Panagbenga opened Feb. 1

The grand streetdancing on Feb. 25 includes the children groups’ performance as rain prevented half from presenting their well-rehearsed moves at the Athletic Bowl, during last Wednesday’s opening celebration.

Of the twelve schools; Baguio Central, Dona Aurora, Quezon, Don Mariano Marcos, Pinget, Camp 6, Mabini, Dominican-Mirador, JP Laurel, Lucban, Aguinaldo and Josefa Carino elementary schools, six have performed their routines before the rain fell.
The soggy grounds and drizzle would prevent a good drum and lyre and dancers’ performance, Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced, after an organizers’ huddle for a decision to postpone.

The judges for the streetdancing and ground demonstration performances would be the same set, it was known: Gabriele Alinio, Ferdinand Balanag, Normita Pablico, Joseph Andrew Carvajal, Rochelle Joy Gonzales, John Glenn Gaerlan and Dennis Paraguas.
Streetdancers in the open category for the Feb. 25 occasion include those from the academe, and invited performers from as far as Bulacan, and Pangasinan. Cordillera provinces and nearby La Union have also signified intentions to join the merrymaking. An open category; of mixed performers was also mulled for this year’s Baguio Flower Festival.

In his message for Panagbenga 2017, Mayor Domogan asked that the public-private partnership that sustained the festival for 22 years remain, as it is the backbone for solidarity and continuity. He reiterated the focus of Panagbenga, for tourism and environment, to uplift the Cordillera culture, and a time of thanksgiving.

Congressman Mark Go also delved into history, Baguio’s rise to earn several designations such as the center for education, pine city, summer capital; and now with the Baguio Flower Festival’s ascend to fame through the years. Go challenged the younger generation not to desecrate and care for the environment. There are simple ways to help recover the blooms, sunflowers and greens, conserve water and retain the freshness of Baguio air, the congressman said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said the Baguio Flower Festival could be elevated to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) level, being the only accredited local festival to the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA). Panagbenga could be one of our accomplishment and pride to the ASEAN, she said.
Earlier, ASEC Banaag joined Congressman Go, Mayor Domogan and other city officials in cultural rites at the Panagbenga park and later ribbon cutting ceremonies signaling the start of Baguio Blooms Exposition and Exhibition along Lake Drive, Burnham Park. The activity runs until March 5.

Other events are: Feb. 12, Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio at the Melvin Jones Grandstand and Football Grounds; Feb. 15, School-based competitions; Feb. 17 to 19, Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alumni Homecoming Weekend; Feb. 17, Golf Tournament at the Baguio Country Club; Feb. 25 to 26, Exhibitors Day at the Ganza Parking Area; Feb. 26, Grand Float Parade, DILG area to Session road-Harrison road-Melvin Jones Football Grounds; Feb. 27 to Mar 05, Session road in Bloom; March 4, Pony Boys’ Day at Wright Park; and closing ceremonies, awarding and fireworks display on March 5.

All activities are anchored on this year’s theme: “Inspired by Beauty, Nurtured by Nature.” - juliegfianza