Panagbenga Festival is annual event that showcases Baguio City as a home of abounding flower depots and cultural traditions. This month-long festival held every February usually concludes on a weekend of grand floral parade and fireworks display.
It was in 1995 when lawyer Damaso Bangaoet, Jr. (then John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) Managing Director) initially conceptualized a festival that features the abundant flowers found in Baguio City. Upon hearing the flower festival proposal, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) Chairman Victor A. Lim and JHMC President Rogelio L. Singson immediately approved the project. At that time, the festival seemed to be a reasonably-sized project to help the city bounce back after the severe damage caused by the 1990 Luzon earthquake.
JHMC, formerly known as John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation (JPDC), took the initiative to coordinate with the different sectors of the community to build the identity of the festival. Consequently, the Baguio Flower Festival (BFF) Secretariat headed by Mr. Bangaoet was created. With the help of various flower enthusiasts, JHMC staff, and BFF volunteers, the Baguio Flower Festival was finally honed into a celebration of history and culture of Baguio City and the Cordilleras. The official logo, a spray of sunflowers, was a winning masterpiece of a student from Baguio City National High School named Trisha Tibagin who joined the Annual Camp John Hay Art Contest. Later, Professor Macario Fronda of Saint Louis University came up with an original composition of the Festival hymn which accompanied the traditional Ibaloi dance of celebration – the Bendian dance.
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. Since then, the flower fest became one of Baguio City’s main attractions that reportedly draws thousands of visitors. The Department of Tourism saw a significant upsurge of tourist arrivals every year that reached millions of both local and international visitors coming to see the famous floral floats and street-dancing parade.
Consequently, the formerly week-long festivity became a Panagbenga Month when Resolution 033-2001 was approved in 2001. In July 2002, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) was created. It was decided over the City Council resolution that the mayor in office would head the organizing body of the flower festival. During that time, issues arose regarding the accountability for festivities’ expenditures. When Braulio Yaranon won the mayoral seat in 2004, he founded the Baguio Flower Festival Association (BFFA) and took charge of the festival. Both of these organizations then became organizers of the festival at the same time.
Panagbenga Festival usually commences with the traditional dance of the Cordillerans, the Cañao. Attracting thousands of visitors are several flower festival-related activities like the Bulaklak Rock Battle of the Bands, a local arts show, a skateboard competition, a Dolls of Japan Exhibit and Eiga Sai filmfest, Kitefest, barangay beautification contest, the search for Mr. and Ms. Baguio Flower Festival, and the famous floral floats, street-dancers, and bands parade.
2013 Panagbenga Festival
Panagbenga 2013 Event Highlights:
- November 5 – Launch of Panagbenga 2013, Concert featuring The Edralins
- February 1 – Grand Opening Parade, Drum and Lyre Dance Competition
- February 1-March 3 – Market Encounter and Landscaping Competition
- February 10 – Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Regatta
- February 23 – Grand Street Dancing Parade
- February 24 – Grand Float Parade
- February 25 – Session Road in Bloom
- March 2 – Pony Boy's Day
- March 3 – Closing Ceremonies
Panagbenga 2013 Community-led Events:
- February 1–March 3 - Bamboo Carving Exhibit by the Philippine Bamboo Association
- February 1-2 - SLU Boys High Alumni Foundation
- February 1-2 - Ronda Pilipinas 2013
- February 2, 2013 - SLSC Alumni Association Motorcade
- February 7-10 - 39th International Platic Modellers Society Baguio Scale Model Exhibit and Competition
- February 10 - Bloom Baguio Bloom Launching: A Project by the Baguio Orchidarium
- February 11 - Chinese New Year – Spring Festival Parade and Fireworks Display
- February 15 - RMN Pop Fiesta
- February 17 - Philhealth Nationwide Run 2013: A National Run for Mother and Child Protection- Baguio Leg
- February 22 - Mr. Panagbenga 2013 Muscle Showdown
- February 22–24 - Panagbenga National Arnis Invitational Cup
- February 23–March 2 - 1st Northern Luzon Real Estate ExpositionAtrium
- February 24 - Panagbenga in Camp John Hay Camp-wide Parade
- February 24 - Handog Sa Panagbenga Free Concert ng Bombo Radyo Baguio
- February 25–27 - Panagbenga Floats Exhibit
- March 2 - Kapamilya Karavan
- March 2–3 - 11th Panagbenga Open Scrabble Tournament
- March 3 - Gray Area Solutions Inc. Panagbenga Run
- March 3 - Tambalang Saya sa Panagbenga – Z-Radio and Ecarta Media Productions
- Official Website of Baguio City
- Flower Festival Photo Gallery at Photo.net.ph
- Panagbenga 2008 Calendar of Events at Baguio City Website
- Panagbenga 2008 launched at SunStar Baguio Website
- Re-examining Panagbenga: A Historical Trail at Bulatlat Website.
- Panagbenga 2009 Schedule of Events
- Panagbenga Festival. Philippine Country Website. (Accessed February 14, 2008)
- Pedrasa, Ira. Panagbenga: Festival of Flowersand Schools of Thought Bulatlat.com. (Accessed February 14, 2008)
- Cabreza, Vincent. Cordillera tribes realize why they should not fear tourism Inquirer.net (Accessed February 14, 2008)
- Panagbenga festival at SM Baguio SunStar Website. (Accessed February 14, 2008)
- Re-examining Panagbenga: A Historical Trail Bulatlat Website. (Accessed February 18, 2008)
- “Panagbenga 2013 Event Highlights”.The Backpack Chronicles.(Accessed February 5, 2013).