Chilling Out In Baguio
(part 3 of a series)
Every other tourist destination you visit will give you the luxury of walking aimlessly around, stopping at stores to shop, eat or simply sightsee.
In Baguio, there’s no such thing as idle, unproductive time. There’s so much to see and do that you would feel like you will not cover everything you want.
If you’re the kind of tourist who is content to simply wander around and let your feet take you places, Baguio is the perfect place to do just that.
Baguio has the right kind of relaxing atmosphere that will give you pleasant, foggy mornings and peaceful, chilly nights.
If you’re the type who prefers an itinerary down to the last hour and destination, you can also follow a strict tour schedule and see the sights according to plan.
There is not much traffic within the city limits so you can go anywhere without having to leave before sun-up.
But if you’re itching for the most colourful and unforgettable trip, the city can indulge your whims as well. Come visit in February when the flowers are all abloom. Baguio is blessed with the right climate to encourage the growth of incredibly beautiful flowers, and for this the city is very thankful.
Every year, the local government sponsors a citywide flower festival called the Panagbenga. Baguio is the land of flower power, and there is no other perfect time to see the city than in February.
At this time of the year, the temperature is still somewhere below 20 degrees Celsius, not too cold for day-long walks but not too warm for all the festivities either.
It was begun in 1995 as a way to help the city revive its sagging spirits from the devastating earthquake that claimed many lives in 1990.
Since then, the Summer Capital of the Philippines has been able to carve a name for itself in the world of Philippine festivals by featuring the most fragrant celebration ever.
The Panagbenga Festival has given the local citizens of Baguio a unique opportunity to showcase their creativity, talent, ingenuity and history as they celebrate the many gifts of the land.
The word Panagbenga means ‘a season of blooming’ and is adopted from the language of Kankanaey, one of the many indigenous groups that live in Northern provinces.
Indeed, the city comes to life as dashing flowers of every shape, size, color and fragrance are displayed in enormous floats that are paraded around the city.
Ever thought that flowers are boring? In Baguio, the people have come up with pretty clever ways to make flowers look all the more gorgeous and interesting. There are flower lectures, exhibits, garden tours, performances and floral contests. Despite the profusions of floral displays, you surely won’t tire of these sweet-smelling and dazzling wonders of nature.
You can also watch the Bendian, a traditional tribal dance of the Ibalois, being danced in the streets in full native costume. The festival has an official musical score that has been accompanied with the movements of the Bendian to reflect the unity and harmony that has made the Panagbenga possible.
The highlights of the celebration are during the weekends, when traditional street performances and parade floats are held. The city becomes quite badly congested during this time as many of the major roads are closed off to make way for the open-air markets and the festivities, so you might have to spend a lot of time walking.
But surely the view and the experience are well worth the effort.