February 22, 2024

This year’s carpet of flowers landscaping exhibition and competition of the Baguio Flower Festival will take on an innovation to beautify choice traffic islands and medians at the central business district.
City Environment and Parks Management Office assistant head Rhenan Diwas said the idea hatched by the members of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. and Mayor Benjamin Magalong was to tap the traditional Panagbenga activity to help the city government realize its aim to refurbish the center islands.
After the contest, the landscape design and materials used will not be removed and will instead be donated by the BFFFI and the participants to the city government through the Cepmo, which will assume the task of maintaining the landscaped areas.
Those covered by the agreement will be the Session Road rotunda, the traffic islands at the Lower Session Road where the big and small Norfolk pine tree are, the rotunda near the University of the Philippines Baguio, and the center island near the old PRC building.
A traditional feature of the Panagbenga, the landscaping exhibition and competition used to be held at one location usually at Burnham Park but this time the venues are spread out to various locations like the center islands and medians and small parks. The exhibition will run from Feb. 1 to March 8 this year.
There will also be an open category where eight entries will be displayed at the City Hall Park, four at Burnham Park and four at the Baguio Convention Center where entries for the vertical category will also be placed.
Diwas said the keystones of Baguio at the top of Session Road which is among the areas to be spruced up were temporary transferred to the Dominican Hill Retreat House for safekeeping last Jan. 26 to give way to the landscaping display and to also refurbish the area and clean up the stones.
“The city government recognizes the historical value of this landmark (the boulders symbolize the eight members of the Second Philippine Commission that staged its sessions in Baguio – then a municipality of the Province of Benguet – from April 22 to June 11, 1904) and values the genius of the local artists who worked on the installation and thus assures that it will be restored in the same exact location and in spiffy condition after the festival on March 9, 2020,” Diwas said.
He also clarified that the ongoing remodeling of the center island near the Baguio General Hospital is not part of the Panagbenga contest but is a project of the Department of Public Works and Highways to revise the designs of these traffic islands to conform to standards set under national and local traffic rules and regulations.
The present design of the said rotunda does not meet the standards as it blocks the view of motorists passing the area necessitating reconstruction. – Aileen P. Refuerzo