The highlands of Baguio City in the Philippines has been known as the country’s Summer Capital. That’s why people make the long road trip to Baguio from Manila to escape the stifling heat of the lowlands and polluted cities in the metro. Another reason tourists travel to the City of Pines is the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga Festival. It is an annual flower festival in Baguio celebrated every February.
The term “Panagbenga” comes from a Kankanaey term meaning “a season for blossoming, a time for flowering.” This Baguio festival reflects the history, traditions, and values of the city and the Cordillera.
Panagbenga Festival History
The Baguio Flower Festival started when lawyer, Damaso E. Bangaoet, Jr., John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC) Managing Director for Camp John Hay, presented to the Board of Directors of JPDC the idea to lead the holding of a flower festival in Baguio. The Board, then led by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman Victor A. Lim and JPDC President Rogelio L. Singson, approved the project immediately. It was also decided that the Festival will be held every February.
JPDC presented the idea to the various sectors of the community. Their response was warm and immediate. The idea had fallen on fertile ground and well-received by the community, thus making the Baguio Flower Festival happen.
In October 1995, the Baguio Festival got its official logo from entries to the Annual Camp John Hay Art Contest.
After that, Professor Macario Fronda of Saint Louis University composed a Festival Hymn. The hymn was also based on the rhythm and movements of the Bendian Dance, an Ibaloi dance of celebration. The Bendian dance’s circular movements speak of unity and harmony among the members of the tribe.
Creativity, ingenuity, and cooperation were all over the place and people got into the spirit of things. Children from the City’s schools joined their elders in dancing the entire parade route garbed as flowers of every shape and hue. Businessmen came up with flower-inspired products.
In 1996, Ike Picpican, an archivist and curator of the Saint Louis University Museum, suggested acquiring a local name for the festival—Panagbenga Festival.
As the Panagbenga Festival evolves, new activities and initiatives were done. Tourists are delighted with what Baguio has to offer. The Cordillerans’ creativity, unity, culture, and traditions were highlighted and appreciated.
Cordillerans showcase their creativity by building giant flower floats. These will be paraded on the streets of Baguio during the Grand Float Parade. Along with this is a lively, colorful, and cultural street dance performed by the locals, mostly students.
The festival was a result of people’s desire to have a festival of their own, a festival that was uniquely Baguio.
Update: Due to the COVID-19, the local government of Baguio City has moved the Panagbenga Festival 2020 to March.Check out these new dates:
March 21 – Grand Opening Parade
March 22, 2020 – Panagbenga Cultural Dance Competition
March 28 – Grand Street Dance Competition and Parade
March 28-29, 2020 – Sponsor’s Day
March 29 – Grand Float Parade
March 30 to April 5 – Session Road in Bloom
April 5, 2020 – Closing and Awards Ceremonies and Grand Fireworks Display
Baguio Flower Festival 2020 Schedule
February 1, 2020 – Panagbenga Opening Day
February 1- March 8, 2020 – Baguio Blooms Exposition
February 1- March 8, 2020 – Landscaping Exhibition and Competition
February 13-15, 2020 – School-based Landscaping Competition (Judging)
February 14-16, 2020 – PMA Alumni Homecoming Weekend
February 16, 2020 – Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio
February 16, 2020 – Let a thousand Flowers Bloom
February 16, 2020 – Panagbenga Open Kite Flying Competition
February 16, 2020 – Panagbenga Cultural Show
February 16, 2020 – Fireworks Display
February 22, 2020 – Panagbenga Cultural Dance Competition
February 22, 2020 – Flower Tee Golf Tournament
February 29, 2020 – Grand Street Dance Parade
February 29-March 1, 2020 – Sponsor’s Day
March 1, 2020 – Grand Float Parade
March 2-8, 2020 – Session Road in Bloom
March 7, 2020 – Pony Boy’s Day
March 8, 2020 – Closing and Awards Ceremonies
March 8, 2020 – Grand Fireworks Display
Grand Street Dance Parade (February 29)
Grand Float Parade (March 1)
Baguio Flower Festival 2020 Guide
Baguio will surely be too crowded during the Panagbenga Festival because tourists all over the world will definitely watch the festivity! So to help you out, we’ve rounded up some guides to make your Baguio Flower Festival 2020 more fun and safe!
1. Reserve your transportation tickets in advance
Since the Panagbenga Festival is peak season for tourists, you might find it difficult to reserve bus tickets when the festival is coming close.
2. Don’t bring a car, if possible
Although bringing a car will make your trip more convenient, doing this during the Panagbenga Festival isn’t advisable. Some roads will be closed for the parade while other roads will be congested because of the pool of people who will watch the festival, that will make it harder for travellers to drive. If you brought a car, park it near your hotel and just commute or walk to the area where festivities will be held.
3. Secure your belongings
There will be security personnel around the areas of the celebration but you should still keep an eye on your valuables. Keep your belongings at your sight and hold them carefully.
4. Bring water
Don’t leave your hotel without a bottle of water. Always bring water with you to keep yourself hydrated.
5. Wear appropriate clothes
It’s going to be a crowded festival so wear something that you’ll be comfortable. Wearing heels is also not an option for this. Pick a pair of flats or sneakers so your feet won’t hurt at the end of the day.
6. Bring an umbrella
The festival is a whole day, month-long rather, affair. Protect yourself from the sun or the rain.
7. Wear sunscreen
Protect your skin from harmful UV rays of the sun by putting on sunblock. Don’t leave the hotel without sunblock if you don’t want to have burnt skin at the end of the day. Trust us, it hurts!
8. Book your accommodations in Baguio early
It is expected that Baguio will be full of tourists during the Baguio Flower Festival so we suggest that you book your accommodations in Baguio as early as today.