Baguio and ‘brods’ give tribute to the ‘father of Panagbenga’

The monument of the Father of the Baguio Flower Festival famously known as ‘Panagbenga’ or the season of bloom Atty. Damaso Bangaoet Jr.

BAGUIO CITY — The morning of 24 February 2023 dawned bright as the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc., the City Government of Baguio, and members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi batch 1959 unveiled the monument carrying the bust of the brains behind the famous “Panagbenga” or the Baguio Flower Festival at the Panagbenga Park in Upper Session Road, Baguio City.

The construction of the said monument in honor of Atty. Damaso Bangaoet Jr. was initiated and funded by Upsilon Sigma Phi batch ‘59. Bangaoet is a member of the oldest fraternity in Asia.

BFFFI chairman for life and former Baguio City mayor and congressman Mauricio G. Domogan said it is just right to give honor to Bangaoet who started a festival that became world-class. “He deserves to be honored,” said Domogan, who gave the welcoming remarks.

The city leader said Bangaoet, who was then the vice president of the John Hay Poro Point Development Authority, the managing arm of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority in the 1990s, drew the idea of Baguio having a festival of its own to invite more people to visit the Summer Capital.

National Artist Kidlat Tahimik (left) with Ifugao sculptor Ernesto Dul-ang (right) and Baguio-based artist Peter Pinder (center) at the unveiling ceremony of Atty. Damaso ‘Damy’ Bangaoet’s bust. Dul-ang and Pinder worked on creating the bust together that was unveiled on Friday, 24 February, at the Panagbenga Park in Baguio City.

Bangaoet then thought of a flower festival that drew inspiration from the Rose Festival of Portland, Oregon. What was initially known as the Baguio Flower Festival was named “Panagbenga” (the letter “e” is pronounced like “uh”) or the season of blooming. The first Panagbenga was held in the year 1996 when Domogan was mayor.

National Artist and Upsilon batchmate of Bangaoet Eric de Guia — famously known as “Kidlat Tahimik — said Bangaoet whom they call “Damy” gave Baguio a festival that showcases the uniqueness of the culture of Baguio City. He said that since the festival started, it put Baguio on the international map.

Baguio Country Club GM and Panagbenga Executive Committee chairman Anthony de Leon (right) with former Baguio City mayor and chairman of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Mauricio Domogan (center) with former Congressman Bernardo Vergara (right) at the unveiling ceremony of Atty. Damaso ‘Damy’ Bangaoet’s bust at the Panagbenga Park in Baguio City.

Also a Batch ‘59 brother, Archit Bartolome initiated and organized the monument project.

“Damy, I know you’re watching and listening, as we truly honor you and we are very proud of you,” Bartoleme said as he presented the monument to the Bangaoet family represented by Damy’s wife Laurel and their son Dr. Damaso Bangaoet III.

Upsilonians Batch ‘59 with Congressman Mark Go. At the marker are (from left) Dennis Abcede, Putch Puyat, Phil Castro, Congressman Go, Archit Bartolome, Kiting Villa and Kidlat Tahimik.


Loly Gomez (left), Pynky Magsino (center), and Laurel Bangaoet (right), wife of Atty. Damaso ‘Damy’ Bangaoet, the Father of Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City.

Baguio City Lone District Representative Mark Go was also present at the said unveiling. In place of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the congressman delivered a short message where he honored Bangaoet who gifted Baguio with an undying legacy.

Bartolome and Damy’s wife, Laurel, led the unveiling of the monument. The release of butterflies to culminate the event could not have been more approriate, as the flower festival blooms anew in Baguio City.

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