Baguio City moves toned-down Flower Festival

La Trinidad cancels Strawberry Festival too

BAGUIO CITY — Baguio City moved to a still unknown date the much-awaited Flower Festival normally held every February.

The city government and the executive committee of the private Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) decided to postpone the already toned down “Panagbenga” Fest 2021 “as part of the measures of the city to guard its doors against the possible entry of the UK variant of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19),” said Andrew Pinero,  spokesman of the BFFFI.

The pending roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine also prompted such a decision, Pinero added.

Last December, the city government said it has approved in principle a list of toned-down events for the Panagbenga festivities, specifically removing the crowd-drawing Street Dancing and Flower Float parades. This plan was decided in a bid to pave the way for the local tourism industry of the city to bounce back.

Only the landscaping competition among the schools and barangays and other similar activities that will not draw huge crowds were decided to continue with the supposedly month-long Festival, which would be on its 26th year this 2021.

Last year, the Panagbenga street dancing and float parades were also canceled.

This year,  the festivities, according to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and organizers, will be postponed to a latter still unknown date.

Meanwhile, La Trinidad town has decided on  canceling its Strawberry Festival originally scheduled for March this year.

La Trinidad Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan said that the Strawberry Festival Executive Committee on January 12, 2021 through a unanimous vote cancelled the much-awaited festival that happens first week of March every year because of the lingering threats of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, the festival that features the town’s famous product farmed in its vast valley plantations, was also canceled.

In its place, an indigenous ritual known as “Panudsuran” where ancestors’ spirits are called and invoked to cleanse the community will be celebrated. A mass will also be offered where limited participants are invited. ●