TWENTY-FOUR floats and 27 street dancing contingents highlight the weekend of the 2018 Baguio Flower Festival bringing the spotlight to the mountain city anew.
Eight contingents from the elementary schools division have pitched their bets for this year’s street dancing competition with five groups from the High School Division and 14 joining the open category set to delight the crowds estimated to reach 2 million.
Mayor and Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Incorporated chairman emeritus Mauricio Domogan said the return of contingents from Saint Louis University and the University of the Cordilleras signals a more exciting competition and promises a spectacle for the waiting crowd to witness.
Domogan said guests of honor for the street dancing and float parades will be Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and Presidential adviser, Francis Tolentino, confirming to join the annual festival, the city initially invited President Rodrigo Duterte to grace the 23rd Panagbenga Festival.
Domogan said a combined force of over 5,000 police and volunteers will oversee peace and order for the anticipated 2-day parades, dubbed as the busiest and most crowded in the month-long celebration of the city.
This year’s theme “Celebration of Culture and Creativity” will be in theme with the recent distinction of the Pine City included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) inclusion to the Creative City Network (CCN) will also see the marching bands of Saint Louis University, Philippine Military Academy, and the visiting Cavite contingent.
Joining on Saturday's street dancing open category are the Gardener’s Tribe of Madaymen, Kibungan, Benguet; the Tribo Man-apit of Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet; Tribu Tinungbo of Pugo, La Union; Ayyoweng di Lambak and Dinamey Baguio Cultural Group; Baguio Binadang As Nan Batawa Cultural Dancers; Am-among Chi Umili; Baguio Umili Ay Kalalaychan Cultural group; Tribu Rambak of Umingan,Pangasinan; Saint Louis University, I-Lubuagen Performing Group of Lubuagan, Kalinga province; Caba National High School, Shakrag Sadanga (Mountain Province) Cultural Organization; Tribu Bugkalot of Aurora province and the Chom-No Cultural Performing Group of Tam-awan barangay in the city.
Elementary schools set to face off at the Athletic Bowl are finalists are the Mabini School with the theme: Pigsa ken Kagam (a tribute to our culture); Baguio Central School with its “Legend of the blooming flowers in Cordillera; Tuba Central school’s Blooming flowers of Tuba; Josefa Carino Elem. School’s “Kulturang nagbuklod tungosa kapayapaan at kaunlaran”; Aguinaldo Elem. School’s theme of Fostering a culture of caring school); Dominican Mirador Elem. School’s “PAGBUKRAD”; Manuel L. Quezon Elem School’s “Baguio city of loving people who nurture culture and preserve nature” and Jose P. Laurel Elem. School that will perform the “Unfolding love and culture among the upland and lowlands.”
For the high school category, the participants are Remnant International College, Pines City National High School, UC-Senior High School Street Dancers Essemble, Baguio City National High School and Saint Louis University Laboratory High School that will perform carrying the theme “Panagyaman.”
There will be 11 big floats and eight small competing while Hall of Famers; Baguio Country Club, SM City Baguio, NLEX Corporation and the city government float will still parade the streets on Sunday.
Baguio Flower Festival executive committee chairman Councilor Elmer Datuin confirmed an increase in prizes set for Baguio Flower contingents in the street dancing and float parades.
Floats parade competing contingents will now be vying for a million worth of cash for grabs with top winner getting the plum and a P500, 000 while 2nd and 3rd placers will get P200, 000 and P300, 000 for the big float category while the small float contingents will compete for P200, 000, P150,000 and P100,000.
For the elementary schools division performers will compete for P250,000, P200, 000 and P150,000, P100,000, P80,000 or the first and fifth placers while 6th to 9th placers get P50,000 each, 10th and 12th placers will also get the P30,000 previously earmarked.
A subsidy of P20,000 for the 12 contingents will also be given by the BFFI.
For the high school division prizes are now pegged at P250,000, P200,000 and P150,000, and a consolation prize of P40,000 for 4th to 6th placers.
While in the open division contingents from the region and Luzon will compete for P300,000 - P250,000 - P200,000 and P40,000 each for consolation prizes for 4th to 7th placers.