Baguio City

Baguio’s blooms on parade at Panagbenga 2024

Mia Magdalena Fokno

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Baguio’s blooms on parade at Panagbenga 2024

Mia Magdalena Fokno

This year's Grand Float Parade highlights the community’s dedication to environmental stewardship, with floats incorporating recycled materials and locally sourced flowers, including chrysanthemums, anthuriums, and roses, among others

Baguio City, known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, was enveloped in a spectacle of color, creativity, and cultural pride during the Grand Float Parade, a cornerstone event of the Panagbenga 2024 Festival, on Sunday, February 25.

Drawing an estimated crowd of 32,000 spectators, according to the Cordillera police, the parade showcased an impressive fusion of tradition and innovation, aligning with this year’s theme, “Celebrating Traditions, Embracing Innovation.”

Mayor Benjie Magalong shared his vision for the festival, emphasizing its role in uniting the community through beauty and resilience: “Today we come together to celebrate not only the vibrant colors and breathtaking spectacle before us but also the spirit of unity, resilience, and the enduring beauty of our culture.”

Baguio Congressman Mark Go expanded on the festival’s significance, highlighting its impact beyond mere entertainment: “The Panagbenga is about community, about the farmers, artisans, and countless others who contribute to this festival. It empowers them, fosters sustainable tourism, and reminds us that our culture is a living tapestry, continually evolving.”

Among the parade’s highlights was the BCDA and JHMC float, a tribute to Camp John Hay’s historical significance and the festival’s spirit. The float, adorned with the festival’s official emblem, the sunflower, and a replica of the Bell Amphitheater Gazebo, symbolized the heritage of Camp John Hay and the resilience and unity of the festival.

The Binggrae float brought the world of Melona ice cream to life, with oversized replicas of the treat aiming to evoke nostalgia and encourage onlookers to embrace life’s simple pleasures.

Meanwhile, GMA 7’s float showcased the network’s values and the rich, diverse Filipino culture through vibrant floral arrangements and design elements representing the essence of Pinoy culture.

A standout entry was the SM City Baguio float, which not only captivated the audience with its innovative design but also underscored SM’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The float featured a mix of recycled materials and fresh, locally sourced flowers, emphasizing the company’s dedication to supporting local communities and promoting green practices. With its dynamic and eco-friendly presentation, the SM float exemplified the festival’s theme, showcasing how tradition can coexist with innovation for a sustainable future.

Despite the celebration, the event faced challenges, including three incidents of theft or pickpocketing during the Grand Street Parade on February 24. The incident were promptly resolved by authorities.

The parade also highlighted the community’s dedication to environmental stewardship, with many floats incorporating recycled materials and locally sourced flowers, including chrysanthemums, anthuriums, and roses, among others. This approach not only added to the visual appeal of the parade but also reinforced the festival’s commitment to sustainability.

Festival authorities also announced its winners for the Grand Street Dancing Parade, celebrating the ingenuity and creativity of participants.

The competition was fierce, with entries judged on their adherence to the theme, environmental consciousness, and artistic expression.

Notable winners and participants included:

  • Drum and Lyre Category Winners: Champion Lucban Elementary School showcased an innovative musical arrangement and outstanding costume and choreography, followed by Tuba Central School and Manuel Roxas Elementary School, which impressed with their performances and dedication to the festival’s spirit.
  • Festival Dance Category: Tribu Rizal took the top spot with their captivating dance, innovative musical arrangement, and excellence in costume and choreography. Narvacan Naisangsangayan and Baguio City National High School-Special Program for the Arts also shone, demonstrating the rich cultural heritage and artistic talent present in the region.

The festivities are far from over, with the eagerly anticipated Session Road in Bloom event up next, transforming Baguio’s iconic street into a pedestrian paradise filled with flowers, food, and artisanal crafts, inviting everyone to continue the celebration of culture, creativity, and community. –

Photos by Mia Magdalena Fokno

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