BAGUIO CITY — The 20th Baguio Flower Festival–Panagbenga 2015 was launched after the flag-raising ceremony on Monday at the Baguio City Hall grounds with the theme, “Panagbenga, Across 20 Years – Blossoming Together.”
Next year’s festival is expected to have traditional activities with an opening parade on Feb. 1, market encounter, street dance parade and flower float parade on Feb. 28 and March 1, Session Road in Bloom, sports exhibitions and competitions, Pony Boys’ day, and a grand closing program with fireworks in various venues on March 8.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in a press conference, said the highlight of the festival will include the Grand Street Dancing on Feb. 28 and the Flower Float Parade on March 1 which will be opened to all.
Domogan said the “Hall of Fame” title given to former participants will be lifted so that they will be able to participate again and enhance the color of the festivities.
The city is allotting PhP 4 million for the festival’s prizes and other expenses, the mayor added.
In the same press conference, Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) director Jody Alabanza explained this year’s logo design, stating that the festival will include the five Benguet municipalities around Baguio City comprising the BLISTT area.
The Benguet towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay have been contributing to the success of the Panagbenga since 20 years ago through the flowers being produced in the flower gardens of these areas, Alabanza said.
Meanwhile, City Council Committee on Tourism chairman Elmer Datuin said that the Flower Festival ushers in the festival season in Baguio City.
The Panagbenga will be followed by Lent and Summer Vacation before the rainy season.
BFFFI co-chairpersons Freddie Alquiroz and Anthony de Leon are optimistic that the income generated from the influx of tourists next year will be greater than what was recorded this year gauging from the PhP 1 million taxes paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Considering that the festival entices more visitors, provisions for parking, housing or camping spaces should be given more thought for Panagbenga 2015, Alquiroz said.
It has been observed that more tourists and some locals have opted to set up tents and catch up with Baguio’s February chill.