Bigger, better, authentic Panagbenga 2011 promised

BAGUIO CITY – A bigger, better and more authentic Panagbenga shall be seen this February with the concerted efforts and cooperation of all those involved, from the academic and business sectors, private and government sector and the community as a whole.

This was promised by panelists during the Panagbenga press conference at the Panagbenga park last Wednesday; with the Baguio Flower Festival Incorporated (BFFI) Executive Committee members present including Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Department of Tourism Regional Director Pura Molintas, Hotelier Anthony de Leon, Businessman Moises Cating, Urban planner Joseph Alabanza, Camp John Hay Chief Operations Officer Freddie Alquiroz, Father of Panagbenga Atty. Damaso Bangaoet, HOLCIM cement Philippines executive David and Police Chief David Lacdan.

It shall also be the cleanest and greenest, with efforts as to the theme, “The Environment and Community in Harmony,” the panelists collectively agreed.

As announced by the mayor, the Panagbenga Park along Camp John Hay gate shall be the starting point of all Baguio Flower Festival activities. It shall also be blessed and inaugurated an hour earlier than the opening and elimination parade on February 1. The park, in the first phase of development is being prepared with a butterfly sanctuary, coffee hut and other amenities. The second phase of development comes later, it was known.      
Environment-saving efforts are also first in the flower festival agenda, so tree seedlings shall be distributed among the BFFI board of trustees, and later to barangay officials for planting on available spaces.

According to DOT Regional Director Molintas, the authenticity of the streetdances shall be seen this coming month, as dance trainors, school heads and choreographers have undergone synchronized enhancement seminars on provincial cultural dances since last year. Six teams representing the provinces of the Cordilleras shall showcase the use of costumes, dance steps, hand movements, and over-all choreography to the tune of the ethnicized Panagbenga hymn during the flower festival; and are certified to be authentic, she said. Purely cultural music such as the use of gongs and the solibao as incorporated in the Panagbenga hymn were authorized by Dean Macario Fronda of Saint Louis University (SLU), composer of the Panangbenga hymn, she added.

The government-led, community-based festival is also seen to be participated in by local artists with events such as the Ipitik (wine-brewing and tasting) and wood-carving contests.

A magazine for Panagbenga 2011 is already in the making, it was announced.

Businessmen are being encouraged to spruce up their façade, provide tourism attraction by having flower-inspired building motifs, and involve themselves in the cleanliness especially of the city’s main road, Session road. Everybody is asked to be participants, and not merely spectators, including in keeping the city clean during the event, the mayor said.

It was also known that the “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom” will be revived with Paint giant Boysen providing all materials including canvas for a family painting affair; on Feb. 12 at Melvin Jones, Burnham Park. The Pony Boys’ day shall be on March 2 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl, Burnham Park. These two activities have been missed for the past years, thus a comeback.

The mayor has also promised that mistakes committed in the past shall not be repeated, such as the delay in awarding of incentives and prizes. The budget has been approved, so there is “no reason for delay,” the mayor said.

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