Your Very Own Panagbenga Festival Survival Guide
When it comes to February, we all know what that means. It’s not Valentine’s Day or Single Awareness month (sorry mga besh!), Panagbenga Festival is about to get it on! If you’re heading to Baguio City, don’t miss out this chance to witness spectacular sequences of events. Impress your date or go soul searching by preparing a road trip to watch this magical spectacle. This month-long celebration will have you reaching out for your camera. Prepare your things, pack a lot of energy, and see what this festival is all about! Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until next year to experience this amazing event.
What does Panagbenga even mean?
The term Panagbenga is borrowed from Kankanaey dialect, meaning “season of blooming.” This festival of flowers really put Baguio on the map. February was the month chosen for this particular fiesta. We can see why it fell in the same month with Valentine’s. It gave the perfect excuse for tourists and locals to visit Baguio in between Christmas and Holy Week. Others will say it was the festival to commemorate 1990’s Luzon great earthquake tragedy.
Flowers here, flowers there, flowers everywhere!
During this time of the year, the city is adorned with all kinds of flowers of various colors and sizes. For 21 years, the Cordillerans have joyously practiced this tradition to show off the beauty of nature. It gives a valuable chance to show off their rich culture and well-preserved heritage. These are just a few reasons on why you can’t miss out on the Panagbenga Festival!
How did the festival start?
It was a collaborated effort of the locals to put this festival in motion. After all, this was Baguio’s distinguishable trait while other provinces and barangays had their own fiestas to celebrate. The great thing about Baguio is that it has a cooler climate than Manila. Because of this, it has adopted all sorts of flora that normally wouldn’t thrive in the capital city.
Think of it as someone throwing a large garden party outside your very door! Stepping onto Baguio’s ground really makes you feel that you are nowhere near the Philippines. Away from the city’s noise and visual pollution, you’ll feel at home right away. Your mind and body will be reenergized from all the greenery set in this charming city up north.
Main Highlights of Panagbenga Festival
February 1 marks the opening of the Flower Festival at the Baguio City Hall Grounds and Baguio City Multipurpose Hall. Witnessing these events unravel gives you a community’s sense of involvement in their cultural traditions.
Don’t be surprised if you see dancers dressed in flower-inspired costumes during the street dancing event. These festive dances have been influenced by a kind of Ibaloi dance called the Bendian. You gotta see it to believe it!
The most popular street in Baguio is none other than Session Road. A detour to this incredible place gives you the chance to see it decorated with the most beautiful flowers. Your mom or tita will definitely enjoy this part of Panagbenga Festival. You’ll be entertained by a line of performances by bands and street entertainers. No need to rush because Session Road in Bloom takes place within a week from February 27 to March 5!
The Grand Float Parade
The Grand Float Parade is characterized by colorful floats designed in all flowers as marching bands play upbeat tunes. What an enchanting sight for the eyes! Want to see real cowboys riding dirty? Oh yes, watch them in perform stunts, play games, and participate in contests during Pony Boys Day that takes place at Wright Park. The month-long festival will culminate with a city-wide Grand Fireworks Display on March 5. Who wouldn’t want to see fireworks above a green sea of pine trees?
An Itinerary During Panagbenga
Brace yourselves because it can get a little chaotic with a sea of people during this time of the year. Roads can get blocked off due to float parades while others take a beating from traffic in the city proper.
PHILIHAPPY PRO TIP: Instead of taking the taxi or jeep, it’s ideal to walk around especially if these locations are close to each other.
It would be awesome if you can stay for the entire month in Baguio. If not, plan ahead of time by selecting the places that you want to visit. Make a map or a list if you have to. It will save you time and energy instead of wandering the city. Browse through our prepared Baguio itinerary for other exciting places.
Philihappy Pro Tips
- Pack light and bring the essentials like some cash (for pasalubong), water bottle, and of course, your cell phone.
- Make sure your power bank is fully charged to take pictures at the Panagbenga Festival.
- Bring a light jacket as the weather can get cold unless if you have the skin of an elephant. The average temperature during that time is 19-20 degrees.
- Also, what most people take for granted is sunscreen! You still need to protect your youthful skin from the harmful sun. Staying in Baguio means you’re about 5,000 feet above sea level and therefore, much closer to the sun. You’ll be spending a large chunk of time outdoors and invest in a really great sunscreen.
- If you plan to walk, it is highly advised to wear thick socks and comfortable shoes. That way, you won’t end the day with sore feet. You still have to explore the entire city the following day!
If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, this is the perfect time to prove just that. Not to anyone but for yourself, of course! Jumpstart that resolution by visiting Baguio City in February to watch this year’s Panagbenga Festival. Channel your inner lola by oohing and aahing at the lovely sight and fragrance of beautiful flowers. It’s not every day you’ll wake up, smell the fresh pine scent, and ogle at such a marvelous sight. What are you waiting for? Pack up your bags and go already!
What are your thoughts on the anticipated Panagbenga Festival? Can you offer some useful insights you can give to first-timers if you’ve gone to this event? Simply comment below or tag @Philihappy on Instagram. See you guys there!