It was the last day of Baguio City’s annual Panagbenga Festival. Yesterday’s street dancing frenzy still left me tired even after a restful night at the Azalea Residences. Still, I wouldn’t really want to miss the Float Parade, it’s not everyday that I’ll get to see a whole carload of flowers made up to look like anything but flowers.
Since I was denied access to the media area yesterday along Session Road, I decided to make my way through to the Athletic Bowl and simply wait for the culmination of the parade there. It was however easier said than done. The crowd was so thick and even the once expansive parks are replete with tourists camping for the festival.
But I persevered and eventually made it through to the bowl. I found myself a spot near the gate where the floats would be entering and sat on the dry grass of the field for what seemed like hours. I braved the onslaught of the midday sun before the first of the Panagbenga floats arrived.
I have no idea what these floats really look like and it was kinda surprising and somewhat disappointing that the first thing I saw was an Angry Birds flower float. The whole thing was colorful and all, but I can’t seem to shake the nagging feeling that the Panagbenga Festival has now been totally commercialized.
Koreans ladies garbed in traditional costumes followed by kids dressed in red and blacks soon paraded to the grounds. It’s heartening to know that our Asian neighbors living (or studying) in Baguio City have an active participation in the festival.
An impressive dragon float followed suit, breathing smoke out from its nostrils. It was apparently SM Baguio's hall-of-famer float. It takes three consecutive wins before a Panagbenga Float is declared as one. It was really beautifully and intricately done. It probably deserves all the wins it got from the previous years.
And then the Storm Troopers arrived. They marched with their blasters to the cheers of the geeks in the crowd (okay, that includes me). The Baguio County Club’s Star Wars X-Wing inspired float soon entered, led by a real-life Queen Amidala and a flowerized Yoda.
Traditional local bands dressed in full regalia complete with majorettes started belting tunes from their bugles, xylophones and horns. It brought the festival back to Philippines; a local fiesta in the country cannot be complete without these banda’s.
A host of characters streamed by along with various media entourages. The day was really getting hot and the crowd kept getting bigger. One minute I was sitting in front of the parade, next thing I know, there were two more individuals sitting right in front of me.
Shrieks tore through the crowd. I thought something bad happened but it was only GMA 7’s My Beloved float; Marianne Rivera and Dingdong Dantes were aboard. People went crazy as they passed through the gates. And that was really all I could take. I let the people around me take my prized place and bolted out of Baguio’s Panagbenga Float Parade faster than my seatmate can scream AyyyyyyyMaaariaaaanne!!!
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