BAGUIO CITY — Mayor Benjamin Magalong emphasized the importance of partnering with the private sector in the organization of the Panagbenga Festival as he said that the annual event will still be in the hands of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) since it has proven it can effectively and efficiently handle its staging through the years.
While there was a proposal raised by the city council for the government to take over the management of the festival’s 25th staging, Magalong admitted that the city needs the private sector’s expertise in the management of an event with such magnitude as it draws a multitude of tourists to the city.
“If it’s not broken, then why fix it,” Magalong said as he pointed out that the Baguio City government already has its hands full in handling the planning, implementation and monitoring of priority development programs and projects of the city.
Traditionally, the Panagbenga festival runs from 1 February up to the first week of March with numerous private sector-led and government-supported crowd-drawing events lined up to entertain both residents and tourists alike.
The Panagbenga Festival was conceptualized by lawyer Damaso Bangaoet during his stint with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and started after the 1990 killer earthquake which devastated Baguio, with the aim to help residents move on from the tragedy and have tourists visit the city on lean tourism months.
The festival’s name “Panagbenga” was conceptualized by former Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan coming from a Kankanaey term referring to the blossoming of flowers in the months of February and March.
The event has also brought honor and pride to the city as it is the only festival in the country included in the list of the International Association of Festivals and Events.
Among the traditional events of Flower Festival include the grand opening parade, the street dancing parade, the float parade, the month-long market encounter, the week-long Session Road in Bloom, the closing ceremony and the fireworks display.
The 25th edition of the Panagbenga will be launched anytime next month to ensure that there will be sufficient time for the foundation and the local government to advertise the numerous events that will be lined up for the special edition of the flower festival.
At present, the BFFFI is working on the various activities and events to be included in the 25th edition of the Panagbenga as it marks a milestone of achievement since the inception of the city’s crowd-drawing event.