BAGUIO CITY – Eight elementary school drum and lyre group and performers join the grand streetdancing parade on Feb. 27, with the high school and open category; the winners also to join the float parade next day, Feb. 28.
Mabini, Baguio Central, Dona Aurora, Josefa Carino, Jose P. Laurel, Lucban,Quezon, and Pinget Elementary Schools qualified, as clad in flower and Cordillera-inspired costumes, showed off with energetic performance from Panagbenga up to Athletic Bowl, Burnham Park last Monday.
With reversible gigantic fans, leaves and baskets, waving flags and fairy gossamer wings, twirling batons and umbrellas, floral head gear and anklets, recycled materials of plastic and newspapers, G-clef and butterflies, colored bands and sashes, palm trees, a mounted lechon, and split-second change in environmental and fiesta scenery, the schoolchildren performed to Filipino music interspersed with the Panagbenga hymn.
Melodies for the performances include “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy,” “Ako Ang Nagtanim,” “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika,” and local tunes, “Salidummay,” and “Layad Nan Likatan.”
Aguinaldo, Dominican-Mirador, and Don Mariano Marcos Elementary Schools have the option to join the parade; as announced after the drum and lyre showdown and performance.
Judges for the opening parade are Baguio-based performers, artists, teachers, and choreographers, professionals in their field; Dennis Joel Paraguas, Karen Anton, Jackie Ann Go, Ferdie Balanag, Elizabeth Calinawagan, Melchor Pablico, Joseph Morallos, Carmencita Zuniga, Sherwin Santiago and John Glenn Gaerlan.
Congressman Nicasio Aliping, Jr., Mayor Mauricio Domogan, members of the council, and barangay officials joined the parade, with the Philippine Military Academy band performing along the way.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan in his message acknowledged the hard work poured into the “historic, sensational, phenomenal and grand spectacle called Panagbenga.” The unified efforts through public-private partnership has brought us to witness the 21st Baguio Flower Festival,” he said.
The unwavering support and generosity of sponsors, talents and experiences shared by all participants is expected to equal or even surpass the grandeur of the festival’s twenty years, he added.
It is a privilege to see Panagbenga’s transformation through the years; and we continue to enjoy the grandeur and awesomeness of the festival. The flower festival is more than just a celebration and occasion, it is an opportunity to work together on what we are capable of doing and becoming, with the message that big things come from small humble beginnings. We have the opportunity to excel, and without resting on our laurels or being complacent, we become better to best, the mayor said.
There should be no personal interest, disunity or bickering within the festival as we unite, cooperate, see the flowers as glorious works of art, and look at participants’ sacrifices with good will, Mayor Domogan emphasized. We should treat others with integrity, he added.
Paanagbenga 2016’s theme, “Bless the Children with Flowers,” make the children the focal point of Panagbenga, the mayor pointed out. Thus, we should leave them not with money, but with good memories and examples, great lessons, a legacy of character, and faith in God, he further said.
Congressman Nicasio Aliping, Jr., also lauded the show of unity which sustained the Baguio Flower Festival for 21 years.
Student-volunteers from colleges and universities helped clean the surroundings before, and after the performances. Police interns were also around to keep order within the stand.
Other Panagbenga activities are: the on-going Baguio Blooms exhibition and exposition at Lake Drive, Burnham Park, up to March 6; Feb. 9, Chinese Spring Festival; Feb. 14, Color Fun Run; Handog ng Panagbenga Sa Pamilya Baguio at the Melvin Jones Grandstand and Football grounds: Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom, Kite-Flying Challenge, Panagbenga Fancy Dress/Costume Competition, Fireworks Display;
Feb. 19 to 21, PMA Grand Alumni Homecoming; Feb. 19, Golf Tournament For A Cause; Feb. 22, Boyce Avenue Concert; Feb. 27, Mr. Panagbenga Muscle Showdown at Baguio Convention Center; ABS CBN Kapamilya Karavan; Pacific Extreme Combat at the Baguio Convention Center; Feb. 27 to 28, Sponsor’s and exhibitor’s Day at the Athletic Bowl; Feb. 29 to March 6, Session Road In Bloom; March 5, Pony Boys’ Day at Wright Park; Panagbenga Princess Pageant; Handog Pasasalamat at Melvin Jones Football grounds; March 5 and 6, 14th Open Scrabble Tournament; March 6, Tambalang Saya; Closing Ceremonies and Grand Fireworks display at the Athletic Bowl and other areas in the Central Business District. /Julie G. Fianza