Panagbenga is a month-long yearly festival held during February in Baguio City. The highlights of this festival is the Street Dancing Parade and the Floral Float Parade, which is usually done on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month. Panagbenga is concluded with Session in Bloom, a trade fair where businesses from all around the Philippines showcase their products and services.
Panagbenga means season of blooming where blossoming of flowers is believed to be at its peak in February. Flowers, apart from strawberries, brooms, peanut brittle, fruit jams, and the like, are one of the products Baguio City is well-known for. What was believed to have started as a thanksgiving for a bountiful flower harvest is now a grand celebration that attracts local and foreign tourists. But above all, Panagbenga helps to let the new generation, indigenous or alien, rediscover and appreciate Cordillera’s old traditions as well as the culture.
For many years, I’ve always stayed at home during these parade days. I don’t want to get caught in traffic or get trapped in the crowd. But this year, I braved being pushed (and to push when necessary) because I seriously need to watch the parades personally (even just once in my life, I’ve experienced watching it). And in the end, I found it all worth it.
So here I was, woke up at 5:00 AM to prepare myself and leave home by 6:00 AM. I could either jog or ride a cab going downtown. I was lucky to catch a ride. To my surprise, flocks of people are already gathered along the roadside. Now I think I’m too late to find a good spot and I need to look for a place that has a view. I was able to secure myself in an acceptable good spot but simply not the best as it doesn’t offer a good vantage point (especially without a telephoto lens).
Safety and security is one of Baguio City’s top priorities during this event.
More people flocked the sidewalks in anticipation for the parade.
And finally, the parade begins… no, wait!
At around 10:00 AM, the parade finally started (at least from where I was at).
Soon the street dancers arrived. Oh, my shots are only as good as my vantage point provides. Here are some of the shots that I got, in no particular order of the performers.
The melodies of drums and lyres from different groups of street dancers filled the air. All the participants performed graciously with their street dancing exhibitions. Despite the scorching heat, they managed to execute their routines very well.
And of course, the parade will never be complete without showcasing Cañao, the traditional and indigenous ceremonial dance of the Cordillerans.
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