April 18, 2024

For the celebration of the 28th Panagbenga, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts has lauded the city government of Baguio;the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc.; and the public and private sector members and individuals for being a great example of a community that respects land and nature and for their countless initiatives that advance creative industries.

“Festivals like the Panagbenga play a crucial role in cultural preservation. The annual tradition of this festival is a symbol of paying honor to the abundance of nature highlighting the role of our farmers and other workers in community building even more. Furthermore, Baguio’s inclusion in the Unesco Creative Cities Network as a city of crafts and folk arts is a proof of your commitment to fostering an artistic community while honoring and preserving the indigenous identity and traditions,” NCCA Chair Victorino Manalo said in his message as honored guest during the grand street dancing parade program on Feb. 24, as read by NCCA Public Affairs and Information Section head Rene Napenas.

Manalo added the Panagbenga festival “is not just a celebration of aesthetics and movements. It is a profound testament to the abundant cultural heritage and vibrant creative industries of Baguio City.”

He said the festival is timely for the National Arts Month every February, which reminds of the symbiotic relationship of arts, culture, and nature.

“When the flowers are in full bloom, the Baguio community unites, organizing a festival where creativity and innovation thrive,” Manalo said.

He added through the Panagbenga, NCCA commits to be the city’s active partner in its endeavors towards the preservation of culture and national identity.

“Let us not only celebrate the stunning floral displays and amusing performances but also pledge to support initiatives that encourage us to safeguard our cultural heritage.”

City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Panagbenga has been the symbol of unity, culture, and resilience of the Baguio community and a testament to their unwavering commitment to preserving the city’s heritage while embracing progress and innovation.

“With each step we take, with each beat of the drum, we are writing a new chapter in the history of our city: a story of resilience, of sustainability, of innovation, and of creativity. As we dance through the streets, let us remember the generations that came before us, whose traditions and values continue to inspire us today. Let us look ahead with hope and determination knowing that by working together we can overcome any challenge and achieve our dreams,” Magalong said.

He thanked the organizers led by the BFFFI, volunteers, and participants “who have dedicated countless hours to make this parade a reality.”

Aside from the grand street parade, the 28th edition of the Panagbenga was also highlighted among other traditional activities by the grand floral parade on Feb. 25 which record-breaking 33 floats by various government and private institutions, which organizers assessed as the highest number of participants in the festival’s history. – Hanna C. Lacsamana