The Panagbenga Hangover

It’s been few weeks since the Panagbenga season ended. The month long celebration of the festival still left me tons of memories that I fail to shake off me. I can’t deny how hard it is for me to move on and deal with the aftermath. This, indeed, is a hangover from the good memories and the schedules that were fully booked with Panagbenga activities.

Who would not miss their own Panagbenga experiences after the festival? I am pretty sure how each year sets the trend on fashion, how the culture from different places is taken to Baguio, and how the mundane aspects of culture come to resurface as the festival’s highlight.

In my experience, there have been a shift on my conditioning of the month of February. My connotation of it has always been the usual hectic finals month but now, Februaries are for Panagbenga warmth. Other than the Christmas Holidays, the Panagbenga Festival has always been my most awaited season of the year. I established this euphoria when I moved to Baguio to pursue my tertiary education here. You could feel the festive mood in the air as much as how the decorations of the Session Road Rotunda invite you to be involved, the sunflower cut outs that were posted on the walls, and the glass window paintings of the blissful butterflies. The enthusiasm on the event was contagious and you can’t help it. Your senses get bombarded by it wherever you go. You could hear people talk about the wonders they saw on Panagbenga while eating their own Shawarma. It may sound too romanticized but for a person who is yet to fully understand the diversified culture of Baguio, this is an experience one can’t ever miss. Panagbenga tells a lot about Baguio and I love the way it tells me how rich the culture here is. I love the way how Panagbenga reveals more about the city than what is written on tourism brochures and blogs.

For the three Panagbenga experiences that I have enjoyed, my dilemma has always been about the choices I have to make: spending my money at the splendor that rarely happens and occurs in a year, or missing the opportunity to enjoy this season as a break from my academic matters. A picture of me having a hard time to decide between a foot long burger or a shawarma to buy has always been occurring at this time of the year. Every year, I long for the French Crepé every time I pass by its stall.

The Panagbenga festival left me hanging and longing, I cannot ever blame the enjoyable activities and stroll that keep dangling its bait after it passed my life. It was like me standing on the peak of my euphoria in the beginning of the festival and then abruptly jumping back to the plateau of my regular life. The only problem that the Panagbenga season leaves me with is an undying regret of how my involvement in the festival was not enough to get the full experience.

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