How Culture is Preserved in the Local Flower Festival

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panagbenga

After 20 years, I am back to city where I was born. I was in my teens when the parents decided to seek greener pastures in California. Throughout the years, we have neverreturned to our native country. However, the summer of 2015 gave me an opportunity to visit Baguio the city I have always loved.

I arrived in Baguio on a Saturday morning and the first thing I noticed were the flowers on the streets and students wearing costumes. I learned from the taxi driver that I arrived on the day when “panagbenga” is celebrated. Panagbenga is the annual flower festival similar to the Rose Parade that is celebrated in California with marching bands, flower-decorated floats and the college football team.

After a brief rest in the hotel at Camp John Hay, I decided to go back to the center of the city where the flower parade will be held. The crowd was overwhelming; it looks like there are millions of people who wanted to watch the floats and street dancers. At first, I was confused and did not know where to stand so that I will get a good view of the parade.

The city has obviously been improved over the years because it now has concrete overpasses where tens of thousands of people were waiting for the parade for the start. I see Sunshine grocery at the other side of the street and I started to become nostalgic because this was the grocery store that mom and I used to frequent in my teens.

I decided to climb to the overpass because it seems like it has the best view of the parade. People were gracious enough to give me space but it was awfully warm with the sun shining and the big crowd.

The flower parade was amazing. They certainly invested a lot of efforts in ensuring that spectators will be delighted with the costumes of the street dancers and the float décor. What caught my eye was the canao which is a dance regularly performed by the natives when there is a celebration. The love of culture was obviously preserved even with the tall concrete structures and modernity that marks the city.

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