BAGUIO CITY (PIA) — The diverse culture and heritage of the Cordillera will be highlighted in the Panagbenga 2019.


On Monday, the city government of Baguio and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) launched the 24th staging of the Panagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival with the theme “Blooming Forward” at the Baguio City Hall.


Panagbenga is an annual flower festival celebrated every February in the city that reflects the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras. It lasts over a month long and flourishes through community spirit involvement.


BFFFI chairman and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said next year’s festivities will have Panagbenga Cultural Dance competition to “put emphasis on the Panagbenga with a cultural day.”


“We came out with this activity where we will have a presentation of our cultural heritage and dances. However, we are not only referring to cultural dances in the highlands but all traditional dances in the country and even from other countries,” Domogan said during the Kapihan sa Baguio media forum.


He explained that the Panagbenga cultural day will hopefully revive the Cordillera Canao which was changed into the Cordillera festival being held every November to showcase the rich culture and tradition of the region.


Baguio Flower Festival Co-chairman Anthony De Leon said that the Panagbenga cultural day response to concerns raised that the t festival is too much commercialized, thus, starting next year, the Cordillera culture will be highlighted alongside with other heritage and traditions of the country.


Meanwhile, BFFFI member and Panagbenga co-organizer Freddie Alquiros said that with the city’s recent recognition as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “creative city,” the Foundation is willing to work with the Baguio City Creative Council to look on how the creativity, culture and other aspects could work towards having a better Panagbenga.


Alquiros said that local artists are very much welcome to take part in the Panagbenga activities which is being done yearly which includes the annual entrance art piece at the top of Session Road during the Session Road in Bloom being done by National Artist Kidlat Tahimik.


The Panagbenga 2019 will start on February 1 and will end on March 10 to be highlighted by the grand street dance parade on March 2 and the grand float parade on March 3.


Among the Panagbenga 2019 activities include the Baguio Blooms Exposition and Exhibition from Feb 1 to March 10, Chinese New Year on Feb. 5, School-based competitions on Feb. 13 to 16, the Flower Tee Open Golf Tournament from Feb. 15 to 16, PMA Alumni Homecoming Weekend on Feb. 15 to 17, Handong ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio on Feb. 17, Pets on Parade on Feb. 23, Sponsor’s Day on March 2 to 3, Session Road in Bloom on March 4 to 10, Pony’Boys Day on March 9.


Closing and awarding and the grand fireworks display is on March 10.


The Panagbenga festival is expected to continue to flourish as the “best festival” in the Philippines becoming the benchmark for excellence in the conduct of other festivals in the country. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR