Culture, creativity mark Panagbenga street dancing parade

BAGUIO CITY–Local and foreign tourists watched the other Saturday a more exciting and longer street dancing parade in this mountain resort city, which highlighted the culture and creativity of the Cordillera region during the 24th “Panagbenga” or Baguio Flower Festival.
A total of 24 groups joined the parade– seven contingents from the elementary category, six for the high school, four for the open category, five for the cultural category while two others performed as guest participants.
The groups carried various themes in their presentations that all leaned toward this year’s festival theme “Blooming Forward”.
Thousands of viewers- locals and tourists alike lined up along the parade route– from the Panagbenga Park in Loakan road to Session Road, Magsaysay Avenue toward Harrison Road. The parade ended at the Athletic Bowl in Burnham Park.
The most basic criteria for the contingents is to show a performance based on native culture and practices and the life of the Cordillerans, depicted through songs, dances, wearing of the native attire, use of traditional musical instruments like the gong and showing the abundance of beautiful and colorful flowers.
For the elementary category, the contingents were Apolinario Mabini Elementary School, Baguio Central School, Jose P. Laurel Elementary School, Lucban Elementary, Tuba Central School, Manuel Quezon Elementary School, and Dontongan Elementary School.
Each school carried a flower variety that grows in the locality — gumamela, gerbera, lotus, rose, birds of paradise, stargazer, and alstromeria.
The high school category contingents were the Baguio City National High School, University of Cordilleras Senior High, Saint Louis University Senior High, Remnant International College, Pinsao National High School, and Pines City National High School.
Baguio City National High School presented the wonders of Baguio, which depicted the ethnicity and the cultural identity of the different Cordillera tribes through their costume which were made of recycled materials and wore ethnic clothes with bead works, and headdress and carried intricate hand painted props made by the students themselves.
University of the Cordilleras presented the “Ullalim”- the Epic of Love of the Maducayan [tribe] where the participants wore a white fabric, which symbolizes purity with red and black pattern that was inspired from the “tapis” (hand woven fabric which is wrapped around the waist like a skirt) and the “bahag” (G-string) of Kalinga province.
The participants also carried “banga” (clay pot) made of newspaper, a bamboo fan, and big panel leaf.
Saint Louis University Laboratory High school presented “panghahakey ni kafagway” garbed with rubber mats as flowers carrying the “bilao” (native bamboo woven flat basket).
Remnant International College presented “Roots that remain” where dancers did an interpretative move showing flowers blooming from the ground, swaying in the wind and opening to the sun.
Pinsao National High School presented “Pakawanem” (forgiveness) with the participants wearing the Kalinga and Mountain Province “Tapis” and “Bahag” while wearing a Kalinga accented shawl.
Pines City National High School presented “Payew” (rice field) depicting the life of farmers. They carried as a backdrop the rice terraces with the dancers carrying a basket filled with a mixture of flowers in vibrant colors and vegetables.
For the open category, Saint Louis University performed the “Rice is Life” and wore the Ifugao traditional attire, carrying a plower, a scare crow, water system bamboo channels, a bamboo woven basket and some highland palay.
A contingent from Pinablin, Calasiao, Pangasinan presented “I love Pinablin Calasiao and Wow Puto Festival”. They were clad in modern Filipiniana dress and the male farmer outfit of a working man.
The third contingent from Sagpat, Kibungan presented “Tribu Cafe” and carried props like bilao with an accent of coffee beans and flowers. The participants wore the “Tapis”.
The last group, the “Mana-it” of Burgos, La Union presented “Amag bi sih-si” which means broom making. The participants wore headdresses with golden lace accents and chicken feathers, The female wore a fan like hat accented with golden yellow and golden lace accents.
The Tribu Ilonganon-Ilo-Ilo Dinagyang Foundation and the a group from Ilocos Norte also made a special presentation during the parade.
Grand street dance winners
Winners in the elementary level received PHP300,000; PHP250,000; PHP200,000; PHP170,000; PHP150,000; and PHP140,000 for the first to seventh placers, respectively.
Tuba Central School topped this year’s grand street parade competition followed by Mabini Elementary School and Baguio Central School.
The one that took the fourth spot was Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School, while Jose P. Laurel Elementary School, Lucban Elementary School and Dontogan Elementary School, garnering the fifth, sixth and seventh places, respectively.
For the High School division, BCNHS-SPA topped this year’s category and got PHP250,000. The second place went to UCHS with a prize of PHP200,000 while the third place went to SLU Senior High School with a prize of PHP150,000.
Consolation prizes of PHP50,000 each were given to Pinsao NHS Sakusak Musical Ensemble, Tanghalan Teatro Pino of Pines City NHS and Remnant International College.
For the open category, SLU topped the competition and will receive PHP300,000. The second place went to Mana-it group from Burgos, La Union with a prize of PHP200,000. The third place went to Pinablin, Calasiao – Puto Festival with PHP150,000 and fourth place to Sagpat, Kibungan, Benguet with PHP50,000.
For the cultural category, Arusan Chi Umili Cultural Group won first place and received PHP170,000.
Ayyoweng Di Lambak Cultural Group got second place with a PHP140,000 prize. Third placer Gardeners Tribe Cultural Group got PHP100,000 while Cholibes Cultural Group and Umili Ay Kalalaychan Cultural Group received a consolation prize of PHP50,000 each.
Anthony de Leon, co-chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFF), earlier announced that the increase in the subsidy from PHP40,000 to PHP100,000 would allow the participating schools and groups to improve their costumes and hire professional choreographers.
De Leon also said they conducted a training for choreographers to have more professionals in the field, who can assist and teach the students in their presentations.** Pamela Mariz Geminiano/ PNA

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