Issue of March 4, 2018
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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23rd Panagbenga’s creativity hub sets stage for ‘creative economy’
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Baguio, Unesco’s newest Creative City Network member, is now looking on building and sustaining a “creative economy” following the success and public’s appreciation of the creative hub that was made part of this year’s Panagbenga activities.

Over 300 local artists and artisans, including craft exhibitors, took part in the showcase of the “best of the best” of Baguio and Cordillera crafts and performing arts at the uniquely designed Baguio Creative Hub at the Malcolm Square from Feb. 10 to 24, showing to the public why the city deserved to gain such a Unesco honor.

Creativity overflowed with daily presentations and exhibits by home-grown talents and visitors composed of folk singers, filmmakers, instrumentalists, poem readers, student arts and performing groups, street performers, buskers, painters/visual artists, craftsmen, and weavers, among others.

There were also spontaneous performances courtesy of those who just came by as tourists, among them a Japanese guitarist-singer and some from nearby provinces.

All with big audiences, notable and applauded presentations were Narda’s weaving demo, Alex Musni’s on-the-spot painting, Blas Pagadian’s basketry, Masferre, Habi, Gilbert Gano’s sculpture, Lito Mangale, visual artists of Baguio headed by Ben Cabrera and Pasa-kalye Arts Circle, silver craft, Cating family’s collection of sangi (basket backpacks), women’s paper crafts, spoken poetry, henna and traditional tattooing by Whang-od descendant Jasmin, Female Jail Dorm’s creations, Edralins, a foreign flutist, and the screening of filmmaker and director Ferdie Balanag’s award-winning documentary “Walking the Waking Journey,” and other local artists who did public performances for the first time.

Alec Mapalo of the University of the Cordilleras who managed the flow of the event area said in his social media post that that the hub is only “a teaser of what is to come for the newest Unesco Creative Cities Network member, Baguio City,” which “rediscovered its potentials for creative work.”

Department of Tourism-Cordillera Director Marie Venus Tan also said it is fitting to thank all those who have supported the event by sharing their talents and artistry even spontaneously and contributing to the making of a historic event in the city.

She added that stakeholders are poised to begin planning immediately for succeeding activities and programs within the year together with the city government to sustain the feat’s momentum.

Maricar Docyogen of the Pasa-kalye and Baguio Creative City Council said the success of the undertaking is more than what they expected, and was thankful that Baguio artists were given an ideal venue to stage their performances during the Panagbenga Festival.

She said it spurred hope and promising opportunities for the local talents to be known, and develop as main players of a creative economy, which would uplift the level of their professionalism, increase public’s appreciation and support for arts and crafts, and contribute to the city’s economy.

As an offshoot of the Panagbenga arts and craft, expo, Doc-yogen said a grand arts festival is being planned for November and other activities for the succeeding years.


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