Majestic lush green flower gardens beautifully rolled down on Baguio City, the country’s Summer and Vacation Capital, during the much-awaited Grand Flower Float Parade of the Baguio Flower Festival (Panagbenga) on February 27. “It signals the rebirth of tourism in Baguio and the North,” tourism secretary Ma. Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, who was Sunday’s Guest of Honor and Speaker, declared as she witnessed the revelries. There is no doubt that with the very good showing of Panagbenga back to face-to-face, Baguio and Northern Luzon’s tourism “is back”, she added.

“The flowers signify our relationship with nature,” Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong beamed, as Senator Imee Marcos who came on Sunday here affirmed that the summer capital is back on its
feet as the country’s Vacation Capital. “Baguio is back. Baguio is back in business,” she said. Almost two dozen flower-bedecked floats showing ingenuity and creativity in the Northern provinces fancied the eyes of throngs of visitors and residents as popular Filipino actors, actresses and even local artists boarded these “rolling gardens” up to the Melvin Jones grandstand along Harrison Road.

Screams of excitement and delight filled the air the moment the first flower float began its slow roll down Session Road, even as “Igorot” (Cordilleran) hunks in their native attire of wanes (g-string) holding unto huge lettered “Panagbenga 2023” added more to the thrill. Giggles also were
uncontrollable as the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) marching and brass band played famous and familiar tunes as the usually stiff standing military musicians swayed their hips with grace as they danced with the famous “Tang Ting Tang Ting” song of Vietnamese singer Hoang Thuy Linh.

Even Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo who was on board the Phoenix-inspired float of the Baguio City Government never failed the screaming crowd all the way to next twin-floats of the Baguio Country Club (BCC) with the fairytale “Aladdin” inspired creation. Twenty-four flower floats, both big and small, participated, said the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI), with Converge, The Fraternal Order of Eagles, Eevor Skin Depot, Mang Inasal, Solid North, Palawan Express, Province of Benguet, Unilever Philippines and Zaparita’s Garden fielding in the Grand Floral Float Competition – Small Float Category.

Avilon Zoo, Camp John Hay Leisure, Coca Cola Philippines, IKEA Philippines, International Pharmaceuticals Inc., Jollibee Foods Corporation, Sitel Philippines and Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority where Sen. Lito Lapid, TIEZA COO Mark Lapid and other tourism officials boarded, were fielded for the Big Float Category. Sunday’s Grand Float Parade signaled the near end of month-long Panagbenga though Session Road virtually turns into a week-long wide promenade area starting Monday, February 27, 2023 to March 5, 2023. Local as well as other food products from all over and other items and goods from different parts of the country are offered at the famous “Session Road in Bloom” festival esplanade.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

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