It’s February in a few days.
Love is in the air, the cold weather is starting to fade and the flowers are in full bloom and so is Panagbenga Festival 2012!
Panagbenga Festival is Baguio City’s national festival and literally means a season of blooming in the native dialect of the Cordilleran’s. The people of Baguio celebrate the beauty of their flowers which is an attraction to locals and tourists from all over the world.
It is a month long celebration that starts on the 1st of February and ends on March 4th. There are different major events everyday that people get to enjoy. Some of the major highlights of the festival are the Panagbenga Opening Parade (February 1), the Fluvial Float Parade (February 12), Grand Street Parade (February 25), Grand Float Parade (February 26) and the Session Road in Bloom event (Feb 27- March 4). Aside from these, there are a lot more events the people will surely love.
May it be dancing on the streets with locals boasting their native dances; or witnessing the talents of the youth of Baguio during the Grand Street Parade, Panagbenga will surely captivate your eyes and will let you experience the culture that the festival promises. Make sure to prepare your feet and have a hefty breakfast before going to the parade so you can have all the energy for the dancing and the long walks. A great number of tourists flock the streets of Baguio so foot traffic is expected. Wear comfortable shoes for the long walks and avoid bringing a car during the parade because all major roads are closed causing traffic.
A party is set as soon as the festival begins!
The festival is also a perfect event for photo enthusiasts for the picture perfect atmosphere it evokes. The colorful flowers, costumes of the participants, the smiling faces and the beauty of Baguio will captivate a photographer’s lens and an artist’s heart. Just make sure to be there as early as possible. People starts lining up the streets as early as 5 in the morning. The perfect spot would be at Session Road where the parade usually starts.
Baguio is famous for the products most popular to tourists. May it be freshly grown Baguio strawberries, ube jam to peanut brittles, a vast array of souvenirs can be brought home. The Market Encounter, a bazaar during the Panagbenga festival, held at Burnham Park offers these sweet treats and more.
If you are planning to take the trip up to Baguio this February, you may need to reserve a hotel earlier than planned. The Panagbenga Festival is a tourist’s delight so all major hotels are usually fully booked on this season. Aside from hotels, there are resorts, pension houses and transient houses scattered around the place. Lodging costs may range from 400php per person (transient houses) to 4500php on major hotels.
Here are two of my hotel recommendations:
City Travel Hotel Baguio
The Manor Hotel - Camp John Hay
Baguio is also known for the cold climate but since its February and March, the freezing climate begins to fade in favor of something a bit gentler. So make sure to keep those heavy coats and pack for light sweaters instead. Make sure to don in flowery and colorful clothes to join in the vibrant feel of the event!
The trip to Baguio from Manila is a breeze with the hourly service bus stations offer to passengers. It is a 5-7 hour trip by bus and may cost 450-715 pesos per person. If you are traveling by car, take the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) to Clark and then exit at SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) up north, then take the exit to Tarlac City, Tarlac to La union. Then a choice of the historic Marcos Highway or the steep Kennon road, where you can catch a glimpse of the famous Lion’s head, to Baguio. Its a 6 hour drive and the roads are steep so make sure your car is in good condition.
You can reserve your bus tickets here:
If you are planning to take the bus up north, make sure to reserve your tickets at least two weeks before the event.
TRIVIA: Didi you know that Baguio ranked 22nd in TripAdvisor’s list of best destinations in Asia for 2012?. Along with Baguio, another Philippine must see destination is Boracay which ranked as the second best destination for travelers not only in the Philippines, but around the world.
Enjoy the sceneries and the fun of festivals this coming February at the Summer Capital of the Philippines! Experience the culture and hospitality of the people of Baguio. Festivals, its more fun in the Philippines.
ABS-CBN will have a live coverage of the two major events of the festival. The events are:
GRAND STREET PARADE – FEB25 (ABS-CBN LIVE COVERAGE)
GRAND FLOAT PARADE – FEB26 (ABS-CBN LIVE COVERAGE)
Fluvial Parade Photos by: Monch David
Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. Office
Grand Parade and Flower Floats Photos by: Nikka Corsino