THE Panagbenga executive committee announced the city's preparation for the 15th staging of the Baguio Flower Festival, adding that it will be grander than last year.

Anthony de Leon said the Panagbenga will be more dramatic and innovative following the Department of Tourism's (DOT) recognition of the festival as the best in the country.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

He said there will be lots of surprises and events this year.

"We try not to raise expectations. We cannot afford not to make it better than last year," de Leon said.

De Leon said the Panagbenga will be the time where the city can maximize its exposure positively after the onslaught of Typhoon Pepeng.

De Leon said the Panagbenga is now the mother of all festivals as more provinces and cities are trying to come up with their own float and street dance parade.

He added that other festivals are slowly coming to the city to participate in the Panagbenga.

DOT-Cordillera Director Purificacion Molintas said the Panagbenga was the first festival to combine street dancing and a float parade.

"Panagbenga became the model for other festivals," Molintas said.

Molintas said during the festival, the city can expect millions of tourists.

Preparation for major events

Executive committee chief of staff Amboy Guevarra Jr. said Thursday, 10 elementary schools, 10 high schools and six colleges have confirmed their participation in the street dancing competition.

Guevarra added that 60 application forms have been given out for the float parade.

Session Road in Bloom committee head Anne Ramos said the committee is now on the second printing 300 copies of guidelines for the traditional closure of Session Road to give way to street market.

De Leon assured Cordillera products and stalls are the priority for the event scheduled on March 1 to 7.

Prices for the stalls during the Session Road in Bloom vary from P11,500 to P34,000.

Ramos said it will be up to the leases to maintain proper waste disposal.

She added that they have talked with the housewives in a barangay to take care of the wastes during the event.

Regarding the Market Encounter set on February 1 to March 7, de Leon assured better management of the event.

He said there will be no subleasing and proper waste disposal will be observed.

Another highlight of the Panagbenga is the Fluvial Parade slated on February 14 at the Burnham Lake.

De Leon said the event will be a treat to tourists and residents as there will be coffee shops, entertainment and musical performances around the lake for the event.

He added that the Panagbenga is promoting the Fluvial parade to create the feeling that Valentine's Day is not complete without spending it in Baguio. (Visha Calventas)