Baguio City will again be flocked by tourists, foreign or local, for the annual Panagbenga Festival that celebrates the blossoming of flowers held every February. It is a month-long colorful celebration and one of the most anticipated festivals in the north.
The highlight of the festival happens during the last weekend of February featuring a grand street and float parade. If you plan to join the annual festival, here are some tips for you to survive and enjoy the event.
BOOK RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME
Since the festival is being attended by everyone from different areas of the country and the world, expect that you will encounter difficulties in getting bus tickets and hotel reservations on the day itself. Some bus lines from Manila start to accept advance bookings even two (2) months prior to the festival. For the accommodation, people usually start to place reservations around December. But I suggest booking yours six (6) months before the event.
CHECK THE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
The highlight of the festival happens on the last weekend of February. Other activities happening on the sides are market encounters, landscape exhibition, and Session Road in Bloom. If you tend to participate in every activity of interest, you will not miss any if you’re aware of the different activities and can also plan your itinerary during your stay in the city taking into account the long list of Baguio City destinations available. For the official schedule of activities, you can click here.
ANTICIPATE THE WEATHER
Everyone requests for a bright and sunny weather during the street and float parades. However, rain was part of the festival some years in the past and you’re not allowed to get sick during the merriment so it is better to be prepared. Bring rain protections such as umbrella, raincoat or wear a hoodie jacket. Wearing comfortable clothes is also advised because you will be tamping yourself into a large crowd.
KNOW THE PARADE ROUTE
Location for viewing the parade is a great factor; Lower Session Road is still one of the best places to consider. Proceed to these places as early as possible for you to grab the best sites. Do this because a lot, really lot, of people will do whatever they can just to secure the best place to watch the parade. Also, some roads will be closed for vehicles during these times so it is helpful to know them just in case you are required to bring your car on the vicinity.
BRING LOTS OF WATER AND SNACKS
Since you need to be on the streets as early as possible, better to bring a lot of water and snack supply to avoid difficulties in searching places to get them during the parade and considering the number of spectators.
WATCH OUT FOR YOUR BELONGINGS ALL THE TIME
With the number of visitors during the event, thieves and pickpockets see this as an opportunity to do their modus. To avoid this situation, don’t bring too many valuable items with you. If you need to bring a backpack, always put it in front of you. For those who will be staying on transient houses, check and secure your lodging rooms before leaving for the parade.
Above all, for you to survive and enjoy Panagbenga Festival, prepare for long walks. Baguio City is not that large to roam around and the best way for you to enjoy the festival, the place, and the weather, is to walk! And before you head back home, don’t forget to grab some Baguio souvenir!