>BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The thousands of spectators had witnessed the traditional grand street dancing parade Saturday doubled Sunday morning as they flocked to the city’s streets to witness the multi-million floats that were decorated with multi-colored flowers and attractions that stole this show during the grand float parade, marching bands competition and drum and lyre contest, the second highlight of the 16th edition of the Panagbenga.
Local residents and visitors were amused over the well-decorated and colorful floats that paraded for over 3 hours along the city’s streets just to reach the Baguio Athletic Bowl where people were allowed to have pictures with the floats that were displayed for public viewing.
Twenty five floats from government agencies, private corporations and other major sponsors were used to spice up the famous flower festival as they were escorted by three marching bands, particularly the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), University of Luzon and University of Cavite as well as the sixteen drum and lyre contingents from the different elementary and secondary schools in the city. The floats that were paraded and displayed have an accumulated cost of over P150 million considering that each float costs at least P300,000 to P500,000 because of the expensive flowers used to decorate the said attractions.
Various flowers such as roses, anthurium, chrysantemum, everlasting, sunflowers, and other cut flowers among others in different colors were used to spruce up the floats that served as a major crowd drawer doubling the spectators of the street dancing parade.
All the floats depicted the need to preserve and protect the environment which is in consonance with the festival’s theme ”The Environment and Community in Harmony” as their decorations were fresh flowers which is a big improvement over the past festival float where artificial flowers were used.
Because of the huge expenses incurred in the making of floats for the competition that offers a relatively descent prize for adjudged winners, companies that put up a float for the Panagbenga take a chance to promote their respective products and services considering the huge attendance of local residents and visitors wanting to see the annual innovations to the theme of the floats of the companies.
Unfortunately, one float which is owned by the Young Artists Para sa Kalikasan was not able to join the float parade after the vehicle that was decorated with fresh flowers met an accident while on its way to the starting line along Upper Session road. Luckily, no one was injured in the accident.
While the floats were displayed at the Baguio Athletic Bowl, thousands of people flocked to the area to have their pictures taken beside their favorite floats making the environment in the city lively with local businessmen wrecking havoc in terms of their sales and income.
Organizers predicted tourists who visited the city over the past two days reached over 1.5 million which is much bigger than the tourist arrivals over the previous years.
Aside from the week-long Session Road in Bloom that opens on Monday, February 28, tourists will also be treated to a horse show during the Pony Boys Day on March 5 at the Baguio Athletic Bowl where they will be treated to a spectacular show with attractive prizes to be offered for those interested to witness their performances.