Panagbenga is a kankanaey term for "a season of blooming." It is also known as the Baguio Flower Festival, a homage to the beautiful flowers the city is famous for as well as a celebration of Baguio's re-establishment. Since February 1995, it has been held to help Baguio forget the 1990 earthquake that distressed much of the city.
Panagbenga festival will have spectators enjoying a multiple floral and float parades over two days. The Baguio Flower Festival Association (BFFA) will have a street dancing parade and band exhibition. The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFF), meanwhile, will hold a parade. So where should spectators be stationed to not miss any of the float and floral parades? Session Road and Burnham Park. A search for the Mr. and Ms. Baguio Flower Festival, FM Panagbenga Pop Fiesta, Skateboard competition and Dolls of Japan exhibit were added to the BFFA calendar. The festival is supported by constituents of La Trinidad, La Union, Pangasinan, Marinduque and Masbate.
Often a Cañao is an undertaken to kick-off & celebrate the occasion. A Cañao is a dance that also is regularly performed at special occasions such as fiestas. In this two-person dance, the men hang blankets usually woven with an indigenous pattern or design-over each shoulder. The woman wraps a single similar blanket around her. The man leads her and dances in a circle with a hop-skip tempo to the beat of sticks and gongs. The dance must continue until the viewers decide to honor the dancers twice with a shout of "Ooo wag, hoy! hoy!" Once this has happened, the dancers can stop. It is an honor to be invited to join the dance, and elders and other respected members of the community are expected to join in at every occasion.
Other notable events:
Bulaklak Rock Battle of the Bands at the Skating Rink; Local Arts Show at the People’s Park; Veteran Records Skateboard Competition at the Skating; Dolls of Japan Exhibit and Eiga Sai at the Baguio Convention Center Lobby; Kitefest at the Athletic Bowl.
Baguio is easy to get to by air and land transportation. From Manila, the latter is the more popular choice, although at this time of the year, it may prove to be a hassle. If you prefer to fly to the City of Pines, some airlines maintain a daily schedule of flights from Manila to Baguio and back, like Asian Spirit. If, however, you go for a four-hour joyride, there are a variety of bus companies, garage cars, and tour operators for the convenience of tourists and visitors.
It all began in 1995 when lawyer; Damaso E. Bangaoet, Jr., John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC) Managing Director for Camp John Hay, offered to the Board of Directors of JPDC the idea of organizing the holding of a flower festival in Baguio City. The Board, then directed by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman Victor A. Lim and JPDC President Rogelio L. Singson, approved the project immediately. It was also decided that the Festival be held every February.
From the very start, JPDC saw itself as the maker, not the producer of the Festival. As a result, its plan was to present the idea to the different sectors of the community: government, education, business, media and civic organizations. This was not only to solicit their support, but also to gather their suggestions and ideas. Their response was generally warm and immediate, except for a few doubting Thomases. Nevertheless, the idea had fallen on fertile ground. It grew as a wellspring of community support fed resources into the project. The Baguio Flower Festival was an idea on its way to becoming a reality.
Making the idea a reality fell into the hands of the BFF Secretariat which was chaired by Attorney Bangaoet and operated by JPDC staff and volunteers led by Eric Jonathan Picart. In Addition, an advisory group of flower enthusiasts like Rebecca Domogan, Gloria Vergara, Julie Cabato, Willie Magtibay and Efren Chat was formed. They began by creating an identity for the Festival, one that would reflect the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras. In October 1995, the Baguio Flower Festival obtained face. Its official logo was chosen from entries to the Annual Camp John Hay Art Contest. The competition was open to elementary, high school and college students of Baguio. Its theme revolved around preserving the environment with a special importance on the flowers of the Cordillera. Instead of a complete painting, the eminent board of judges led by well-known artist BenCab chose a spray of sunflowers on the corner of the entry submitted by Trisha Tabangin, a student of the Baguio City National High School.
Shortly thereafter, a Festival hymn was composed by Professor Macario Fronda of Saint Louis University. To this music was added the rhythm and movements of the Bendian dance, an Ibaloi dance of celebration. The Bendian dance's circular movements speak of unity and harmony among members of the tribe - themes that foretell the coming together of the various sectors of the community to bring the Baguio Flower Festival to life.
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