My Panagbenga Festival Experience

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Festivals have always served a major function in organized societies since its inception in the archaic periods of the great civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China: to remind its participants and onlookers of the eternal cycle of celebrations by which one follows a calendar of events that regulates their lives; gives it panagbenga festival meaning and significance; and punctuates the long periods of work and regular drudgery with a predictable and anticipatory sequence of feast days” by which one’s sense of beliefs, belonging in a community, and rejoicing in material existence are simultaneously observed and reiterated. In a word, Panagbenga has succumbed to festivalization”, a trend worldwide, which is the over-commodification of festivals exploited by tourism and place marketers” (Getz, 2010: 5). Generally, tourism and other developmental changes, have often led to the widening, rather than closing in of gaps or disparities between elites and non-elites.

In the beginning, the Panagbenga was a series of celebrations that were held over a period of 10 days encompassing two weekends: the first being the launching ceremonies, the weekdays being Session Road in Bloom and the last weekend was when the Grand Parades were held.

One of the missions of Panagbenga, according to de Leon, is for the different surrounding municipalities to be part of the festivities so that these places will get a share of the domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in the city by offering added must-see attractions in their places during the schedule of the Panagbenga.

In 1996, the flower festival adopted the local Kankanaey name Panagbenga which literally means a season of blossoming, a time for flowering” coined by archivist and curator Ike Picpican The first flower festival week in Baguio City happened from February 9-18, 1996 upon the approval of Resolution 007-1996.

The original Barangay Community Garden competition participated in by the different local government units, which was one of Atty Bangaoet’s most brilliant ideas that was designed for the city to have as many pocket gardens and mini parks as there were barangays, sadly no longer figures in the Panagbenga.