There's more to the Panagbenga than the Grand Parades! Learn all about the other main events of the Baguio Flower Festival, with mini articles and features on each of the core events that make the festival such a success.
The Grand Opening Ceremony kicks of the festivities of the Panagbenga with a field demonstration composed of local dances and music by the different residents of the city. Folks are welcomed by short speeches from the organizers declaring the Baguio Flower Festival officially open. Usually a short fireworks display closes the Panagbenga opening Ceremonies.
The venue for the opening ceremonies is usually the Melvin Jones Grandstand on Burnham Park, and starts at sunset.
The Market Encounter and Landscaping Competitions are two of the mainstays of the Pangbenga that last the duration of the festival.
Market Encounter is a bazaar of Philippine products that usually have flowers as a theme, although in recent years the organizers have accepted vendors and products that do not necessarily conform to with the Baguio Flower Festival theme.
The Market Encounter originally held at Scout Hill in Camp John Hay, and is now located in Burnham Park. It's interesting to watch how its flavor changes throughout the years to reflect the tastes of the organizers.
The Landscaping Contest is one of the least visited but actually one of the best exhibits during the Panagbenga, where local landscapers and horticulturists give visitors a preview of their work.
And let me tell you that their entries just get better and better every year!
The competition rules specify an area size that the contestants have to follow while creating a small garden using the wide variety of flowers and plants available in the Cordillera region of the Philippines. It's fascinating how they can combine flowers, plants, rocks, and wood and native woven cloth to come up with the most ingenious designs..
You can find the landscaping contest entries exhibited on Burnham Park for the duration of the Baguio flower festival. It is a great place to bring the entire family.
Panagbenga Main Events
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The Grand Parades
The Panagbenga has two grand parades held on consecutive days, which are the climax of the festival.
Tens of thousands of visitors come up to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, to stand shoulder to shoulder and on tiptoe along with local residents as the magnificent floral floats and energetic dancers parade down Session Road, passing through Harrison Road until they reach Melvin Jones Grandstand on Burnham Park.
The first Grand Parade is that of Street Dancers from the different Baguio schools showing off choreography, costumes and and coordinated formations, alternating with drum & lyre bands in competition with each other.
The most popular and eagerly anticipated band is that of the Philippine Military Academy.
The next day features the Grand Parade of Floats, with spectacular entries that cause the huge crowds to go on collective "Oohs" and "Ahhhs!" as they travel down the same route as the parade of the day before.
Tip: On these days, expect to do a lot of walking to a pre-determined vantage point that you have scouted a day before.
Session Road in Bloom is a weeklong street party that is a favorite among the locals with sidewalk cafes, food stalls, nightly performances by top bands, and even a trained German Shepherd exhibition at times.
These are just a few of the main events. For a full list of other events, big or small, on the occasion of the Pangbenga, please see the updated schedule here.