    What used to be a 10-day event has now ballooned into a 5-week extravaganza, with side events and media coverage galore. Highlights of the festival include the Parade of Floats, Street Dancing and Band Competition, Session Road in Bloom, and the Pony Boys Day. Other events have also been included in the month-long celebrations, including the Chinese Spring Festival and the Philippine Military Academy Grand Alumni Homecoming.

    Who would have thought a simple idea more than two decades ago would turn into something so spectacular, it draws crowds of locals and tourists to the city streets and focuses the spotlight on the Summer Capital of the Philippines?

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    Article by: Andronico Del Rosario
    Photos courtesy of: philippines.forumsland.com, isnatako.wordpress.com

               
               
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