Heads Up, Tourists: Baguio Cancels Panagbenga Festival Amid COVID-19 Threat

The city also suspended the CARAA Games and the popular night market.
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/H3K27

After moving the Panagbenga Festival from February to March, Baguio has “completely” canceled the yearly event due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat. Mayor Benjamin Magalong made the announcement hours after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency yesterday, March 9, according to Inquirer. 

All the festival activities and street parades were canceled after “extensive discussions.” It’s the first time in 25 years that the annual event was canceled, according to the report. The popular festival was launched in 1995 to boost tourism after the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

The Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Games have been postponed as well for the second time. The event was initially moved from February to March.

Aside from these events, the mayor announced the suspension of Baguio’s night market for 14 days, starting today, March 10. Also suspended is the Sunday pedestrianization of Session Road, where half of the main road is closed to traffic to reduce pollution and encourage people to walk, according to Rappler. 

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As of this writing, there are now 24 confirmed cases in the Philippines. According to CNN Philippines, the latest four cases are from Project 6, Quezon City; West Crame, San Juan; and Sta. Maria, Bulacan. 

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Since the virus was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019, it has infected over 108,000 people and killed over 3,800 people around the world, according to CNN. 

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