Organizers of the annual Baguio Flower Festival have invited the neighboring towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay (LISTT) to formally join the 2024 Panagbenga festival by offering events during the month-long celebrations.
“We want the neighboring towns to join us by coming up with activities on the duration of the Panagbenga so that visitors in Baguio will have other activities and attractions to see while they are in Baguio for the flower festival,” Andrew Pinero, spokesperson and media committee head of the Executive Committee of the Baguio Flower Festival 2024, said in a phone interview Monday.
The invitation was made for the other towns of Benguet to benefit from the gains of the 28-year-old festival, which is a major crowd drawer and is organized by the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI).
“Panagbenga is a community activity and the LISTT towns are part of the community of Baguio and extending to them the economic gains of the festival is appropriate,” Pinero said.
Pinero noted that visitors to the country’s summer capital have also visited La Trinidad for strawberry picking or to buy fresh highland vegetables at the vegetable trading post.
“The BFFFI wants the visitors to also see the other towns aside from La Trinidad, which is the capital of Benguet, because they also have many tourist attractions to offer aside from cultural events, nature-related activities, and gastronomic experience for the tourists,” he said.
The festival’s theme this year is “Celebrating Culture, Embracing Innovation” and opening events will be held from Feb. 1-3. The grand street dance parade is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Panagbenga is a Kankanaey term for “blossoming” used by former mayor Mauricio G. Domogan to name the city’s major crowd-drawing event. The event is also timed during the blossoming of flowers in the city and neighboring towns.
The Department of Tourism in the Cordillera estimates that about 35,000 tourism-related business establishments in Baguio and Benguet benefit from the festival. (PNA)