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Panagbenga organizers ready for tourist arrivals

The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) assured tourists and visitors that the city is ready for the expected influx of travelers this February for the entire length of the month-long Panagbenga Flower Festival.
BFFFI co-chair Freddie Alquiros is confident Baguio is well-equipped for the upcoming festivities, specially in the aspects of accommodations, water and power, security and traffic. “Water and power have been addressed in the past, and thus operations have normalized without any interruptions. Moving around Baguio has improved due to new routes that have been studied and adopted. We have the usual cooperation of the different armed forces and the PNP for everyone’s safety.”
The Panagbenga Flower Festival, an annual fiesta anticipated by locals and travelers alike, was launched last February 1, with a drum and lyre parade participated by the elementary school students of the area.
The highlights will be the much anticipated Grand Street Dance Parade and the Grand Float Parade, to be held on February 24 and 25, respectively.
All month long, Burnham Park will play host to the Baguio Blooms Exposition and Exhibition, a landscape and flower competition, alongside an open market offering the best in art pieces, handicraft, food, and souvenirs.
“Festival mainstay events such as the Panagbenga Cultural Shows, Caravan with the Stars, Session Road in Bloom, Open Kite Flying, Open Golf, Floral Arrangements and Landscaping Competitions are likewise scheduled throughout the weeks ahead,” BFFFI chief of staff Evangeline Payno shared.
DoT Cordillera Administrative Region director Venus Tan expressed that Baguio has become a viable staycation destination for family and friends alike. “There are several happenings for the month, but people should also not miss out on the various sights and year-long activities for all ages.”
Respected hoteliers, Baguio Country Club GM Antony De Leon and The Manor Camp John Hay GM Ramon Cabrera both noted that there has been an increase in refurbished and brand new properties and rooms, covering all types of budgets.
As for food, which forms an important component of the festival experience, Mitos Benitez-Yñiguez and her son Jose, operators of the globally renowned Hill Station group of restaurants, opines that the boom of the city has brought about a multitude of dining choices.
Henry Dictaan, area manager of the Filipino food chain Gilligan’s Restaurant, reveals that they have requested additional orders of meats, vegetables, and fruits, and have outsourced additional staff from neighbouring branches to prepare for the influx of visitors.
“The participation of sponsors, the private sector, different government agencies, schools, universities, Baguio-based foreign communities, and the people of Baguio for volunteerism are at an all time high,” Alquiros said.

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