Panagbenga Festival in Baguio

PauTravels and Jen visits Panagbenga Festival of Baguio

The whole year round, cities and towns around the Philippines celebrates a festival or fiesta in celebration of their patron’s day, cityhood, or for other purposes. And among these different festivals, the hilly city of Baguio at the Cordillera Mountain Range celebrates one of its own, the Panagbenga.

Panagbenga, which meant ‘season of blooming’, is celebrated annually during the month of February by giving tribute to one of city’s main produce, flowers. Baguio City is blessed with a cool weather year round making it a good planting ground for flowering plants. During the festival, the city’s main commercial street of Session Road is closed from vehicular traffic to give way to the celebrations.

A parade of dancers and performers from the city, neighboring towns and tribes join in the celebration. And, a number of floats made fully by flowers are paraded on Session. The flower filled floats may be compared with the floats during Pasadena’s Rose Parade, but Baguio’s floats are smaller and less intricate. The festival usually lasts for a week, with the parade of flowers being done on the last day of the whole celebration.

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Trip to Sagada

PauTravels at the pools underneath the ground and within the Sagada Cave

On the night of Christmas 2006, me and 3 relatives went to the beautiful and enchanted mountains of the Ifugao.  We stayed in Banaue Hotel under a tour package provided by the Philippine Tourism Authority.  On our 2nd day of stay in Banaue, as part of our tour package, we travel to another off-the-beaten-track tourist destination, Sagada.

Sagada, is a small town in the Mountain Province, in the midst of the Cordillera Mountain Range on the island of Luzon, Philippines.  Sagada is about 3 hours drive north of Banaue and about 10 hours drive from the city of Baguio through zigzagged and rough roads on the steep mountain sides of Cordillera. Sagada is a well known tourist destination for its underground caves and the hanging coffins.  Around the town’s limestone cliffs, wooden coffins can be found hanging by the cliff side.   It was a burial tradition performed by local tribes that inhabit the mountains.

The drive to the place is quite long and a bit tiring but the mountain areas that you’ll pass by is amazing and very beautiful.  You’ll pass by rice terraces, vegetable terraces and pine-fill mountains.  Driving through the dirt road will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.  Along the path, we passed the town of Bontoc, the capital of the Mountain Province around 11AM.  Our guide informed us that we’ll proceed to the Sagada Cave first since there will be more tourist flocking the cave by noon and afterwards.

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Trip to Banaue

PauTravels in picture taken with Ifugao elders

Christmas last year (2006), my wife, two cousins, and myself embarked on a journey to visit a land among the mountains, the land of the Ifugaos.

Through the Philippine Tourism Authority, we have procured a travel package to see two Philippine tourist destination that are found off-the-beaten track.  We took a 3-day/2-night travel package to see Banaue, Bontoc, and Sagada.  The package includes transport from Banaue to Sagada and back via Bontoc, breakfast and a packed lunch for the Sagada trip, tour guide, accommodation, and some souvenirs.

Banaue is situated in the mountainous province of Ifugao, around 10 hour bus ride north of Manila.  This is also the site of the majestic Banaue Rice Terraces which are rice paddies terraced on the mountain sides.  These have been carved by the Ifugao tribes for thousands of years, even before the Spanish colonization.  These are also composed of four UNESCO world heritage sites.

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