Motorists warned: Baguio traffic jams
BAGUIO CITY—Tourists and residents intending to watch the grand street and floral float parades of the 22nd Panagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival this weekend should leave their vehicles behind or get stuck in traffic jams, police officials warned on Thursday.
The warning was issued to encourage them to walk to downtown Baguio when major streets would be closed for the parades, said Senior Supt. Ramil Saculles, city police chief.
Traffic slows down or stops altogether for hours on streets outside the central business district once Session Road, Harrison Road fronting Burnham Park, and Magsaysay Avenue, the parade routes, are closed to traffic, according to Saculles.
Police said it would enforce a rerouting scheme to reduce the gridlocks that would block roads after the parades.
They said they also wanted to ease traffic on roads leading to the heavily populated villages of Aurora Hill, Trancoville and Pacdal and those along Marcos Highway.
Session Road will be closed immediately after the float parade on Feb. 26 until March 5 when it hosts the annual street bazaar called Session Road in Bloom.
Frederico Alquiros, cochair of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc., the event organizer, said schools had been asked to open their campuses to tourists and visitors who needed to park their vehicles.
This year’s festival got early exposure on Jan. 18 when 28 candidates of the Miss Universe pageant took part in street dancing and float parades during their visit here.
Thirteen groups of street dancers and drum-and-lyre bands from elementary and high schools in the city will perform on Saturday, while 22 flower-decked floats will parade on Sunday.
Street dancers and bands from Benguet, Kalinga and Pangasinan provinces are also expected to join the parades.
Started in 1996, Panagbenga was the brainchild of the late lawyer, Damaso Bangaoet Jr., former vice president of the John Hay Management Corp., to attract tourists to then newly opened Camp John Hay tourism estate.
Baguio was then barely recovering from the devastation wrought by the July 1990 earthquake. —VINCENT CABREZA
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