Panagbenga flower float parade draws more than 50,000

Baguio City- An estimated 48,000 to 50,000 people flocked on the country’s Summer Capital on Sunday to witness Cordillera’s unique heritage displayed through Panagbenga Festival 2023.

They particularly watched the much awaited grand float parade which is the highlight of the famous event.

The Baguio City Police Office provided the crowd estimate based on the statement of Evangeline Payno, chief of staff of the Baguio Flower Festival organizing committee.

The grand float parade featured thousands of fresh flowers made the city bloom once more after the pandemic, honoring the beauty and bounty of the Cordillera Region.

“Panagbenga is a celebration of our culture, our community and our natural surroundings,” Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said in his speech at the grandstand here after the parade.

The floats, which displayed a message of joy, harmony and unity, were carefully and skillfully created by local craftsmen and artisans who used mostly fresh and real potted plants grown by farmers from Benguet and Baguio.

The entire grand float parade, the mayor said, was more than just a stunning display of Cordillera’s history, but a testament to its people’s collective identity and resolve to stay grounded in their roots while embracing the future.

He said that in the midst of a rapidly changing world, people from the region still find solace and inspiration in the simple pleasures of life.

“The flowers in the float are not just ornamental decorations, they are symbols of our connection to nature, to our environment, our reverence for its beauty, and our commitment to preserve and protect him for our future generation,” he added.

Thrilled to see Baguio City come alive after the pandemic, he said the vibrant colors and energy of this year’s celebration also served as a call for everyone to unite.
The mayor applauded the unity displayed by the residents here in ensuring the success of Panagbenga and their boundless potential.

Col. Ronald Valdez Gayo, Police Regional Office-Cordillera deputy director for operations and commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Task Force for Panagbenga 2023, said the crowd estimate was at about 50,000 as of 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Despite the huge number, the regional police chief said no untoward incident was reported.
The Baguio PNP deployed nearly 2,000 police officers to ensure peace and order for the duration of the event.

Meanwhile, nine groups for the small category and eight for the big category, including private firms, joined the float competition.

The winners will be announced on March 1.

The city government’s eagle-themed float was the first to parade down Session Road onward to Harrison Road and straight toward the Melvin Jones football field.

This was followed by the Department of Tourism’s garden-themed float and Baguio Country Club’s Aladdin-themed float.
There was also a non-competing float, Jeepito, touted as the world’s smallest Philippine jeepney at 2,336 millimeters long and 4 1/2 feet in height.

Its owner, Ronald Carlton Papa Tan, built the vehicle in 2015, powered by a three-cylinder engine usually used by multicabs, for tourism purposes.

The flowers used in the floats included roses, alstroemeria, chrysanthemums, Malaysian mums, anthuriums, orchids, carnations and stargazers.

The theme of this year’s Panagbenga Festival, “A Renaissance of Wonder and Beauty”, highlights the city’s journey toward tourism revival, sustainable and responsible tourism development, and entry into the new normal after the pandemic.

Tourism Secretary Frasco, a guest of honor for this year’s festivities also commended the people of Baguio, led by Mayor Benjie Magalong, for “nurturing the Panagbenga Festival as it is a true testament to the creativity and skill of our local communities and definitely a must-see for anyone coming into Baguio in the month of February.”

“Without question, the Panagbenga Festival, which started as a community endeavor, has evolved into a world-class celebration. A major tourism driver in Northern Luzon, Panagbenga reflects a season of blooming. Since its inception in 1996, it has played a significant role in both the local economic and national tourism development of this city and our country,” Secretary Frasco exclaimed.