Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival Kicks Off January 30

The 11th Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga opens on January 30 and the revelry is highlighted by the parade of flowers on February 25 and 26. Visitors to Baguio City (246 kms from Manila) will be very excited about the various activities lined up this year. Equally interesting, however, is the political bickering that surrounds this festival which has become not just as a tourist attraction but also a money-making opportunity for unscrupulous officials.

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY — It’s all systems go for the staging of the 11th Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga officially handled by the Baguio Panagbenga Flower Festival Association (BFFA).

The impasse on the holding of the city’s major crowd-drawing event appears resolved, ushering in more than a month of revelry from January 30 to March 12.

To answer Baguio City Mayor Braulio Yaranon’s query clarifying the rule of law as invoked by both the BFFA and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFFI), DILG Regional Director Everdina Doctor issued a statement in December 2005 that an Executive Order or an Administrative Order has more power than a mere resolution because the latter is only a temporary measure.

Doctor clarified that the city council’s Resolution 294-05 returning the management of the flower festival to the BFFFI, is merely an expression of the legislative body’s opinion. However, it does not have the force and effect of a law and cannot be treated as superior to an executive order issued by the mayor, Doctor added.

Yaranon and BPFFA co-chairpersons Bishop Carlito Cenzon and Nelia Cid revealed that during the weekly Ugnayang Panglungsod that several groups, including those in other regions, will participate in the Panagbenga, thus making this year’s celebration a showcase of a truly cosmopolitan city of a unique character and a melting pot of several cultures.

Despite political bickering which delayed the preparations, the festival has attracted several other provinces to participate, according to Cenzon. La Union towns of Naguilian, Burgos, Bauang and San Fernando City will join the market encounter with their basi (cane wine), buyboy (tiger grass brooms) and cultural presentations. La Trinidad will come with its flowers and strawberries. According to Cenzon, even provinces in the south like Masbate are coming.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultural tradeshows will also be featured in three separate dates. The Office of Muslim Affairs will also participate.

The festival opens on January 30 with the launching of Barangay Landscaping and Salad Garden contests; and the inauguration of the Burnham Lake Lights. Sen. Pia Cayetano, a frequent visitor, will grace the occasion. Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accepted the invitation, but recent developments in the country necessitated the cancellation of GMA’s provincial trips.

The yearly spectacular street dancing and drum-and-lyre competition, now dubbed as Flower Power Parade will be on February 25 followed by the Float Parade and marching band competition or the Flowers on the Go parade on Feb. 26.

Yaranon maintained that the holding of the 2006 Panagbenga will be solely in the hands of the Baguio community and not the politicians. “There is only one Panagbenga and this is the Panagbenga of the Baguio people ,” he said appealing to parties to stop sowing confusion by saying that there are two Panagbenga celebrations.

The BFFFI also launched its own flower festival on December 3 after BPFFA has launched its own earlier. However, because Yaranon has reserved city streets for the official Panagbenga, parallel activities by other groups may be staged inside the Camp John Hay, sources said. with reports from Ace Alegre, Aileen Refuerzo and Julie Fianza/Posted by Bulatlat

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