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Baguio's Penagbenga - Philippines Travel
Four new events designed to further pique the public’s excitement and interest are to be launched. Dubbed the “Burnham Lake Flower Fest,” they are expected to become hit attractions. These activities are a revival of the fluvial parade held in the lagoon in the 1960s. These include a pier decoration contest and boat races, where participants are assigned to beautify and decorate with flowers designated mini-piers along the lake’s embankment. The top three winners will each receive a trophy and corresponding cash prizes.
Seven boat races and two games are also held. These are competitions in the team rowing events: the two-, four-, six-man and two-woman relay, two-boat relay, solo expert-class rowing and individual bamboo-raft sailing. Games to be played include towing and a “push-me-over’ contest. The afternoon will be capped by the fluvial parade, where literal floats will vie for the titles of Most Original Design, Most Symbolic Design and Most Colorful Design. The top winner garners the Best Designed Float award plus a cash prize.
Session Road will be closed to vehicular traffic in what is called “Session Road in Bloom.” Baguio’s main street will literally be awash in color as establishments lining it and other concessionaires put up stalls teeming with food, flowers and other wares for the promenade, outdoing each other in their presentation. Outdoor concerts will be held, and an al fresco, sidewalk-café atmosphere reminiscent of Malate pervades at night. Wright Park’s Pony Boys will have their day as they gallop around, performing various exhibitions and playing games in costume for the viewing crowd, of course on horseback.
On the sports front, various events will coincide with the formal opening of the Festival. The Flower Tee golf tournament tees off at the Camp John Hay while there will be simultaneous launches of table tennis and open chess at designated venues. Muscle buffs can look forward to the Mr. Panagbenga bodybuilding, while a marathon along the Pugo-Baguio route is also expected. Extreme sports in the form of ramp skateboarding and mountain-bike racing will also make their debut, with the date and venue to be announced. Exhibitions and competitions in lawn tennis, football and martial arts will be held at venues all over the city.
Panagbenga is without a doubt a festival that all Filipinos—not only those from Baguio—could be proud of and shout to the entire world. It showcases the artistry of the Filipino and our passion for merry-making which makes us perhaps one of the happiest and carefree peoples in the world.