Panagbenga opens today

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Friday, January 31, 2014


THE long weekend will definitely be fun-filled for residents and tourists with 11 participating schools highlighting the opening Panagbenga 2014 festivities today.

Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. chief of staff Evangeline Payno said the participating schools include Kias Elementary School, Josefa Cariño Elementary School, Quezon Hill Elementary School, Baguio Central School, Jose P. Laurel Elementary School, Mabini Elementary School, Emilio Aguinaldo Elementary School, Lucban Elementary School, Fort Del Pilar Elementary School, Doña Aurora Elementary School and Baguio SPED Center.

Baguio Central School, which won the first prize in the elementary category of the street dancing parade in 2012 and 203, is gunning for its inclusion as the event’s Hall of Fame.

Panagbenga Cultural Society chair Dr. Elizabeth Calinawagan said the audience will continue to witness performances of various Cordillera dances but this year, spectators can expect more entertainment aspects to the street dancing both in the parade routes starting at the Panagbenga Park and the main performance at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

Calinawagan said there will be eight stops along the parade route, where participants will perform for three minutes for their spot performance every fifteen minutes. Marshals are assigned per entry giving the cue for the group to start the spot performance.

Spot performances, according to the organizers, are essentially for the audience to appreciate but have no bearing on the score.

However, points will be deducted for delays incurred during the parade. During the street parade, only held props could be used, with no stand-alone or platform props allowed.

Each entry is composed of a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 120 participants including dancers, musicians and majorettes.

Festival organizers, led by executive committee chairman Anthony De Leon, said the cooler weather expected until the end of February provides additional boost for tourists to visit the city starting this weekend.

Temperatures fell to 8.1 degrees Celsius January 19 and 8.8 degrees Celsius January 27 with areas such as Mt. Sto. Tomas experiencing 2 to 3 degrees lower temperatures than in the city proper.

Pagasa-Baguio weather forecaster Dany Galati said they are expecting temperatures to have minimum records at single-digit levels in the coming weeks due to the enhanced northeast monsoon.

As early as this week, De Leon said hotels have signified their fully booked status with only a few hotels still having available rooms for guests.

Meantime, several alternative accommodations are still available in the city such as vacation cottages, villas and condominiums as well as transient houses at reasonable prices.

De Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio, said they are expecting more than a million tourists in the duration of the festival particularly on the festival highlights on February 22 and 23 for the street dancing and float parades.

“The weather is still the number 1 attraction of the city,” Panagbenga co-chair Freddie Alquiros said.

Alquiros said the trend of the domestic tourism is toward the north with many people from nearby provinces and in Metro Manila, preparing their vacations in the city with upcoming long weekends for this month.

Visitors are expected to flock to the city this weekend with activities such as the Chinese New Year parade on February 3, Ibaloy Day on February 2 and the Panagbenga opening today.

Other crowd-drawing activities include the PMA Alumni Homecoming on February 15, Session Road in Bloom on February 24 to March 2 and the Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio on February 16.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan issued Administrative Order No.12 series of 2014 suspending classes from elementary to college on February 1 and February 22 to ensure maximum participation of the public in the scheduled parades.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 01, 2014.

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