14 January 2004
Based on my January 9 entry on Touring the City are some corrections from Carlos Celdran. This is an email from him:
BIG FAT HAIRY MISTAKES
Im sorry everyone.
I must have been sleepwalking while I was updating my schedule for january and february.
Please note that all tours start at 3:00PM and not 4:00PM.
Please also note the cancelled tours in February.
I am soooooooo sorry for any confusion this may have caused.
All the best everyone.
Upcoming Baguio Flower Fest...
I got this email containing information regarding the awaited Flower Festival in Baguio next month. Read on.
ALL IS SET FOR BAGUIO FLOWER FESTIVAL
Manila Times/Tuesday, January 13, 2004
By Ramon Dacawi, Northern Luzon Bureau
BAGUIO CITY—City officials Monday launched the ninth edition of the Baguio Flower Festival and assured rules have been set to prevent the biggest annual crowd-drawing event from being turned into a political circus this election year.
“Aside from the usual preparations, we know we have to contend with the expected arrival of candidates for the chance to project themselves when hundreds of thousands of people are here for the festival next month,” said Councilor and event cocoordinator Edilberto Tenefrancia.
The national candidates, from the presidential to the senatorial, will most likely be here on February 21 for the grand
parade and street dancing competition, which are the festival’s main attractions.
Dubbed “Panagbenga” (an Igorot term, meaning a season of blooming of flowers), the February festival drew over a
million people during the grand parade and street dancing last year.
“The bets, together with their retinue of campaigners, will surely be here and we’ll have to prepare protocol and more
effective crowd control measures,” Rep. Mauricio Domogan of Baguio noted.
Mayor Bernardo Vergara, chair of the organizing committee, said the national candidates will be given a frontline position but will have to march as a group during the parade.
So as not to disrupt the parade, however, the candidates will be asked to follow rules like the other regular participants. For instance, they can wave to the throngs of spectators lined-up along the route, but will be advised against breaking their line to shake hands with voters or having their supporters distribute campaign materials.
Tenefrancia said the rules will also apply to local candidates.
Some residents said it would be good to see President Arroyo and rivals Fernando Poe Jr., Panfilo Lacson and Raul Roco
marching together during the parade. Others, however, were apprehensive of a repeat of the scenario six years ago when some senatorial bets were moving up and down Session Road, the city’s main street, to shake hands with voters and gain campaign mileage.
City tourism officer Benedicto Alhambra said candidates who will be late will have to go directly to the Burnham Park,
where the parade will end. He added a special area for them will be reserved at the grandstand.
On top of the usual peace and order measures, the city police chief, Supt. Francisco Manalo, said he will prepare a security plan for the political personalities and wannabes joining the festival.
“We will also have to take measures to be able to spot and prevent pickpockets, petty thieves and bag slashers among
the crowd,” he said. “Based on our experience, the pickpockets are from out of the city who come in with the visitors.”
Some candidates may make their presence during the parade of floats and brass band competition the morning after the February 21 grand parade. Or earlier, during the opening parade on February 1, the fluvial float parade on February 13-14 and the “Pony Boys Day” on February 15. Others may opt to come for the “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom” on
February 7, when artists, whether budding or established, will capture the festival concept of flowers in bloom in a mass painting competition.
Otherwise, they can register to play in the festival’s national open golf tournament on the same day for a chance to meet potential supporters, map out campaign strategies and forge political alliances with fellow players in the Camp John Hay fairways.
Politicians are also expected during the “Session Road in Bloom” feature, from February 23-29, when crowd is at its
thickest on the main street that will be turned into a promenade area. For the latecomers, there will still be the festival half-marathon, the closing ceremony and a fireworks display, all on February 29.
The closing program, set at 1 p.m. at the city Athletic Bowl, features field demonstrations and will be spiced up by a
silent drill exhibition by the cadets of the Philippine Military Academy.