February is a significant month for the people of Baguio. It is when the coolest city of the Philippines comes into full bloom, literally and figuratively because of Panagbenga Festival.
The Blooming Flowers Festival was conceptualized 24 years ago to celebrate the season of blooming in Baguio and rise above the 1990 Luzon earthquake nightmare that the city experienced. In 1996, it was renamed as the Panagbenga Festival to reflect the rich history, culture, values, and traditions of Baguio as well as the Cordilleras.
Panagbenga is a Kankanaey term which means “time of flowering, a season of blossoming.” Like the essence of the word, the festival blossomed and attracted local and foreign tourists. It has become the much-awaited festivity in North Luzon, boasting an impressive record of 1M plus visitors during the duration of the festival. It was originally a 10-day celebration then it evolved into a 5-week fun-filled event from February 1 to March 10.
Top Reasons Why You Should Be In Baguio During Panagbenga
- Grand Float Parade (March 3)
It is the highlight of the festival, featuring the most fantastic, unique, creative floats decked with fragrant flowers. Your eyes and nostrils will feast on the sight/smell of various kinds of flowers adorning the floats as they parade from the Upper Session Road to the Melvin Jones Football Grounds.
- Grand Street Dance Parade (March 2)
Another must-see event during the Panagbenga Festival is the parade of street dancers who are dressed in flower-inspired costumes. Together with their own marching bands, different groups of dancers display their dancing skills from Panagbenga Park to Baguio Athletic Bowl. The winners go home with cash prizes.
- Session Road in Bloom (March 4-10)
Session Road is the city’s main street. During the final week of the festival, it is transformed into a haven for food, craft shops, and live band music (at night).
- Pony Boys’ Day (March 9)
One of the attractions of Baguio City is the “pony boys” in Wright Park. During the Panagbenga Festival, the pony boys show off their skills in riding as part of the competition among equine professionals, ranchers, and riders in various game skills/speed game categories.
- Grand Fireworks Display (March 10)
The long festivity ends with a grand display of fireworks throughout the city from 5 different stations. The spectacle fires up the sky as the Panagbenga officially closes with a ceremony held at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
- The Flowers
It’s the season of love and flowers in the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Enjoy the cool weather as you stroll around and enjoying giant flower decors around the town. Buy yourself or your loved one flowers and celebrate Valentine there.
- The Strawberries
Indulge your sweet tooth and try strawberry jams, jellies, candies, and fresh strawberry fruits from the Baguio City Public Market or souvenir shops.
Tips You Need to Remember
To maximize your visit during the Panagbenga Festival, check out the following tips:
- Book your transport and accommodation in advance.
- From February to March, the climate varies in Baguio, so bring a variety of clothes.
- Don’t forget hoodie jackets and sweaters.
- Prepare your walking shoes. During the festival, the city will be crowded and the fastest way to go around is to walk.
- Secure your valuables wherever you go.
- To get the best spot during the Grand Float Parade and Grand Street Parade, arrive early.
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