The popular Panagbenga or Flower Festival in Baguio City in February this year will push through minus the street dancing and float parades but with other activities retained.
The crowd-drawing festival is allowed to be held in the new normal by no less than Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, provided that the health measures imposed by the government should be observed like wearing face masks, face shields, physical distancing and without mass gathering.
Landscaping competition and other activities are still included in the festival as these would not draw large crowds, Magalong said.
Putting up bazaars like the Session Road in Bloom was planned by the Panagbenga committee based on their initial discussions to recoup the losses of the cancelled 2020 flower festival 25th edition and all summer activities in the city due to the pandemic incurring at least P1.6 billion in lost revenue.
About 4,000 workers were laid off because of the prolonged shutdown of tourism-oriented businesses like restaurants, inns and souvenir stores.
It was only in September last year that the city government started the gradual opening of Baguio’s borders to tourists from the Ilocos region.
PHOTO: Ash Velasco