‘Panagbenga’ weekend to draw tourists by the hundred thousands

Baguio City — Hundreds of thousands of tourists are expected to flock to this city to watch the grand street dancing and float parade this weekend as part of the Panagbenga Festival, regarded as the mother of all festivals and the biggest crowd-drawing tourism event in Northern Luzon. As early as yesterday, people from all over the country have been arriving ahead of tomorrow’s festivities as prepared by the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI). Evangeline Payno, chief of staff of the BFFFI, said there will be 16 participating groups competing in the grand street dancing parade. STREET DANCE COMPETITION There will be three competing groups in the open category of cultural dances — the Benguet State University representing the province of Benguet; the Itogon Cultural Dancers of Itogon, Benguet; and the Pamulinawen Dance Group of Laoag City. In the secondary category, participating groups are the Kalinga Street Dancers; the Lepanto-BiBak Dancers of Benguet; the Pinsao National High School; and the Baguio City National High School. There will also be a competition for the elementary level as well as participants to the drum and lyre band showdown. FLOWER FLOATS ON PARADE On Sunday, there will be 16 flower floats rolling out on the parade route. The number of floats has decreased due to budget constraints, a BFFFI officer said. It was learned that a big float costs between P250,000 and P400,000 because the requirement of the competition is that 90 percent of the float must have fresh flowers. SECURITY AND TRAFFIC The Baguio City Police Office (CPO) assured readiness in securing the event and the visitors to this weekend’s culminating activities of the Panagbenga Flower Festival, which officially closes on March 8. Senior Superintendent Rolando Miranda, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the CPO, said more than 1,000 policemen and force multipliers are fielded on the parade route, periphery and the highways leading to the center of activity to ensure security and traffic order. A rerouting is also in place.

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