Baguio City all set for Panagbenga Festival in March

Zaldy Comanda/Manila Bulletin

BAGUIO CITY – The annual Panagbenga or Baguio Flower Festival is set to bloom again in March with activities limited to events that will not draw so much crowd.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he met with officials of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFFI) for the staging of the 2022 Panagbenga Festival which will only have the landscapes competition, heritage, and cultural creativity events.

Zaldy Comanda/Manila Bulletin

He said this year's theme is “Let Hope Bloom” but will not have the usual crowd-drawing event like the grand opening, street dancing parade, and flower float parade.

He said that organizers and exhibitors of the landscape events have to comply with the minimum public health standards (MPHS) and mass gathering will not be allowed.

Zaldy Comanda/Manila Bulletin

“Ino-open na natin ang Baguio City, pero andon pa rin ang requirements natin for entry ng ating mga bisita, pero magaan na ngayon, kasi wala ng antigen test na manggagaling sa Alert Level 2, kaya freely umaakyat na sila. Sa ngayon nga, nasa 5,000 daily ang tourist arrival natin and expecting na next week dahil long week-end ay madadagadagan pa ito,” said Magalong. (We are opening Baguio City but there remains the requirements for the entry of visitors but these will be less tedious because there will be no more antigen test for those coming from Alert Level 2 areas. Right now, we have 5,000 daily visitors and we expect the number to increase this week because of the long weekend.)

Magalong said more than 10,000 prospective tourists have been booking. “We are not putting a limit right now because we are studying the threshold and the traffic situation, compliance to the minimum health protocols in malls, market and other areas of convergence," he said.

"It is very manageable," he said. Magalong said the Baguio Tourism Council is now managing the portal for the registration of visitors and manages the entry of tourists.

Anthony de Leon, executive committee chairman of BFFFI assured that the festival will be toned-down due to the pandemic. “We will not expect the same tourist arrival but we are happy we will resume after two years of being absent."

He added that while the city is opening, the industry will not yet recover. "What we have right now is when we open the tourism again, we try to revive it. It means were learning to stand up again and come up again with new ideas, new ways of doing things under this new normal.”

The Panagbenga 2022 Special Edition will start on March 6 with the re-opening of the Botanical Garden and Panagbenga Open Landscaping Exhibition “Gardenscapes” until March 27.

The Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio will be on March 13 at Melvin Jones featuring FUNagbenga Zumba, Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom, Open Painting Exhibitions, Kite flying, and Cultural show.

On March 19-20, there will be the 9th staging of Ronda Pilipinas and 2nd Montanosa Film Festival until March 27, while a Flower Tee=Golf will be held on March 25-26.

De Leon also said there will be Panagbenga Open Dance competition (cultural and festival category) at the Melvin Jones on March 20 with limited viewers.

The Session Road will be closed to vehicular traffic to give way to the Session Road in Bloom on March 21-27.

The traditional staging of Panagbenga 2022 will end on March 27 with the traditional fireworks display.