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Panagbenga Sucks: Everything Wrong with the Baguio Flower Festival

Panagbenga sucks! Here are everything wrong with the Baguio Flower Festival from a local's perspective. A comprehensive analysis.

 |  12 min read

Explore all the issues plaguing the Panagbenga Baguio Flower Festival from a local's viewpoint. Delve into the commercialization, cultural appropriation, traffic chaos, and environmental impact in this detailed analysis. DOT-CAR, edited

Alright, listen up. We're about to break down why Panagbenga sucks. Yeah, you heard me right - Baguio City's Flower Festival isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Sure, you've seen the flashy floats and lively parades, but let's get real about what's really going on.

In this discussion, we're diving into the nitty-gritty of why some folks aren't too thrilled about Panagbenga. From commercial overload to environmental concerns, we're pulling no punches.

So, grab a seat and get ready for an honest look at one of Baguio City's biggest cultural events. It's time to cut through the hype and get to the truth. Let's dive into why Panagbenga sucks.

Background of Panagbenga

Now, before we get into why Panagbenga sucks, let's get the basics.

Panagbenga, also known as the Baguio Flower Festival, runs for a solid month, kicking off in February and wrapping up in March in Baguio City, Philippines. This isn't your one-day shindig - it's a month-long party.

Imagine this: streets filled with colorful floats decked out in flowers, energetic street dancing, and a variety of cultural performances. It's a time when Baguio buzzes with energy, drawing both locals and tourists to partake in the festivities and enjoy the city's floral vibes.

But, hang on, don't let the lively scenes fool you. As we peel back the layers, you'll see that Panagbenga isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Let's uncover what's really happening behind the scenes of this month-long celebration.

Why Panagbenga Sucks

Alright, time to get real about why Panagbenga just isn't cutting it.

1. Panagbenga is Too Commercialized

Panagbenga used to be all about celebrating the local culture and nature, but now it feels like one big commercial. Take the float parades, for example. Instead of showcasing Baguio's beautiful flowers and the Igorot culture, we're bombarded with floats sponsored by companies, TV shows, celebrities, and even politicians.

Sure, sponsors are needed to keep the festival running, but it's like they've taken over. There needs to be a better balance between getting sponsors and sticking to the festival's roots. Otherwise, Panagbenga risks losing its soul and becoming just another marketing stunt.

Photo: Bradley Rome Viloria Baltazar

2. "Nasaan ang mga Igorot?" - The Commercialization of Igorot Culture

You know what tourists often wonder when they visit the City of Pines during Panagbenga? "Nasaan ang mga Igorot?" It's like they're asking where the Igorot people are, because let's face it, they're supposed to be the heart of the festival.

But here's the thing: while Igorot performers in their traditional attire and accessories may be the main attraction during Panagbenga, the commercialization of their culture is a serious issue. These performers often dance traditional dances and play traditional instruments, adding authenticity to the festival.

But guess what? Many of these Igorot performers aren't getting paid for their time and effort. Some do it for free, out of pride for their culture, while others are required to participate by their schools or communities. Meanwhile, corporate sponsors are reaping the benefits of this cultural attraction without giving back to the Igorot community.

It's a classic case of exploitation, and it's not cool. Let's shine a light on this aspect of Panagbenga and discuss why it needs to change.

Photo: Louie Jesus P. Navarro

3. The Festival Should Be a Flower Festival, Not a Cultural Festival

Let's get one thing straight: Panagbenga is supposed to be a flower festival, emphasis on the flowers. But somehow, the organizers seem to have missed the memo.

Sure, flowers are beautiful and all, but for some reason, they've decided to appropriate Igorot culture for the festival. You see it everywhere - on posters, in parades, as attractions. It's like they're using the Igorot theme to spice things up, but do they really understand or respect its significance?

Now, it's possible that they do have some understanding of Igorot culture. But the real question is: are they truly respecting it, or are they just using it as a gimmick to make the festival seem more exotic and interesting?

And here's the thing: this is cultural appropriation, plain and simple. It's like those times when Igorot people were put on display in human zoos around the world, like at the famous Saint Louis Fair. It's disrespectful, it's degrading, and it needs to stop.

Now, don't get me wrong - promoting Igorot culture is great. But the real question is: how do we, as Igorot people, benefit from this? Are we just being used as props to make the festival seem more exotic and interesting? It's time to have a real conversation about cultural appropriation and its impact on our community.

