December 7, 2023

Characters in Philippine folklore have come to life – in floral form that is, during the staging of the fluvial parade at the Burnham Park Lake.
With the wispy willow trees surrounding the Burnham Park Lake as background and festive music played by the Saint Louis University band, 12 flower-bedecked boats depicting characters in Philippine folklore such as Maria Makiling, Ibong Adarna, Daragang Magayon, Gaea or Mother Nature, Bugan, and Idianale, the goddess of harvest, paraded before spectators who, like the rest of the residents were just as excited to watch once more, the fluvial parade – one of the events that had to take a backseat when organizers resumed a “low key” festival last year in compliance with Covid-19 protocols.
The parade of floats started with the entry of the iconic swan boat or “Queen of the Lake.” Much like the renaissance of the event, the swan boat symbolizes rebirth as it is the same one used in rescue efforts in barangays Aqurray and Abollo in Cagayan province due to the flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses.
Other floats depicted the vintas of the Sama-Bajao, Tausug, and Yakan of Mindanao, while others added a European element by incorporating the Mardi Gras or masquerade.
Of the 12 entries, three have been adjudged winners in this year’s edition of the fluvial float parade. These are the Blue Boat by Hilda Balana (first place), the Pontoon Masquerade of Vivian Celso Vincoy (second place), and Vinta of Eduardo Florendo (third place).
The Blue Boat, which showed a flower-adorned rainbow as centerpiece was a representation of the world of Idianale, the goddess of harvest of the Tagalogs.
Much like the renaissance which is the theme of this year’s Panagbenga, the rainbow symbolizes that after a storm, good fortune awaits at the rainbow’s end.
The Pontoon Masquerade float, which depicted the Mardi Gras showed a colorful float reminiscent of the masquerades where participants wore fancy and vibrant body ornaments.
The vinta float showed the colorful lug sails and two-pronged prows and sterns which resemble the gaping mouth of a crocodile.
The Department of Tourism-Cordillera welcomed the revival of the fluvial parade as one of the major events of the Panagbenga.
DOT-Cordillera Director Jovita Ganongan said scheduling events of the Panagbenga at different venues disperses the conggregation of people outside Session Road and helps promote other areas where events may be held. – Rimaliza A. Opiña