BAGUIO CITY – A Palace official underscored it is high time for the Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival to be brought to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community to strengthen the advocacy on enhanced cultural diversity and tourism in the region.
Presidential Communication Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said the city’s major crowd drawing event significantly improved over the past 22 years and that its gains both in the national and international scenes only proves that it is worthy for it to be exposed in the ASEAN community right in time for the country’s preparations as the host of the 50th ASEAN Summit to be held later this year.
“We are proud that the flower festival continues to be one of the well-attended festivals in the country to date. The Panagbenga is the only festival in the country that is included in the list of major festivities under the International Festivals and Events which speaks well of the caliber of organizers in staging of the month-long festival being both by the government and the private sector that is worthy of emulation in other crowd-drawing events in the different parts of the country.
According to her, bringing Panagbenga to the ASEAN community will definitely boost the promotion of the flower festival in the international scene and advance the city’s tourism industry, a major economic driver not only for Baguio City but also the whole Cordillera region.
Through the festivals being showcased by the different members of the ASEAN, Banaag revealed the stability of peace and order, the promotion of cultural diversity and tourism and the realization of robust economic growth will be achieved that will make the ASEAN a force to reckon with in trade and commerce in the world.
Banaag said the national government is currently preparing for the country’s hosting of the 50th ASEAN Summit which is an added opportunity for greater international exposure of the major products and even the key tourism destinations in the global village.
She also emphasized allowing children to actively participate in cultural activities like the Panagbenga will help in educating them about the rich culture and traditions of Cordillerans that had been successfully passed down to the present generation, thus, today’s youth must are also obliged to pass these on to future generations.
Banaag asserted the importance of learning and being proud of one’s culture and traditions that their forebears practiced through the years amidst the cultural diversity in the ASEAN region.
Banaag was impressed at the way children performed the various tribal dances in the region, saying that they can master the steps of the dances and the way to wear their respective attires which is a giant step in further propagating the rich Cordillera culture./By Dexter A. See#