The temperature has gone low to 10 degrees Celsius but Accuweather’s “RealFeel” was 9 degrees!
It’s freezing cold unless you’re wearing thermal apparel, or maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's really cold.
People has already started flowing into the country’s summer capital as the weather started plummeting to its record low, after all it’s this city’s major attraction – the cold weather - especially people from Manila and the nearby provinces where it’s starting to warm up.
It’s not only the cold weather that draw tourists to Baguio this month of February, of course, it’s the love month (Valentines) but that’s not it either. It’s the Panagbenga Festival - Baguio’s biggest, most awaited colorful event.
Panagbenga is a a Kankana-ey (a Cordilleran dialect) term which literally means “a season for blossoming; a time for flowering”, thus, portrayed in its colorful flower exhibitions and parade happening around the city.
The Panagbenga Festival kicked off last Sunday, February 1, 2015 as already evident at the city’s famous park – Burnham Park – where the whole length of Lake Drive is busy with people parading along two lanes of provisional shops selling all sorts of items like clothing, footwear, Baguio souvenir shirts and stuff, native products and so much more.
|Line of makeshift bazaar shops at Lake Drive (Burnham Park).|
It is likewise a foodies festival along this lake side lane with quite a lot of food stalls selling street food, both international and regional – more than a dozen shawarma sandwich stands, Korean’s twigims (deep-fried snacks), imported noodles and local pancits, foot-long hotdogs and sausage sandwiches, regional delicacies coming from various provinces of Cordillera and the Ilocandia, and so many more.
My favorite though is the mediterannean sandwiches stand (called Hook'd Up) owned by an Arab serving (very-close-to-authentic) falafel, hummus, beef and chicken shawarma sandwiches, located around the middle of the bazaar lane.
|Hook'd Up mediterannean food stand.|
|The hummus sandwich is deliciously authentic - or authentically delicious?|
Adjacent to the two lanes of shops from end-to-end is the “Baguio Blooms Exhibition and Exposition”, a display of beautiful ornamental plants and brightly-colored flowers landscaped in variety of inventive and nature-inspired themes.
The festival will last for a month (and a week?) which will feature exciting floral and marching bands parades, competitions, several activities and events city-wide until March 8.
So come to Baguio now! Be sure to secure your accommodation, they’re filling up fast, lucky me, I’m here now and will be staying until the end of the festivities.
The bazaar and blooms exhibitions can be visited from morning to evening at the Lake Drive, Burnham Park, here is the location on Google Map - https://goo.gl/maps/Ybc5M
For schedule of the festival events, visit the official website at Panagbenga Flower Festival.
How to get to Baguio:
Victory Liner with their bus terminals in Pasay, Cubao and Caloocan run every hour 24/7 to and from Baguio. Genesis Bus also in Pasay and Manila runs several times a day. Fare is P450 for aircondition bus, travel time is about 7 hours, P750 for the Deluxe/Executive aircon bus, travel time is 5 hours.
St. John Inn along Dominican Road few steps from Lourdes Grotto, 10 minutes by jeepney (P8.50 fare) to Burnham Park has a lot of rooms (as of writing) at P700 basic room for two persons, no breakfast, excellent wifi, two single beds, ensuite bath with hot showers, cable TV and friendly staff. Call Marianne to book at 0915 926 3932.