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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Quick Tip From The Mediocre Wanderer : Panagbenga In Baguio

The Sunflower...a symbol of Panagbenga
A whole month of festivities this February is brought on by Baguio City's celebration one of it's primary commodity: flowers.  Competitions, concerts, parades, trade fairs and so much more activities bring fun and excitement to the city's residents, but more so, to the expected millions of tourists who will be coming up to experience the yearly event. As I write this blog, a throng of residents and tourists crowd the main thoroughfares of the city's central business district to watch the street dancing parade/competition.
flower power
an entry in the annual Panagbenga Landscaping Competition
I've probably watched 3 or 4 such parades in Panagbenga throughout its 16 year existence and have opted to view it in the comfort of our home via cable TV instead. Though we stay in to avoid the crowds, the Panagbenga street and Float parade is a true visual treat that one has to experience at least once. 

We could almost hear the bees in the area say : "Bee-utiful!"
Another must see is the Landscape Competition set up around the Burnham Park skating rink. Around 30 or more contestants enter the various categories to showcase their landscaping skills and creative incorporation of various elements , especially their artistic usage of plants and flowers. If you're a gardening buff, this is sure to get your green thumbs itching for some yard action. Entrance is free.

Shopping time!
ethnic wood carvings

happy coin banks, making savings fun

 A toilet paper dispenser/statue. Tissue comes out of the mouth. Who would've thought?!  

a Bangkok lemon tree for sale. The lemon hanging on the branch is the size of a small pineapple

dolphin friends!!!! (I so looove dolphins)

woven pot cozies, carved wooden trays and hot pot mats
Right beside the landscaping contest entries is the annual Market Encounter. Little shops showcasing handicrafts native to Baguio, such as wood carvings, toys, paintings, home decors, sweaters, shawls and other souvenir shop staples as well as various herbs, flowers and decorative plants. Feel free to haggle in these shops. Food kiosks are on hand as well,  just in case you get hungry after a bit of shopping. 
buy 1 take 1 on baskets. these could also double as magazine holders 
trinkets, peanut brittle, strawberry jam and ube
coin purses and bags for kids
If you've got little ones with you who are a bit bored from being dragged around while you look for the perfect item to bring home, the functional skating rink in the center of the market encounter is still open to the public. It's got it's own restaurant as well as a variety of rides and bump cars right in the middle of the rink. There truly is a little something for everyone.
well ventilated, clean and safe, the Burnham Park  skating rink
is still a good place to stay under the shade and have fun minus the crowd

the infamous naughty boy fountain

Barbie-like dolls dressed in crocheted dresses

fresh herbs

Tomorrow, the most awaited float parade shall be taking place at Session Road. It will then proceed to the Baguio Athletic bowl as it's last stop. 
a 12,000 php wood carving 

note the detail and intricacy of this hardwood  artwork. while the figures are all interlock, the wood carver managed to delicately carve in movable details like the baskets and earrings. 
To all those attending the event, don't forget your hats, towels and sunglasses to shield you from the heat. an umbrella may be great for your skin, but potentially dangerous to somebody's eye in a crowd. Apply a healthy amount of sunblock as well.  Bring water and snacks and everything you could possibly need with you as your car may be parked a good distance AWAY from you. Wear sneakers and do expect to walk. Be wary of strangers approaching you with suspicious deals and promos and watch out for pickpockets. I'm sure our local law enforcement will be quite visible but you can never tell.
belated Valentine presents
All in all, have a great time in Baguio and hope to see you all again in next year's Panagbenga!

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

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