Baguio’s newest festival enlists big firms’ backing

BAGUIO CITY — Also wanting to keep Baguio City in the international tourism landscape, major private corporations are throwing their all-out support to the Summer Capital’s newest festival, “EntaCool,” which is meant to highlight the city’s creative populace from the grassroots.

Energy sector giant Petron Corp., for one, is getting reinforcement from its five-million customer base.

“Petron Corporation is assuring you that you have our support. In fact, in line with the city’s objective, we also want to revive the city’s old charm,” Jessamyn Clavio, Petron Corp.’s Loyalty Sales Manager, told the Baguio media in a conference here last Friday (October 19). “If you are familiar with the Petron Value Card, we have five million membership base and we will promote the festival to them.”

Last week, Baguio launched “EntaCool,” a festival that the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Cordillera hopes to match the Philippine Summer Capital’s “Panagbenga” or Flower Festival in drawing in tourists.

Coined from the indigenous word “entaku” (meaning let’s go) and cool referring to the cool weather in the city, will be a week-long festival held on Nov. 10-18 each year.

The festival aims to promote Baguio as a creative city, featuring art and cultural exhibits, cultural shows, live portrait sketching sessions, local crafts, talks on culture and the arts, and art demonstrations by renowned local artists.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) will also be giving perks and discounts to tourists, who will visit creative sites in the city during the festival.

The Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC), a subsidiary of food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp., is also set to put up ads along the highway leading to Baguio, announcing to travelers that Baguio has remained a safe and fun haven for tourists.

PIDC operates the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), which has made traveling to the northern Philippines a breeze for metropolitans.

“We are planning to install metal billboards promoting Baguio as a creative city,” Tony Reyes, a representative of PDIC, said at the press conference.

Davies Paints Philippines, Inc. and Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines are also painting the town red for the creative arts festival.

Specifically, Davies will sponsor murals on the roads of Baguio City, with the blessing of the Department of Tourism, said Jo Ann Viriña, a representative of the paint company.

Other companies that have committed to help promote the new festival are: Victory Liner, Northern Cement, Manila North Tollways Corp., “BEEP”, Max’s Restaurant, and Baguio-based Porta Vaga Mall. The Camp John Hay Development Corp. is also going to cooperate.

In November 2017, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) placed Baguio in its Creative Cities Network, for the city’s distinguished crafts and folk art.

This made Baguio earn the tag “Creative City,” along with 64 other cities from 44 countries worldwide.

The city government takes the tag as an affirmation of Baguio’s identity as a city of creative people.

Baguio City remains to be of among the country’s top tourist destinations.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Cordillera said Baguio received a total of 1.5 million tourists in 2017, or 77 percent of the entire Cordillera region’s total tourist arrival of 1.96 million.

With its inclusion on the list of UNESCO creative cities network, the city hopes to draw more tourists, especially with the possible inclusion of “EntaCool” in the list of festivals of the UNESCO.

Councilor Elmer Datuin, chairman of Baguio City Council’s committee on tourism, said that the city legislative body has approved the institutionalization of “EntaCool” as a regular activity of the City of Pines./Pamela Mariz Geminiano (PNA)