Friday, May 13, 2011

PANAGBENGA 2011 - The Flower Festival

As early as five o-clock in the morning, despite the freezing breeze, thousands of people of all walks of like, of all ages, with their hats, bonnets and sweaters on, were lining up along the side street of Session Road waiting with great excitement for the Panagbenga 2011 Grand Street Parade on February 25 and Grand Float Parade on February 26, in Baguio City, north of the Philippines, the Pearl of the Orient.

Yearly celebrated, the theme for this year is “The Environment and Community in Harmony,” articulating the need for harmonious relationship between humankind and the environment to sustain life. 

The Grand Street Parade, participated in by government offices and various civic groups, colored the streets of Session Road, Magsaysay Avenue and Harrison Road with bright colors of red and yellow featuring Igorot street dancing by different school-contingents, martial arts demonstration by the city’s Korean community, and performances of several drum and bugle corps with bastoneras‘ showing off their skills for twirling flag-batons while marching. 

The street dancing ended in a competition of Igorot dancing and drum and bugle corps at Athletic Bowl. Surprisingly, one of the participating groups is a delegation from Daet, Camarines Norte, Bicol Region, with its banner implicitly promoting Pinyasan Festival.

The crowd favorite, six-year old Joseph, the son of the assistant baton leader of one of the participating drum and bugle corps, was playing a soprano piston trumpet among grown-ups.  He never missed to amaze the crowd at every instance of his corps’ performance.

As expected, the Grand Float Parade was bedecked with celebrities and business-sponsored floats of flowers arranged according to different themes. The most amazing of them all was the last one inspired by the Avatar movie and enshrined with a local religious icon, the Sto. NiƱo.

The parade of floats that bedazzled thousands of spectators for almost five hours also wound up at Athletic Bowl for the final showdown.