Virtual Panagbenga: Foreign, Pinoy travellers celebrate Season of Bloom amid pandemic


MAKATI CITY, Mar. 7 — Travel plans may have been affected because of the pandemic, but this did not stop foreign travelers and overseas Filipinos from experiencing Baguio’s famous “season of bloom.

Through “Fiesta Filipinas: An Online Celebration of Philippine Festivals,” over 200 live participants and about 25,000 viewers from various parts of the world were able to experience the colors, sound, smell, taste, and feel of the in-person Panagbenga celebration through this first-of-its-kind multi-sensory event on 27 February 2021.

“I was planning to attend this festival and (I was) so disappointed that Covid derailed my plans. What a joy to get to at least have a virtual experience,” said Lee Ellen of China, one of the participants of the online celebration which was broadcast on the official Facebook page and YouTube channel of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Participants like Lee Ellen were able to have a multi-sensory experience of the festival starting with a virtual tour. The program’s local wanderer Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario virtually brought the bisitas, as the participants were called, to the scenic mountains of the Cordillera region and allowed them to explore the UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, the inspiring Ili-Likha Artists’ Watering Hole, the Tam-Awan Village, and Bencab Museum.

For a more interactive participation in the program, each participant was given a Fiesta Filipinas kit, which includes food items from the Philippines that they got to taste and enjoy while the event is ongoing. The kit also contains materials for the flower arrangement session which co-host Paolo Abrera, together with Ms. Tet Mora, engaged the participants with from the comfort of their own homes.

The auditory segment completed the multi-sensory experience for every participant as it exquisitely captured the spirit and sound of Baguio and the Cordilleras during the Panagbenga season. “It’s absolutely amazing. I felt like I was there although I’ve never been there before,” participant Dionte Kang from New Zealand said.

The Fiesta Filipinas event is organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The next Fiesta Filipinas event, featuring the tradition of Visita Iglesia in the Philippines will be broadcast on 27 March 2021, 4:00 p.m. (PH Time). Interested participants overseas may contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Philippine Consulate General in their area for more details.

Watch the video here for more of what happened at the first #FiestaFilipinas featuring the Panagbenga festival: (DFA)