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IN PHOTOS: Baguio's Panagbenga kicks off with grand parade

Artemio Dumlao - Philstar.com
IN PHOTOS: Baguio's Panagbenga kicks off with grand parade

Baguio City begins its month-long “celebration of culture and creativity” with a colorful parade. Philstar.com/Artemio Dumlao

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The 23rd year celebration of Baguio's Panagbenga Festival formally opened Thursday morning with a grand mardi gras highlighting the deep cultural roots and creativity of the people from Baguio.

Taking cue from its recent feat as the first Philippine city to be included by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the Creative Cities Network, Baguio City began its month-long “celebration of culture and creativity” as this year’s theme.

Speaking before thousands of Panagbenga opening revelers at the Baguio Athletic Bowl, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said: “I will convince (President Rodrigo Duterte) to attend the highlights of the celebration. Talagang kukumbinsihin ko siya na umakyat.”  

Creativity is an important criteria in the competitions for the Grand Street Dancing and Flower Float parades on February 24 and 25, said businessman Freddie Alquiroz, co-chairman of the 2018 flower festival.

“Culture and creativity need not to be 50/50, but 100/100 because they should not be exclusive from each other," said Alquiroz, warding off confusion that creativeness might affect cultural sensitivities, especially the highland Cordillera culture.

Baguio is a mix of cultures that we will be celebrating, Alquiroz added.

According to organizers, creativity comes in all aspects of life in Baguio, not merely artists and people but also businesses.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan, chairman of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. said that the festival remains to be a private initiated and government supported festival that shows Baguio’s display of unity and cooperation for more than two decades.

Creativity will be carefully woven in the month-long activities, said Councilor Elmer Datuin, chairman of the tourism committee of the Baguio City council. He also co-chairs the 2018 flower fest with Alquiroz. 

Artists and craftsmen will be involved this time, Datuin added. “We will showcase to the whole country and the world our creativity.”

Rep. Marquez Go also said that they will show "a synergy of all sectors in Baguio" as they encourage everyone even those from the grassroots to make the city a clean flower-bedecked community.

 Photos by Artemio Dumlao

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