Thursday, March 5, 2015

Frolicking at the Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City (Part 1 of 2)

Wazzup Pilipinas!

If you want to watch the Panagbenga Festival parade in Baguio, be sure to be there along Session Road as early as 4 am so you can get the best spot for photographs. It should be the very first in your itinerary after eating breakfast (or better yet - eat later), otherwise you'll end up missing the highlights, walking towards Burnham Park, struggling your way through the crowd, trying to squeeze in your camera to take a shot, and left with very few magnificent photos of the floats and the stars that adorn (ride) them.

I was in luck since I met some photographer friends officially covering the event for the LGU so I was let in beyond the crowd borderline. I can't believe they recognized me among the crowd. They yelled out to me as "Wazzup Pilipinas - the Pambansang Blogger!" I laughed when I heard the shouts. Nowadays, you really need "friends" in high places (like Baguio) to gain an edge.

We were in Baguio last February 28 to March 1 due to an invitation from the leading real estate developer in the country. Camella Homes of Vista Land goes to the summer capital of the Philippines to promote their properties to the many diverse visitors who were currently in Baguio because of the Panagbenga Festival. They had a booth at the special GMA Kapuso concert setup at SM City Baguio. Since visitors of the Panagbenga Festival mostly came from all parts of the Philippines as well as other foreign visitors from other countries, it was but right to promote their properties during the month-long festivities. They hold parades during the weekends so it was the perfect time to have some marketing efforts in Baguio city.

With hashtags like #CamellaGoesPanagbenga and #CamellaOfficial on with their fansigns, people get to possibly win an Instax camera and an iPad Mini. Yeah! so we joined the promo as well.


With the #CamellaGoesPanagbenga hashtag, people can Like their official Facebook page, take selfie photos with their official fan signs at the booth, and tag 5 of their Facebook friends to get a chance to win some fabulous prices from Camella.

The evening was highlighted with a special treat for the SM City Baguio visitors with several games sponsored by the exhibitors including Camella who gave away great prizes includes merchandizes and some GCs the winners can use to buy stuff at SM Baguio City. The audience got  thrilled with so many opportunities to win especially the kids who were pre-selected to join some of the contests. I was lucky once again for winning at the raffle.

There were so many games from the other sponsors intended for the audience but we didn't stay longer to wait for the guest GMA Kapuso celebrities.

The host was hilariously funny. I swear I laughed out loud like there's no tomorrow. I think I almost ran out of breath since he, or she, was extremely witty. He or she looks a lot like Regine Velasquez but a lot more sexy.

We had to leave SM City Baguio for dinner. I later realized we were heading towards the marketplace to buy raw ingredients so we can cook our meals instead.

Bummer! I really wanted to experience dining on the popular restaurants in Baguio so the idea of cooking our own meals was not really a smart move. Yes, we were able to save a lot of money and was able to buy a lot enough for dinner and breakfast, but it doesn't really matter a lot if you'll miss the opportunity to taste the dishes from popular restaurants that Baguio is partly known for.

I believe that when you're at a place far away from your residence, you should never miss out on the chance to immerse yourself with the culture of that place, and that includes dining on the restaurants that's authentically known as part of Baguio. You don't prepare home-cooked meals because you can eat that almost everyday back at home. Sadly, vegetables, though cheaper and fresher in Baguio, are still the same when it reaches Manila. Nothing exciting to eat the common and ordinary meals that we can find back in the place where we came from.

Our temporary home was a house at Charlo Inn. The house had four rooms, a sala, a dining table, a kitchen a dirty kitchen, and three bathrooms. Spacious living room with sofa set, the kitchen has a fridge, a table fit for 6, comfy beds, but there was only one working hot shower. There was just fear of ghost since its an old house setting away from Manila. But overall, it was all you'll ever need for a satisfying family weekend. The only thing we had difficulty was finding the inn again on the first day.

This was only a small part of our adventure in Baguio city as we took the opportunity to roam around the city to explore some of its popular destinations within the very few hours we have. However, as related in the first paragraphs of this blog, we were there during the Panagbenga Festival, so I think it is perfectly safe to say that we needed to prioritize seeing the highlight of the festival (and that is the parade), and not the other destinations that should have been done later.

I'll relate the story on a separate blog post so watch out for part 2 of our Camella goes Panagbenga adventure. I might also write separate articles about every destination with more comprehensive information.

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