PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL: Floral fantasy, cultural spectacle

Baguio City's turn to amaze The breathtaking sight of floats adorned with a stunning array of Cordillera flowers steal the show at the highly anticipated segment of the month-long Panagbenga Festival 2024. The meticulously crafted floats embody the spirit of creativity and artistry that defines this annual celebration of nature's beauty. As spectators line the streets, their eyes are treated to a visual feast as these floral masterpieces glide by in a riot of colors and fragrances. Each float tells a unique story, reflecting the rich cultural heritage and deep connection to nature that characterizes the Cordillera region. | PHOTOGRAPHS BY KING RODRIGUEZ FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Grandiose and flamboyant floats decked out with beautiful Cordillera flowers, all meticulously put together with love and skill by the folks in Baguio City, drew 70,000 people who showed up to catch a glimpse of the spectacular event — the most anticipated segment of the month-long Panagbenga Festival 2024.

A total of 34 private companies and government agencies, including the SM Baguio from the SM Supermalls family, jumped into the float competition fray. Before that extravaganza, talented elementary and high school students of Baguio City dazzled everyone with their dance moves at the Panagbenga Festival’s Grand Street Dance competition. It was a feast for the eyes and a showcase of pure talent!

Vibrant celebration of culture, nature

In the breathtaking mountains of the Philippines, Baguio City bursts into a vibrant fiesta every February, painting the town with a kaleidoscope of colors, music, and flowers at the Panagbenga Festival.

Drawing inspiration from the Kankanaey language, “Panagbenga” means the “season of blooming,” symbolizing renewal and vitality. This month-long extravaganza not only celebrates the colorful blooms but also honors the diverse culture, deep-rooted heritage, and stunning natural wonders of the Cordillera region. It’s a feast for the senses and a tribute to the beauty surrounding us.

The Panagbenga Festival traces its roots back to 1995 when it was first conceived as a response to the devastation caused by the 1990 Luzon earthquake. It aimed to boost tourism and revive the city’s spirit after the tragedy.

Since then, the festival has grown into one of the country’s much-awaited events, drawing visitors from all over the Philippines and other countries.

The festival is a cultural and environmental gem, spotlighting the vibrant Cordillera culture with traditional dances, music, arts and crafts. It also shines a light on the region’s biodiversity, especially its stunning array of flowers.

Throughout the month, you’ll find a mix of events like street dance-offs, flower displays, garden showcases, and tasty culinary experiences with local flavors.

The Panagbenga Festival goes beyond its cultural and visual charm, leaving a lasting mark on Baguio City and its inhabitants.

Drawing in tourists has injected vitality into local businesses and craftsmen while instilling a deep sense of pride and togetherness among Baguio’s residents, strengthening their bond with tradition and nature.

Furthermore, the festival’s focus on environmental preservation has spurred efforts to safeguard the region’s biodiversity and encourage sustainable living practices.

The Panagbenga Festival celebrates more than just flowers; it embodies culture, heritage, and community spirit, inspiring unity and leaving a legacy of pride, beauty, and environmental stewardship.