WITH MORE than nearly a million visitors flocking Baguio City during the weekend’s twin parade, a cabinet official has lauded the efforts of the Summer Capital in sustaining the annual Panagbenga Festival.
Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo also acknowledged city officials, the academe, different line agencies, and civil society organization in Baguio City for being part of the Unesco creative city network.
"Panagbenga continues to draw numerous local and foreign tourist as one of the country's biggest and most visited and long standing festival. This is the only Philippine festival that is registered with an international festival and events association and has made a significant contribution towards the achievement of the tourism targets," said Teo.
Teo added tourist arrivals in the country has switch an old time high record with an increase of 50.97 percent with more than 700,000 foreigners visiting the Philippines which is among the top contributors to gross domestic product.
“With today's celebration, we are certain that tourism figures will continue to soar, a clear indication that tourism is indeed alive and famous in the Philippines," said Teo.
Following the grand street and float parade of the flower festival, tourists also flock nearby La Trinidad visiting the Stobosa Hillside Home Artwork and strawberry farm and Atok town’s cabbage rose farm, sakura park, and Mt. Timbac.
The DOT top official was the guest of honor and speaker during Sunday’s float parade as celebrities from network giants ABS-CBN and GMA also stormed the celebration.
GMA stars Miss World 2013 Megan Young, actress Glaiza de Castro and actors Mikael Daez, Matt Evans, Ruru Madrid, and Jack Roberto rode on their float while promoting their new soap opera for the network.
ABS-CBN’s Ang Probinsyanos’ Coco Martin Angel Aquino, Michael De Mesa, and former Senator Lito Lapid serenaded the crowd while on their float.
Joining the parade is comedian Empoy Marquez known as the 'Funny is the new pogi' while basketball star Asi Taulava and other members of the NLEX Road Warriors joined the festivity while Dionisia Pacquiao, mother of Pambansang Kamao and Senator Manny was also part of the festival.
Also spotted was Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III during Sunday's program.
A total of eight float entries joined the small float category, 11 competed in the big float with four others in the non-competing category led by the city government.
On Monday, Session Road in Bloom was formally opened to the public. Winners of the float parade will be announced on Wednesday.