Photo: Louie Jesus P. Navarro

4. There's Too Many Men, Too Many People, Making Too Many Problems

Let's talk about the crowds at Panagbenga. Seems like every year, more and more people flock to Baguio City for the festival. And while it's great to see so many folks coming together to celebrate, it brings a heap of problems.

First off, the sheer number of people can be overwhelming. Streets get packed, traffic comes to a standstill, and finding a decent spot to watch the parade is like finding a needle in a haystack. And don't even get me started on the lines for food and restrooms - it's a nightmare.

But here's the real kicker: with so many people, troublemakers are bound to show up. From rowdy tourists causing a ruckus to pickpockets taking advantage of the crowded streets, the festival vibe can quickly turn sour.

And let's not forget the city's infrastructure. Baguio City was originally designed for around 30,000 residents by Daniel Burnham. But in 2023, there are almost 400,000 residents - that's over ten times the intended population! Now, add in the nearly 1 million tourists who visit for Panagbenga, and you've got a recipe for chaos.

So yeah, while Panagbenga is about bringing people together, sometimes it feels like there's just too many folks crammed into one place. And with that comes a whole lot of problems that need addressing.

Can't you see this is the land of confusion?

5. Traffic Troubles: Gridlock Galore

Let's talk about another headache during Panagbenga: traffic. With everyone flocking to Baguio City for the festival, the streets turn into a chaotic mess of bumper-to-bumper congestion.

Getting around town becomes a real hassle. Instead of a quick trip across the city, you're stuck in a never-ending line of cars, horns blaring, and tempers flaring.

But it's not just a nuisance - it's also a safety issue. Ambulances and fire trucks struggle to weave through the traffic, putting lives at risk.

And let's not forget, Baguio City wasn't built to handle this many tourists. The roads, originally meant for a much smaller population, just can't handle the influx of people during Panagbenga.

Plus, it's not just Baguio City that's affected. The traffic spills over into neighboring towns, causing headaches for everyone in the area.

So while Panagbenga brings excitement to the city, it also brings traffic chaos. Let's take a closer look at the gridlock and explore ways to ease the congestion.

6. Environmental Impact: Where Does It All Go?

Now, let's delve into the environmental impact of Panagbenga. Have you ever wondered where all the materials used during these events end up?

Think about it - the flowers, decorations, and other materials used during the street and float parades, as well as other events. Where do they all go once the festivities are over? And what about the waste generated by the millions of tourists who visit Baguio City during Panagbenga?

And speaking of tourists, let's talk about their carbon footprint. How much does it really cost to host all these visitors? How much water do they use? And how much waste do they generate?

It's time to take a closer look at the environmental impact of Panagbenga and start thinking about ways to minimize our footprint while still celebrating this beloved festival.

7. Economic Impact: Only the Rich Get Richer

Let's talk about the economic impact of Panagbenga. While the festival undoubtedly boosts local tourism and brings in revenue, there's a flip side to the coin.

On one hand, businesses thrive during Panagbenga as tourists flood the city, spending money on accommodations, food, souvenirs, and more. This injection of cash into the local economy can have far-reaching benefits, supporting livelihoods and driving growth.

But on the other hand, the benefits may not be evenly distributed. While hotels and larger establishments see a significant uptick in business, Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) may not reap as much reward. For these smaller businesses, the festival may only result in a slight bump in income, if any at all.

What's more, it's often the big corporations that benefit the most from Panagbenga, further widening the economic gap. While a select few may see substantial profits, many residents, especially those running smaller businesses, may struggle to see significant gains.

So while Panagbenga brings prosperity to some, it's essential to recognize the disparities in economic impact and work towards ensuring that all members of the community can benefit from the festival's success.

8. Disruptions to Locals: Caught in the Chaos

Now, let's delve into the disruptions experienced by locals during Panagbenga. While the festival brings excitement and energy to Baguio City, it can also create significant challenges for residents trying to go about their daily lives.

First and foremost, the influx of tourists can lead to overcrowding and congestion in residential areas. Locals may find themselves navigating through crowded streets, facing longer commute times, and struggling to find parking spaces.

Additionally, the noise and commotion generated by the festival events can disrupt the peace and quiet of residential neighborhoods. Late-night festivities and loud music can disturb residents trying to sleep or relax in their homes.

Furthermore, the increased demand for goods and services during Panagbenga can lead to temporary shortages and price hikes, making it more difficult for locals to access essential items.

These disruptions often lead locals to stay at home and watch the festivities from the comfort of their couch, or even choose to leave Baguio City altogether by traveling or returning to their hometowns.

