BAGUIO CITY – “Panagbenga” is a celebration of life, not death, and the festival’s floats should have used more living flowers rather than cut, short-lived blossoms, according to a high Baguio tourism official here.
Tourism Director Venus Tan said that it appears much work has to be done in this direction by way of reminders, among others, that using cut-flowers in the festival “doesn’t translate well to the (consciousness) of our children.”
The recently-concluded “Panagbenga” (local language for ” a time to bloom”) festival which drew more than an estimated half a million people, local and foreign, had as its theme, “Bless our Children with Flowers.”
During its launching in November 2015, the 2016 Baguio Flower Festival envisioned a more widespread use of the living flowers rather than short-lived cut-flowers. Even festival organizers vowed they, too, would be looking in the same direction.
The potted plants and flowers from the 25 flower floats that rolled down Session Road amazing hundreds of thousands of revelers could have been donated to schools “for the children to appreciate life and nurture it.”
“We have been looking at a 50/50 combination,” Tan said, “but the guidelines given to float participants this year was trimmed down to only 25 percent potted plants.”
“Panagbenga,” Tan admitted earlier, “is aligned with the tourism department’s national campaign “Rev-bloom”, dreaming that “Panagbenga” becomes a year-round celebration and blooms in February.”
The tourism department has embarked on a program called “Regreening and Re-blooming Baguio”, with the national government’s reclamation program for the city and world-famous Boracay resort, to bring back Baguio its old pristine beauty and glory.
“Perhaps, the tact and message was not really communicated properly,” Tan said, adding that maybe next year, “it must be a must!” This year, she admitted,they had merely indicated it as “urged to adopt potted plants.”
The message of potted plants and ornaments should be mandatory, according to Tan, and judges (of the flower floats) must base, she said, their judging on the compliance.
Tan, however, expressed elation and pride that the float of the tourism department during the parade that started from Upper Session Road to the Melvin Jones Grandstand was 50 percent potted blossoms and 50 percent cut flowers. THOM F. PICANA/northboundasia.com