June 23, 2024

After being cancelled for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga is opening today, March 6, but through a special edition and minus its usual crowd-drawing highlights.
The month-long activities for the 27th year of the city’s biggest and highly anticipated festival is pushing through but toned down as there will be no street dancing and flower float parades.
The Panagbenga 2022 special edition official opens on March 6 with ceremonies starting at the Panagbenga Park, Melvin Jones Burnham Park for the opening of the open landscape exhibition entitled “Gardenescapes,” to be followed by the inauguration/reopening of the refurbished Baguio Botanical Garden at Leonard Wood Road.
Other highlights and events are the BCC Blooms Garden exhibit which started Feb. 18 onwards at the BCC Theme Park, Baguio Country Club; Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio on March 13, Panagbenga Open Dance Competition on March 20, Session Road in Bloom from March 21 to 27, 9th Stage Ronda Pilipinas from March 19 to 20, 2nd Montanosa Film Festival from March 19 to 27 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl; Flower Tee Golf at BCC on March 25 to 26; and closing fireworks display on March 27.
While the Panagbenga’s simplified version has been agreed upon before the announcement of the Inter-Agency Task Force placing the city under alert level 1, Andrew Pinero, Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. spokesperson, said they will not consider adding the two grand parades because of the ongoing pandemic and the challenges that will be posed in terms of crowd control.
“We believe it is a wise to decision to not push through with the parades because of the need to assure crowd control and it would also be cost-effective,” Pinero said.
He added bringing back the Panagbenga even in a toned-down manner this year is seen as a jump-off for the revival of the tourism industry, with a few of its stakeholders have been barely holding their heads above water due to the impacts of the pandemic.
“Most of us in the industry have closed due to the two years of no business activities, and we hope they will consider reopening and make the comeback of the Panagbenga as a signal for the tourism industry that it can finally start recovering,” Pinero said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana