Hotel, restaurant association to ‘take over’ Baguio Blooms-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, February 15, 2013
PANAGBENGA organizers are mulling changes in the Baguio Blooms (formerly Market Encounter) activities for next year.
Panagbenga festival co-chair Anthony De Leon said there have been talks with Baguio Blooms organizer and Baguio Flower Festival founder lawyer Damaso Bangaoet for the possible takeover by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) of the month-long activities.
The HRAB has been credited for the success of the annual week-long Session Road in Bloom that features gastronomic offerings in al fresco dining style from various restaurants, booths selling products and crafts from the different regions around the country, as well as entertainment activities including concerts, song and dance competitions, among others.
De Leon said the market encounter is “not a black-eye to the entire festival” but admitted “it is a setback because it raises issues in conflict with the existing trade fair ordinance of the city.”
Festival chairman Frederico Alquiros, meanwhile, said they have been thinking of redesigning and reconceptualizing the activity to suit its earlier beginnings and follow existing ordinances.
“Traditionally, it has a trade component but the most important component is still the landscape competition,” Alquiros said.
Both organizers said the Baguio Flower Festival Inc. is doing a forensic accounting of the affairs of the market encounter and promised to make improvements to avoid insinuations of some government officials that it is a controversial activity capitalizing on its present status as an opportunity rather than a problem.
But with the expense incurred by the yearly landscape competition from power, water and maintenance, Alquiros said the Market Encounter has subsidized the landscape activities for several years.
With the Trade Fair Ordinance prohibition, he said the Baguio Blooms activity cannot be compared to a regular trade fair being an integral activity since the inception of the festival 18 years ago.
“You cannot compare it to a trade fair because it has Baguio’s Got Talent activities and live performances, it has landscape and other activities there,” he said.
He admitted the Baguio Blooms needs improvements on the venue in Jose Abad Santos Drive citing the area is could hardly accommodate both the stalls and landscape installations.
“We are looking now for a permanent location inside Burnham Park for the market encounter during the festival as its current location is too tight where all these things such as performances, landscapes and selling could happen,” he said.
He said the activity has also been subsidizing other activities for the Panagbenga Festival, stressing they have to balance everything from the sponsors to activities without over commercializing the entire festival.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2013.