As the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) is preparing for the upcoming 14th Panagbenga, the city’s festival was not spared from criticisms from different groups. Critics hit the ‘commercialization and bastardization of the Cordillera culture’ through the grand street dancing and float parades.
BY CYE REYES
Posted by Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. North of Manila)— As the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) is preparing for the upcoming 14th Panagbenga, the city’s festival was not spared from criticisms from different groups.
The annual festival of the city became a target of criticism. Critics hit the ‘commercialization and bastardization of the Cordillera culture’ through the grand street dancing and float parades.
Vernie Yocogan-Diano of Innabuyog-Gabriela said the festival has, to some degree, commercialized the Cordillera culture. “The traditional dances are capitalized on and used for attraction, even stylizing it to fit the current fashion,” she said.
“The traditional Cordillera dances lose the real essence and value and, at the end, it is the corporate sponsors who benefit,” said Diano adding that allowing the children as young as six years old to walk and dance at the same time throughout the route of the parades is another story.
Windel Bolinget of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said the festival is simply disrespectful of the Igorot culture and the effect is commercialization in terms of how it is being showcased for the enjoyment of tourists.
But the top brass of the BFFFI were not affected by the criticisms and said it was just a mistaken notion.
“There is that mistaken notion that we are commercializing the culture of Baguio when in fact it is a flower festival and not a cultural festival,” said de Leon during the weekly Kapihan sa Baguio in Baguio Country Club, Wednesday.
He added the only commercialized part of the flower festival is getting sponsors for the different major and minor activities incorporated in the five-week celebration starting on February 1 with a grand opening parade.
“We get sponsors and the trade off is for them to get exposure, but as much as possible the essence of the flower festival is about Baguio City’s flowers and the best of Baguio, which is not limited to its Cordillera culture,” de Leon added.
According to Frederico Alquiros, co-chairman of the BFFFI, the flower festival came about when the city wanted “to carry over the high spirit of tourism during the Christmas holidays.”
He said the month of February is a lull month for Baguio before, but because it is the month of the blooming of flowers and hearts because of the Valentine’s Day, it is a good time to have an event that can bring in tourists to the city and at the same time boost the city’s flower industry.
Meanwhile, the Centennial Commission (CenCom) is preparing for a cultural festival by the end of this year as a culminating event for the city’s centennial celebration.
According to Michael Pearson, one of the commissioners of the CenCom, “It will not be a grand cañao but a cultural festival and there is a difference, and I hope there would not be much arguments when we get to do it,” said Pearson adding that a cañao is a political event as well.
A grand cañao held during the ‘80s became very controversial and was met by various criticisms from different sectors. Northern Dispatch/Posted byBulatlat.com