Panagbenga Blooms of Baguio
Little Otek and his family woke up very early and went downtown that cool February day. The sun hasn’t risen yet at the pine-covered hills of the hill station in the Cordilleras. Though sleepy, he was excited to head downtown.
|Spectators crowd near Session Road as Panagbenga Parade passes through Baguio's main avenue|
|Floral float of Panagbenga in Baguio.|
The jeepney halted near the bus station; from there they have to walk together with thousands of people meeting up in the downtown, just like the old dap-ay of the olden days.
|The crowd waits for the parade to start. Some of them have waited since the break of dawn.|
|Parade at the streets!|
|Why so serious, clown?|
It is time of the year again when Otek and thousands of tourists converge in the hill city of the Cordilleras of Baguio, when thousands of flowers, colours, and the beat of drum, lyre, and gangsa fill the air. It’s Panagbenga season once again.
|Of floral and of the indigenous|
A Birth of a Baguio Tradition
Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated major festivals in the country is Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival. Held annually every February, it is the time when thousands of tourists climb up to the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” to witness a parade of blooming flowers, creativity, and Cordilleran culture. Twenty years since its inception, the revelry has evolved from a simple festivity to one of the city’s largest crowd drawer.
It is said that like Bacolod’s MassKara Festival, Panagbenga’s roots were rooted both tragedy and celebrating nature, life, and culture. It was only a few years after the great quake that killed many locals and devastated its economy and infrastructure. The local business sector would like to perk up Baguio’s tourism economy once again, celebrate life, and somehow commemorate those who have departed with a bloom of flowers in this city.
|Students from Saint Louis University performed the Panagbenga theme|
|Creativity blooms. Baguio and the Cordilleras are known to export flowers to the lowlands. The cool weather of the mountain region is favourable to flower cultivation.|
|Of indigenous cultures of Cordillera and parade|
That’s why there are flower floats, flower decorations, and flower-inspired parade, she added.
|The traditional and the modern|
|The mix of Cordillera indigenous and a bit of Hollywood|
|Celebrities are staples in any festival in the Philippines. This one is Kristine Hermosa-Sotto|
That Familiar Panagbenga Beat
|Drum and bugle|
“Ayan na ang LSS of the month ko,” said Otek’s older sister.
Though it sounds modern, the late Professor Macario Fronda of Saint Louis University composed the Panagbenga theme, which driven its inspiration from the Bendian dance, an Ibaloi dance ritual of celebration of unity—which emphasizes the unity of the people of Baguio and the Cordilleran peoples.
Heres a video of a Bendian dance in Benguet
May mas malalim pa na hugot pala ang napakapamilyar na nakaka-LSS na Panagbenga beat.
|Visitor and a mainstay of Panagbenga|
|After the parade, Session Road turns into a crowded street full of people going to almost any direction in the city.|
|The floral float of Baguio and neighboring towns in Benguet Province.|
As for Baguio, hope blooms.