Panagbenga launching on December 18

BAGUIO CITY – The 23rd version of the Baguio Flower Festival (BFF), also known as Panagbenga, showcases a stronger public private partnership, Mayor Mauricio Domogan mentioned in an administrative order released last week.

AO 140, series of 2017 appoints Councilor Elmer Datuin and Frederico Alquiros as chair and co-chair, respectively, of the executive committee, which “promulgate rules and regulations, approve any additional activities, supervise, oversee and monitor the running of Panagbenga (2018).”

Members of the executive committee include Baguio Country Club General Manager Anthony de Leon, Councilors Michael Lee Lawana and Peter Fianza, Dr. Federico Martin, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Regional Director Helen Tibaldo, Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Venus Tan, Dr. Ramon Cabrera, Atty. Renato Rondez, Ctiy Budget Officer Atty. Leticia Clemente, City Administrator Atty. Carlos Canilao, business representative Atty. Moises Cating, City Engr. Edgar Victorio Olpindo, and Ms. Evangeline Payno.

A policy and program review committee is also headed by Mayor Domogan as chair, with Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog as co-chair, and Congressman Marquez Go as honorary chairman. Members are from government offices and private entities. This committee is primarily tasked to oversee the implementation of the programmed activities, as other committees are created for specific functions and/or activities.

The festival, on its 23rd staging shall be launched on Dec. 18 at the city hall grounds. As emphasized time and again by Mayor Domogan, it is “a government-community led tourism project, promoting the city’s culture, unity among its people, tourism and economic industries and showcasing Baguio as a city of flowers.”

As for now, focus is also on the city’s being a UNESCO awardee for creative arts, specifically on woodcarving and weaving; part of the city’s come-on for tourists.

Panagbenga major activities are the opening ceremony and parade on Feb. 1; Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition, Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom, Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Bauio, Grand Street Dancing Parade, Grand Float Parade, Session Road in Bloom, Pony Boys’ Day, Flower Tee Golf Tournament, School-based Competitions on Landscape and Floral Design, and, Grand Fireworks Display, Closing and Awarding Ceremonies, stretched over a month of festivities, in various venues.

In the AO, payments for the booths, special permits and fees at the Baguio Blooms exhibition and exposition, and Session Road in Bloom shall be paid at the City Treasurer’s Office. The net expenses from Panagbenga 2018 accrue to the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc, for additional starting fund for Panagbenga 2019.

A detailed accounting of the income and expenses shall be prepare within one month from closing, for submission to the finance committee, from which a full accounting of operations shall be submitted to the city government and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc., the AO states.

The Baguio Flower Festival is a much-awaited event for locals and even international tourists who flock to the city for the flower-themed activities, street-dancing and floats.

A much-detailed calendar of activities is due for release during the launching program. /Julie G. Fianza


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