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Friday, March 23

Baguio's Panagbenga Festival

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2012 is the Year of the Dragon for the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio.
Part 1 of Baguio Flower Festival 2012
Panagbenga Festival (season of flowers blooming), is yearly celebrated in the mountain resort city of Baguio. Started in 1995, the festival now draws in more than a million tourists both local and foreign to come to Baguio to witness “thousands of flowers in bloom”.

If others have group photos and others have jump shots, why not a group jump shot photo?!

It was my first time to watch Panagbenga Festival last February 2012. Yes, I didn’t really get the chance to actually watch it live before, since I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning, stand for long hours just to secure my slot along Session Road and bump each other people who went their just to take some pictures of the floats. Why not just watch it on TV? It’s just the same. The only difference is that you were there when you saw the floats.

Shalani Soledad, Arnel Ignacio, Gelli de Belen and other Kapatid stars.

I was supposed to watch the street parade on February 25, 2012 but I decided not to attend anymore because I did have a lot of home works and reports to do. I still have to finish my construction testing reports and draw topographical maps. So I just limited myself to just attend the float parade, since it is really what tourists want to see. Besides, waking up early for two days—no not that time, I can’t!

Festival Celebrated:Panagbenga Festival (Baguio Flower Festival)
Highlights:grand float parade, street dance parade, fluvial parade, Session in Bloom, fireworks display on the last day (closing day)

Plan Before You Go: Panagbenga Festival Edition
I already listed some things to expect last time (Reminders for Baguio Flower Fest (Panagbenga)Spectators). We still have to list down things here, some important notes for event goers.

1.    THE EVENT. Panagbenga Festival is annually celebrated in Baguio City. The opening day is always February 1 and the closing day is the Sunday of the first week of March. But you don’t have to stay for that long because the main events (street parade, grand float parade, Session in Bloom and fireworks display) fall on the last weekend of February up to the first week of March. If you only plan to witness the street parade and grand float parade, be sure to spare the last Saturday and Sunday of February. If you plan to witness Session in Bloom, extend for a few days. If you want to watch the fireworks display, then you have to be in Baguio until the closing day.

2.    GETTING HERE. Getting here is pretty easy. You’ll just have to ride a bus bound to Baguio. Main bus lines that have buses bound to Baguio are Victory Liner Bus, Genesis Bus, Saulog Bus Transit, Dagupan Bus, Philippine Rabbit, Partas Bus, Dalin Bus and Amianan Bus.

3.    SCHEDULE. Prior to the event, please check Baguio City’s official website. They usually post their schedule ahead of time. But even if you don’t have a copy of the schedule, the last Saturday and Sunday of February are usually jam packed with events until night. The street parade or grand float parade happens in the morning, display of the floats in the afternoon, preparation for the Session in Bloom in the afternoon of Sunday and fireworks display on the closing day. Concerts are usually held during the night. Parties and trade fairs for one week (during the Session in Bloom). Plus shows of your favorite artists, singers and performers from among Kapamilya, Kapuso and Kapatid networks.

4.    THE EARLY BIRD. Wake up early. You should be at least there at 5 A.M. to secure a good spot. If you want to secure a slot just on the edge of Session Road, then you’ll have to be along Session Road earlier than 5 A.M.. The event usually starts at 7:30 A.M. so be patient.

5.    BOOK YOUR HOTEL. Book your hotel in advance.Hotels near the business district (Session Road) are usually fully booked during the street and grand float parade. If you are on a tight budget, there are transient rooms for rent along Sumulong Street, Bonifacio Street, and streets near Saint Louis University. They can give a room for you for just P100 per person.

6.    THE CAMERA. Never forget your camera. If you have a DSLR with more than 10 optical zooms, then better. And don’t forget to charge the battery or just bring extra batteries. If you have a media pass, then good for you since you can wander along Session Road and take better pictures. If you don’t have a media pass, secure a slot on the side where PortaVaga Mall is located. Most floats pass through this side. And all floats from ABS-CBN, GMA7 and TV5 pass here.

7.    OTHER ATTRACTIONS. If you are looking for other things to do, why not try boating in Burnham Lake. Let your kids play in the playground. Do biking in Burnham Park. Or just do picnic in the Rose Garden. Skate in Burnham Park. Or see other tourist spots like Wright Park, Mines View Park, The Mansion, Diplomat Ruins, World’s Largest 10 Commandments Tablet, Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy, Bencab Museum, Tam-awan Village, etc.. You may also want to try restaurants like 50’s Diner, KubongSawali and the newly built Ketchup Community near the Wright Park. Or head to La Trinidad for strawberries. Or a longer route to Sagada for oranges. Baguio always charms you. Baguio or Bora? Baguio!

Panagbenga Festival is just one of the many things you should consider when visiting Baguio. Aside from its cool climate, Baguio is a place to unwind, relax or fill some adventures out of your itchy feet.

Baguio Flower Festival 2012 Travel Series:
Part 1: 2012 Panagbenga Festival in Baguio

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