A giant “balangay” (wooden boat) rides the sea of commerce on the final week of the 18th Baguio Flower Festival, the only piece of art looming over tents filled with food and products from various parts of the country at the street bazaar called “Session Road in Bloom.”
The huge sunflower-bedecked boat, manned by figures similar to the statuettes atop the “manunggul” jar of Palawan, was baptized with the humorous “Barangay Sun Follower,” by one of its creators, filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik.
Crafted with the help of artists like woodcarver Santos Bayucca, Feliciano Ritumalte Jr. and rattan craftsman Rogelio Guinanoy, the balangay stands
out on Session Road, a tongue-in-cheek testament to the creativity that characterizes this year’s staging of the festival, and not just its economic value, Tahimik said.
People, who return each year to watch the annual festival parades, marveled on Sunday at the way flowers were woven together to create giant birds and a rainbow-colored jungle on the deck of the Baguio Country Club float, which featured 2012 Miss Universe third runner-up Shamcey Supsup.
It was the street-dancing parade on Saturday where the festival’s roots as a Cordillera showcase were successfully portrayed. The street became a theater of Cordillera rituals, performed
by young street dancers and members of upland communities who traveled from Kalinga,
Mt. Province, Ifugao, Abra and Nueva Vizcaya to join Baguio and Benguet street dancers.
Previous stagings of the parades showed hybrid performances borrowed from more established festivals in the Visayas and Mindanao.
But on the festival’s 2012 staging, organizers began to enforce a stricter policy promoting the upland culture. Kamora National High School of Kabayan town in Benguet won praises for performing authentic Benguet dances last year.
This year, the Kalinga delegation used painted “anahaw” leaves that were made to look like giant petals. Mt. Province elders also joined students in performing during the street dancing, earning applause and appreciation from the crowd. Vincent Cabreza and EV Espiritu
PHOTOS BY EV ESPIRITU