Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fabricated Festivals

As a half-resident of Baguio City, I suppose I am somewhat obliged to write a bit about the city’s supposedly trademark flower festival, dubbed the “Panagbenga.”

But don’t come here looking for photos of the parades and all. Images here are all from my measly phone, and they all suck. I just put photos here because… I just want to. If you want nice photos of colorful parades and similarly clichéd stuff, go look for some in pbase or something. Not here. In fact, get out now, before I bore you any further.

"...I have of course concluded that practically all festivals are connived tourism ploys of some sort..."
Not to sound all negative and stuff, but ever since its inception fourteen years ago, I’ve always found the “Panagbenga” to be utterly artificial. Growing up in this predominantly Catholic, or simply overtly religious country of ours, I always thought festivals were always some centuries long thing in certain places marking either certain momentous dates, or some odd saint. Of course, the concept of festivals marking certain things such as a change of seasons, harvest times, and what-nots has been around like, forever. And while it would make perfect sense for Baguio City to hold a “festival of flowers” given the city’s climate and resulting floral abundance, it has always struck me as some connived tourism ploy.

After much thinking however, I have of course concluded that practically all festivals are connived tourism ploys of some sort in varying scales. It’s really just a question of how hard and successfully any community prepares and runs its little events.

So what am I griping about? Nothing, really. Except maybe the traffic from the road closures, additional pollution from the volume of tourist vehicles, stench of sweaty humans crowding the streets and overpasses to look at parades that look like any other parade, the poor children marching helplessly under the sunny, cloudless sky pretending to be happy, and the bloated prices of the market vendors who are capitalizing on the tourist influx, who are mostly middle class people who have little better to do with their lives that’s why they’re here watching parades that look like any other parade... But hey, I guess that means the event’s working, right…?

Catch you later…

1 comment:

DrStirringRhod said...

THANKS Jasper for dropping by my little blog!! :-) Balik ka ulit!! :-)
Matagal nadin akong hindi nakabalik sa BAGUIO ah. :-)