Overall, while Panagbenga brings excitement and economic benefits to Baguio City, it's essential to recognize and address the disruptions experienced by residents. Let's explore how we can mitigate these challenges and ensure that Panagbenga remains a positive experience for everyone involved.

Photo: Louie Jesus P. Navarro

9. Strain on Public Services: Testing the Limits

Let's talk about how Panagbenga puts a lot of pressure on public services in Baguio City. When thousands of tourists come for the festival, things like water and electricity get used up a lot more than usual.

The police, firefighters, and paramedics also have a tough time during Panagbenga. They've got to deal with big crowds, accidents, and other emergencies, which can be really challenging.

And let's not forget about all the trash that gets left behind. With so many people around, there's a ton of garbage to clean up, and it's not always easy to keep the city looking nice.

But here's the thing: when public services have to focus so much on Panagbenga, it makes you wonder if they're using their manpower in the best way possible. Shouldn't they be helping out with other stuff too?

So yeah, while Panagbenga is a fun time for everyone, it definitely puts a strain on the city's public services. Let's figure out how to make things easier for them during the festival.

Wrapping Up

So, to wrap things up, Panagbenga has lost its charm, bogged down by a host of problems that just can't be ignored. From the rampant commercialization to the questionable treatment of Igorot culture, it's clear that the festival has strayed from its roots.

Let's not forget the chaos that ensues with the massive crowds, turning the city upside down and putting a strain on everything from traffic to public services. And while the economic boost is nice, it's not doing much for the little guys who are getting left behind.

Overall, Panagbenga is facing some serious issues that need to be addressed if it's going to reclaim its status as a celebration of Baguio's culture and beauty.

Photo: 2024 Baguio Flower Festival Foundation.

Conclusion: Let's Make Panagbenga Better

Alright, folks, it's time to wrap things up. After digging into the nitty-gritty of Panagbenga, it's clear that there's room for improvement. From the commercial overload to the cultural appropriation, we've seen some real issues that need addressing.

But here's the thing: we're not just here to complain. We're here to spark change. Panagbenga shouldn't just be another flashy event-it should be a celebration that brings us all together and makes us proud to call Baguio City home.

So, what's next? It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Let's demand more transparency and accountability from the organizers. Let's push for a festival that truly celebrates our culture and respects our environment.

And hey, it's not all doom and gloom. We've seen glimpses of what Panagbenga could be-a vibrant, inclusive celebration that honors our past while embracing our future. Let's build on that momentum and make Panagbenga something we can all be proud of.

So, here's to a brighter, better Panagbenga. Let's make it happen, Baguio City.


1. Why do some people think Panagbenga is too commercialized?

Panagbenga is perceived as overly commercialized due to the dominance of sponsored floats and corporate influences, deviating from its cultural essence.

2. What's the concern about the commercialization of Igorot culture during Panagbenga?

The worry stems from the exploitation of Igorot performers, often unpaid, while corporate sponsors capitalize on their cultural contributions.

3. How has Panagbenga deviated from being a flower festival?

Panagbenga has shifted focus by incorporating elements of Igorot culture, leading to debates about cultural appropriation and dilution of its floral essence.

4. What problems arise from the increasing crowds at Panagbenga?

Rising attendance brings challenges like overwhelming streets, traffic issues, and the potential for misbehavior and security concerns.

5. What's the impact of Panagbenga on local businesses, especially smaller ones?

While larger establishments thrive, smaller businesses may see limited economic benefits, contributing to economic disparities in the community.

6. How does Panagbenga affect the daily lives of Baguio City residents?

Residents face disruptions, including overcrowding, noise, and shortages during Panagbenga, impacting their daily routines.

7. How does the festival strain public services in Baguio City?

Panagbenga puts pressure on essential services like water, electricity, and emergency responders, stretching resources thin.

8. What happens to the environmental footprint during Panagbenga?

The festival raises concerns about the environmental impact, considering the waste generated and the carbon footprint of the influx of tourists.

9. Why are some locals dissatisfied with Panagbenga's economic impact?

While the festival boosts overall tourism revenue, dissatisfaction arises from uneven economic benefits, favoring larger corporations over smaller enterprises.

10. What efforts can be made to address the issues raised about Panagbenga?

Efforts should focus on achieving a better balance between commercial and cultural aspects, promoting inclusivity, and enhancing transparency in festival organization.

Down with the sickness.

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