During the month of February, the City of Baguio celebrates the Baguio Flower Festival, which was later renamed as Panagbenga (Kankanaey term: blooming of flowers). I wonder why Kankanaey dialect was used when Baguio is a chartered city inside Benguet province and the original settlers of Baguio were Ibalois. In that regard, Ibaloi should have been the dialect that was used to call the festivity. Well, perhaps, the mayor at the time when the term was coined is Mr. Mauricio Domogan, a native of Mt. Province, and that explains why. But nevertheless, he should have respected the Ibalois, once and for all.
Well…, this is not actually the main reason why I wanted to write this blog. A friend of mine in twitter, @BinibiningCamel suggested that I blog about Panagbenga Festival and that made me think of the “behind the scenes.” Since I come from the medical profession, I thought of writing few stories and anecdotes related to or that happened during the occasions of the flower festival.
There was a time when the parade, inclusive of street dancing, bands and lyres, floats, was held on a single day, usually Saturday afternoon. It used to start at around 1 pm (often late) and usually ends in the evening at around 5 or 6 pm. Can you just imagine how exhausted the spectators are, children specially? Then, the parade started from Camp John Hay area, down through Session Road, to Magsaysay Avenue, U-turns in front of Center Mall, then back to Magsaysay Ave., through Harrison Road until it reaches Athletic Bowl. Because of this, transportation halts literally around the city, even along the national highways (Magsaysay Avenue-Halsema Highway, Kennon Road, Marcos Highway and Naguilian Road, Ambuklao-Nueva Vizcaya Highway) entering/exiting the city. Passengers and travelers are very helpless about it, as the traffic only begins to move when the parade concludes.
When I was an intern or resident, I recall one incident that happened on that unfortunate afternoon I was on duty. An adult patient had a severe asthma attack, and they came all the way from Loakan area. The attack was so severe and I cannot imagine the agony of that patient during the time when he was helpless at the middle of the road, stuck in traffic. They couldn’t walk as the patient was weak enough to do so. When traffic finally resumed and they reached the hospital, the patient was out of breath. He was revived, but didn’t make it. Yes, he came in to the hospital “dead on arrival.”
One spectator came from Manila (I forgot the exact place). She was about 7 months pregnant at that time she came to witness the festival. Unfortunately, she had preterm contractions and was brought to a private hospital. The labor was progressive that she had to deliver the baby, prematurely.
The mother and the baby were taken cared of without any hesitations in the hospital. But problem arose when the baby was discharged. The parents were not able to pay the bills of the baby (as care of preterm babies come with an expensive cost). They signed a promisory note to bring back the payment after discharge. In that note and in the hospital chart, they gave an address within the city. Then, they did not pay on the date they said they would. When the investigator from the hospital went to the address they indicated in the hospital record for follow-up, the investigator was surprised. The house number did not exist and the location was pointing to an empty lot, a ravine in fact. Yes, they cheated the hospital despite the fact that they were treated diligently.
(To my colleagues, if you have other stories that you like to share in this blog, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your first hand stories are most welcome).