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Panagbenga Festival: Guide to Baguio’s Blooming Celebration

The Panagbenga Festival, which is happening this February 1, 2019, is Baguio’s grandest festivity. Held annually during February, this popular festival brings in tourists from different parts of the Philippines and the world.

Panagbenga in Kankanaey language means “a season of blooming.” Every year, the city of Baguio holds a flower festival as a celebration of Baguio rising from the destruction caused by an earthquake in 1990.

What started out as a two-week festival is now a month long celebration.

Here’s a quick guide to how you can experience the festival, what to expect during this event, and tips.
 

 

How to go to Panagbenga Festival

By Air

You can hop on a flight headed to Clark International Airport, which is the closest airport to Baguio.

If you’re flying to Manila via Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you can take a bus headed to the mountainous province.

Read Clark International Airport Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Read Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA): An Informative Guide for Travelers

By Land

Buses are the main mode of transportation going to Baguio. Bus lines in Pasay, Cubao, and Buendia terminals usually have a route headed for Baguio.

The travel time usually takes around four to five hours, depending on traffic. It can be shorter if you take the midnight buses.
 

How to Get Around

Baguio Jeep

You can easily get around Baguio city via taxis, jeepneys, or a personal car. Be warned that traffic can get pretty heavy during rush hours.

During the festival, traffic can get worse so be prepared to tackle the city on foot. Usually though, you’ll find trusty cabs and jeepneys ready to take you to your destination.

Buses are also available if you’re planning to go to nearby provinces like La Union and Ilocos.
 

What to Expect: Panagbenga Festival Activities

Panagbenga Dance Parade
Editorial credit: Frolova_Elena / Shutterstock.com

One of the highlights of the festival is the parade, which features floats artfully decorated with flowers and the street dancers wearing well made flower-themed costumes and props. An ode to Baguio’s stunning flora, the Panagbenga flower festival is truly a sight to behold.

Events that you can expect during the month long festivities include the Opening Parade, Canao, which is a traditional festival dance, Bazaars and Fairs, the famous Float Parade, and the Closing Ceremony.

A lot of the roads will be closed during the parades to make way for the floats, dancers, and marching bands.

Panagbenga float parade
Editorial credit: Tony Magdaraog / Shutterstock.com

The dancers are usually composed of different tribes and even different groups from participating schools.

The roads will be filled with people from different corners of the country and the globe. Expect a lot of dancing, street parties, and perfectly timed drum beats filling your ears. The stunning performances of the dancers and the beautifully decorated floats will definitely be the highlight of your trip.
 

Tips while attending Panagbenga Festival

Panagbenga Celebration
Editorial credit: Frolova_Elena / Shutterstock.com

  • Check the weather before you head out to the celebrations.
    This way you’ll know what to wear and what to bring with you for convenience.
  • Bring an umbrella.
    The festival is a whole day affair. Protect yourself from the sun or the rain.
  • Secure your belongings.
    You can never be too careful with your valuables in a crowded place.
  • Reserve your transportation and accommodation tickets in advance.
    Since the Panagbenga Festival is peak season for tourists, you might find it difficult to reserve bus tickets or book hotel rooms too close to the start of the festival.

 

Where to Stay

Citylight Hotel Baguio

Looking for budget-friendly accommodations for your festival trip? Check out these hotels all under P3,000. Enjoy a comfortable stay in the city with easy access to tourist spots and festival activities.

1. Baguio City Center Hotel

A huge perk of staying in this hotel is its central location, which gives guests easy access to view the flower parade during Panagbenga festival.

Location: 45 Session Road, Baguio City Proper, Baguio City, Benguet
Price range: P2,300 – P2,800

2. Citylight Hotel

Whether you’re here for fun or for business, this hotel welcomes you with modern features and a prime location near the Baguio Cathedral and session road.

Location: 245 Upper General Luna Rd., Baguio City Proper, Baguio City, Benguet
Price range: P2,300 – P2,900

3. Travelite Express Hotel

This budget-friendly hotel is conveniently located near the famous Burnham Park and City Market. You can easily walk to establishments or shop your heart out at local ukay-ukay stores.

Location: Shuntug St. corner F. Bautista Drive, Baguio City Proper, Baguio City, Benguet
Price range: P1,600 – P2,200

Check out these 10 Cheap Hotels in Baguio for Budget Travelers
 

Where to Eat

Cafe by The Ruins
Image Credit: @cafebytheruinsph / Facebook.com

Take the festivities as an opportunity to explore different restaurants and coffee shops in the city. Don’t miss out on some of the best food Baguio has to offer. Discover some instagram-worthy restaurants or try out these recommended spots:

1. Choco-Late de Batirol

Warm yourself up by trying out the famous hot chocolate at this must-visit cafe. You can even buy pasalubong here as well.

  • Location: Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio City
  • Cuisine: Filipino, Cafe
  • Open hours: 7am to 10pm

2. 50s Diner

This Baguio restaurant is well-known for their retro diner inspired theme with neon lights and American pop culture memorabilia on display. They serve fish and chips, steaks, and classic pinoy favorites.

  • Location: 92 Upper General Luna Rd. corner Brent Rd., Baguio City
  • Cuisine: American, Filipino
  • Open hours: 10am to 10pm

3. Cafe by the Ruins

This classic Baguio cafe is a go-to for those craving some good old coffee to fend off the cold weather. Don’t forget to try their highly recommended champorado if you drop by.

  • Location: 25 Shuntug St., Baguio City
  • Cuisine: Filipino, Cafe
  • Opens hours: 7am to 9pm

 

Things to Do in Baguio

Laperal House Baguio
Laperal House is considered one of Baguio’s most famous haunted spots.

  • Take time to appreciate the art at BenCab Museum. This museum is owned by the renowned national artist, Ben Cabrera.
  • Have a fun day out with your family or friends at the famous Burnham Park. Here you can have a picnic, bike, or even ride a boat swan at the lake.
  • Head over to La Trinidad Strawberry Fields to pick fresh strawberries. Aside from being the perfect treat, these are the best pasalubong to bring home.
  • Learn about traditional Ifugao crafts at the Ifugao Woodcarver’s Village. You can even buy souvenirs here to support the community.
  • Test your courage and try braving the haunted Laperal house or Diplomat Hotel with your friends or family.

Discover 15 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Baguio
 

Explore Other Destinations

Have time to spare before or after the festivities? Head to these other destinations in the North and see for yourself some of it’s pride and joy.

Mt. Pulag National Park

Mount Pulag

Famous for its “sea of clouds”, Mt. Pulag has a trail that both beginner and experienced hikers love to trek. Aside from the sea of clouds, climbers can also experience the stunning view of the Milky Way and a beautiful sunrise view depending on the weather.

San Juan, La Union

La Union sunset

Just one and a half hours away from Baguio, you’ll find one of the surf capitals of the North. It is well known for its chill waves and growing community of cafes and restaurants.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces

Why not cross off a UNESCO World Heritage Site after the festival celebrations? Only five hours away from Baguio, Banaue Rice Terraces are man-made terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by their indigenous people.

Want to discover more of Baguio’s hidden gems? Check out these other Baguio tourist spots.
 

Come and witness the Panagbenga Festival. Book your hotel in Baguio here!

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