Monday, May 27, 2013

Baguio City's Panagbenga 2013 Photoblog

I am a big fan of festivals, it shows a lot about the culture of the place and how much effort locals exert to keep it alive. One of those festivals that I have been meaning to see ever since I was a kid was Baguio City's Panagbenga Festival which is being held every February. Good timing that my high school friend invited me to join her friends to experience this one of a kind tradition.

Panagbenga or in English, Flower Festival, is Baguo city's month-long annual festival that features the beautiful flowers being harvested at the Summer capital of the Philippines. The famous point of the festival is during the third weekend of the month wherein there is a street dance and float parade. Both parades are being accompanied by marching bands that plays lively tunes and different sets of colorful costumes and lively dance numbers from the participants. The festival is also being broadcasted on a local channel for those who don't want to exert effort on going to Session Road.

Panagbenga 2013!

We were just in time before the street dance parade started. We got a spot near the bus terminal of Victory Liner, which is where the action starts! Take note though that in no way Caltex has sponsored this blog post, it just came to that we got a spot in front of this gas station which was also near the starting point of the parade. This post will be more of a photo blog as I would like you to see more of the displays and make you feel how it's like to enjoy the festival during it's peak.

One of the selling points of almost all festivals in the country is the street dance. This display was capped off by the local police, followed by different international communities residing in Baguio from Korea, Canada, and other more. Next off were parade from students all over the city and lastly were the people from the Igorot tribe in various places from the Cordillera region such as Kalinga and Tabuk. The parade lasted for about 2 and a half hours and the entire Session Road was closed during this period. We didn't wait till it ended as we got very hungry by 10 AM.

Local police kicks off the start of the parade
baguio festival
Students with their paintings, I am just not sure if this is being sold after the parada
marjorettes are a must on every parade, first
I super love this kid! He was one of the starts of the parade for us, beking beki lang and walang kiyeme itodo ang effect!
cute uniform from one of the band members will all the flower details
an elf with a charming smile and a big flower :)
flowers in their umbrellas and in their shoes
this costume looked nice and the kids from this group were very energetic
design seems to be Thai-inspired
panagbenga baguio
grumpy band?
a different costume that is more colorful and more flowery
lots of colors and very detailed

The groups on the latter part of the festival presented very traditional and ethnic designs which I really adore!  I really enjoyed this part of the parade!

one of the groups depicting tradition of harvesting flowers
panagbenga baguio festival
group of guys showing their worship for Bulol, the god of the Igorot tribe
I also love the energy of this group and also the designs of their costumes
a big display of the rice terraces of the Cordilleras
in such a cold weather, this kuya parades with his bahag, Igorot clothing for the male
strong women! imagine walking all throughout session road with just your bare feet!
pot balancing which is also very tricky but these students were able to pull it off!
I can imagine Lady Gaga having the same look. haha
this costume is so detailed! from the head dress right down to the leggings that is like tattoos of the Igorot tribe
men in their bahags carrying Bulol
reminds me of Amihan from TV show, Encantadia
I really admire this old lady joining the parade, flashing us with her genuine smile, even though she's wearing no footwear at all
cool tattoos! (these are fake though and not made by their mambabatok, or tattoo artist
her smile is so captivating and full of energy! bigay na bigay!
cute kids in traditional Igorot outfit
cute outfit!
Manila Bulletin's parade
panagbenga baguio
skater skirt from (recycled) plastics?

The next day, we headed again to our same spot and waited for almost half an hour when we realized that our spot was the "backstage" of the float parade, meaning we wouldn't really be able to see the parade here, but more on the preparations before it is actually displayed to the crowd. We went near SM to see a much more bigger crowd, but we still managed to squeeze our way in. After an hour though, it started to get really hot because of the number of people in the area so we decided to cool off somewhere and leave early. I guess we should have just waited at Athletic Bowl which is the last stop for the parade and all contestants head here afterwards for judging.

the float waiting for the start of the parade
the bellas that made the crowd (mostly males) excited :P
Shamcey's float
panagbenga float
the beauty queen gracing the event with her charming smile :)

panagbenga baguio float
Placenta's float
these guys sure made the crowd laugh with their dance steps

Bong Revilla (on his back), Ehra Madrigal, Sheena Halili and other celebrities from GMA 7
Can't really get a good shot of them with all the people in front of me

panagbenga float
Enervon's Float with dancing girls
women in their traditional costumes
Smart's float

For those who are interested to go here next year, here are some tips for Panagbenga that will help you:

* Reserve your accommodation at least 1 month before the festival. The rates could get more expensive and good places would be fully booked.
* Secure a bus ticket as soon as you arrive in Baguio. Lots of people are also commuting and seats could be sold out easily. Better be safe than sorry.
* Arrive at least an hour before the parade starts. This is so you can look for a good spot for enjoying the parade and taking pictures. Look for spots on your right side as to avoid the rays of the sun.
* Prepare your meds in case you need any. The festival is not for the weak-hearted. I tell you it could get really really crowded especially during the Float Parade.

After the parade, the group went to look for places to shoot, yes, I was with Lookbookers that time and they wanted to look for spots with nice backdrop and all for outfit shots. I'll be uploading some pictures on my next posts.

I really enjoyed Panagbenga. Not only because it was a good photo opportunity for me and my friends but it also helps on educating not only the locals but also tourists about the traditions and culture of the indigenous people of this region. I just hope that all the participants, not just the winners, are well compensated afterwards as preparing for the festival could be very costly and may have took too much effort and time, after all, Panagbenga is one of the main attractions that drives tourism to the city. I would probably go here again next year with family.

More posts on Baguio:


  1. Ganda ng colors sana makadayo din ako minsan.

    1. Yup super! Will go again next year if time permits. Sana makapunta ka next year it's a nice experience :D

  2. hahaha ngaun mo lang na upload par sa sobrang busy mo :D

    1. oo nga eh tinapos ko pa yung korea for na 16 days! haha


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