Panagbenga parade. lolay/Creative Commons
February, in Baguio, is Panagbenga, “a season of blooming.” Bloom, indeed, is what this mountain city does the whole month, coming to life with color, with dance, with celebrations of Cordilleran culture and, most famous of all, with a Grand Float Parade that has the city booked to the rafters with visitors vying for a first-hand experience of the flower festival.
Panagbenga’s calendar of activities is earmarked with exhibitions, parades, bazaars, live music, street dance, and marching bands clad in extravagant costumes. The festivities kick off on the first of the month and often spill over to the first week of March. The Grand Float Parade, its biggest event, comes around on the fourth Saturday of February, ushering in a massive crowd on Session Road, where floats with massive, flower-drenched sculptures parade the blooms that Baguio grows in its gardens and countrysides.
Scores of tourists love coming to Baguio to see the parade. Be sure to book accommodations weeks in advance and reserve your seat at bus liners, which ply the six-hour route with daily trips that leave Manila by the hour. Bring a light sweater to stay cozy in the cool night air.
Native Baguio residents. lolay/Creative Commons
For other festivals that celebrate a bountiful harvest, visit the Kadayawan Festival, also in the Philippines; Brunei's Fruit Festival; Cambodia's Paddy Art Festival; and Malaysia's Sabah Fest. For other festivals in the month of February, visit Brunei's Hari Nasional celebrations and Laos' Boun Vat Phou Champasak.
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