Freddie Alquiros, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Anthony De Leon

Floats bloom at Baguio Panagbenga Festival
C‘EST CEBU - Honey Jarque Loop (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2018 - 12:00am

Panagbenga, the month-long annual flower festival of Baguio, reflects the heritage and history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras.

Tapping community spirit involvement, this year’s  23rd festivities carries the main theme “Celebration of Culture and Creativity” to commemorate Baguio’s inclusion in the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Creative Cities List.

A total of 29 groups joined in the  street dancing parade — eight vying in the Elementary Division, 14 in the High School Division and five in the Open Division.

Eliciting much applause were the street dance ensemble that had the following winners: Baguio Central School in the Elementary Division, the University of the Cordilleras, High School Division and Saint Louis University in the Open Category.

Baguio Central School, Street Dance champion (Elementary Division)

On Sunday, two Float Hall of Famers SM and Baguio Country Club started off the much-anticipated parade of the year.

The grand winner in the Big Float Category was Master Siomai inspired by the popular Chinese dumpling, which displayed an East Asian garden with harmonious shapes. M Lhuillier, a multinational company with various interests and owned by well-respected Cebuano businessman-entrepreneur Michel Lhuillier, came in second. Sitel Philippines, a subsidiary of Sitel World Corporation that offers technical support and loyalty programs, came in third. The floats consisted of larger- than-life figures covered with flowers, arranged in rows of different heights to create volume.

The champion in the Small Float Category was Maybank with its iconic tiger taking center stage. Saleng Metro Pacific and Coca Cola, both ablaze with vibrant and colorful flowers, came in second and third, respectively.

Cebu-based International Pharmaceuticals brought the parade to an end by having Santo Niño de Cebu as the centerpiece.

SM Hall of Famer

Definetly crowd favorites were the artistas from GMA 7 and ABS-CBN.

GMA had real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, together with the upcoming afternoon soap Contessa and The Clash, with Ruru Madrid and Matt Evans, and Glaiza de Castro and Jak Roberto.

ABS-CBN had actor and film producer Coco Martin, former Senator Lito Lapid,  veteran actor Michael de Mesa, versatile film and television actress Angel Aquino, and impersonator Jason Gainza.

Also seen at the event  were celebrity endorsers  Dionisia Pacquiao and comedian Empoy Marquez.

University of Cordilleras, champion (High School Category)

Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan said, “The people of Baguio cooperated throughout the festival. The traffic within the city was well under control. New hotels, resorts and inns have been inaugurated. And as a bonus, Baguio has never been closer due to the new infrastructures. ”

Freddie Alquiros, the dedicated co-chair, shares that he was thankful that “the festival now markets itself due to its admirable qualities, a balance of culture and the arts, entertainment and fun.”

As the Baguio Flower Festival evolves, new activities serve as opportunities to enrich the Panagbenga spirit. They infuse the celebration with vitality and charm, as well as the unique traditions of each group or individual that partakes of it. Collectively, they stimulate the festival giving it color, substance and character that creates an identity which reflects the richness of Baguio’s own culture.

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