‘Panagbenga highlights Cordillera culture, creativity

KAMPAI FOR FRIENDSHIP AND PROSPERITY-- Newly designated Consulate of the People's Republic of China in Laoag City consul, Chen Jing, calls for a toast to welcome the Year of the Pig in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, to City officials headed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Marquez Go's wife,Soledad, and members of the Fil-Chinese Executive Committee and elders headed by Peter Ng during the Spring Festival Dinner and Awards Night held at Supreme Hotel last February 6. ** By Bong Cayabyab

BAGUIO CITY — The 24th “Panagbenga” or Baguio Flower Festival continues to highlight the culture and creativity of the Cordillera region in the activities during the 38-day festivities, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said Friday.
“The Panagbenga Flower Festival gives us something to be proud of for we showcase not only magnificent flowers but also our creativity through the colorful costumes and props of the performers,” said Domogan, who is also the “Lifetime Chairman” of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI).
“They will once again be mesmerized by our culture and creativity. Of course, also by the beauty of our city and the flowers that continue to bloom,” he added.
The contingents were required that their performances were 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.
As a showcase of flowers, which Baguio and Benguet are known for, the street-dancing participating schools depicted the theme, “Blooming Forward: A Showcase of Philippine flowers”, in their costumes.
Each school carried a flower variety that abundantly grows in the locality — gumamela, gerbera, lotus, rose, birds of paradise, stargazer, alstromeria.
During the launch of the Panagbenga last December, Domogan said this year’s celebration will emphasize cultural heritage and dances to drum up the city’s United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) inclusion of the city in the Creative Cities Network.
Children street dancers
There were seven contingents for the drum and lyre cultural presentation, each one carrying a kind of flower as accent to their costume. The participants 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.
The Lucban Elementary School’s presentation revolved around the story of “the flowers of tomorrow, blooming of our dream” where participants used costumes garbed with the Cordillera motif, accented with Alstromeria flower, as they did their interpretative dance.
Creativity was shown with the participants holding their group’s flower, made of recycled carton, buri hat and “bilao” accented with flowers made of plastic bottles and colorful paint.
The Tuba Central School performed the “Mamapteng tan Mansengew ja sabsabong ni Tuba (Blooming fragrant flowers of Tuba), which featured the Lotus flower. The participants wore Benguet’s native attire – the G-string with vest and a spear and shield for the boys and a native woven skirt accented with a shiny gold and red cloth for the girls.
Apolinario Mabini School performed the “Layladek sik-a Panagbenga”, which in Kankana-ey dialect means “I love you panagbenga”.
The performers carried on their backs a big red rose, the school’s flower, which was decorated to reflect a modern ethnic design.
The dancers also made clay pots out of paper mosaic, plywood and bamboo for their performance.
Jose P. laurel Elementary School’s performance titled, “Sustaining Baguio city a haven and living paradise of the north”, featured the birds of paradise, which is known as the ultimate symbol of paradise, freedom, success, excellence and joy.
The performers wore dresses with recycled materials made of net and decorated with round metallic paper.
Baguio Central School depicted in their performance the “Blooming flowers in the Cordillera” and carried the “gumamela” as their school flower, which was made of recycled materials.
The participants also wore necklace and bracelet accessories made from newspaper art with the colors of the beads worn by the elderly people of the Cordillera.
The Dontogan Elementary School presented, “Pepeyan taha Panagbenga” or “I love Panagbenga” in the Ibaloi language used the Gerbera flower as accent.
Manuel Quezon Elementary School performed the stargazers Panagbenga thanksgiving dance.
Dancing to the music of a Cordillera folk song, “Nan Layad, O naranyag a bulan” and the Panagbenga tribute song, the participants mixed traditional and modern dance steps.
Meanwhile, BFFFI media committee co-chair Andrew Pinero said all seven schools were judged for 30 percent of their final score. They will return during the grand street dance parade on March 2 when they will be judged for the remaining 70 percent.
“The schools will be given their scores so that they can still improve their overall presentation for the grand street dance competition,” Pinero said. “So far, what we have seen were quality performances.”
The winner of the street dance competition will get the grand prize of PHP250,000. **Pamela Mariz Geminiano/ PNA

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