BAGUIO CITY — The city government has reminded candidates running in the upcoming elections not to take advantage of the 21st Baguio Flower Festival, more commonly known as ‘Panagbenga Festival’ in February for their political campaign.
City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said Monday that he will not allow any form of campaigning during the parades, including breaking the lines to shake hands with spectators, or distribution of campaign materials.
The candidates should follow the rules imposed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in as far as campaign posters are concerned, otherwise, these posters will be removed, Domogan noted.
The start of the campaign period for the national positions is well within the festival month and we will strictly implement campaign rules, he added.
The 21st Baguio Flower Festival kicks-off on Feb. 1 with the school childrens’ drum and lyre parade and competition which will come in the form of a field demonstration at the Melvin Jones Football field, Burnham Park.
The Grand Street Dancing Parade is on Feb. 27, capping the day with a field demonstration at the modernized Baguio Athletic Bowl.
Meanwhile, the Grand Float Parade will follow on Feb. 28, which will showcase colorful flower floats at the said venue.
The Baguio Blooms (Market Encounter) from February 1 to March 6 will depict the landscapes with first time participants from Tuba and La Trinidad in Benguet and the regular participants from Baguio City.
Innovations will also include lessening the number of stalls from 300 in 2015 to just about 100 this year to allow ample spaces for the landscapes.
The Chinese Spring Festival on Feb. 8 is one of the Flower Festival highlights to welcome the Year of the Monkey.
On Feb. 14, which is also celebrated as Valentine’s Day, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation’s “Handog ng Panagbenga Sa Pamilya Baguio” will be held at the Melvin Jones Football Field. This will feature “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom, a streamer painting activity for the family; the Kite-Flying Challenge; Panagbenga Variety Show and the Fireworks Display.
Other activities include the judging of the Floral Arrangement Competition on Feb. 19; the school-based Landscaping Competition from Feb. 15-17; the Session Road in Bloom from February 29 to March 6; the Pony Boys Day on March 5 at the Wright Park and the Closing Ceremony on March 6 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl with the fireworks display firing-off from five different areas around the Central Business District (CBD).
Domogan and the Panagbenga organizers are anticipating a busy third festival weekend with the conduct of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Grand Alumni Homecoming from February 19-21.
Traffic plans for the month-long celebration are now in place as alternate and one-way roads were already identified; parking areas were designated and notices to effect the plans are in strategic places for tourists’ early information.
“Bless the Children with Flowers” is the 21st Baguio Flower Festival theme. PNA / northboundasia.com