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PICTURESQUE hardly describes this landscape scene set at a corner of Burnham Park.

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LANDSCAPE artists show off their designs in this years Panagbenga landscape competition.

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LANDSCAPE artists show off their designs in this years Panagbenga landscape competition. PHOTOS BY ELMER KRISTIAN DAUIGOY/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON





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Landscape experts find place, profit in Baguio fest

By Maurice Malanes
Inquirer Northern Luzon
First Posted 17:04:00 02/19/2011

Filed Under: Arts (general), Travel & Commuting, Tourism

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines?A portion of this city?s Burnham Park, host to 235 tent-covered business stalls, could have been just another ?tiangge? or flea market.

But simply offering venues for merchants to peddle their goods is not lawyer Damaso Bangaoet Jr.?s idea of a ?Market Encounter,? a feature of the now yearly Panagbenga (Baguio Flower Festival).

For the former Camp John Hay Development Corp. official, who conceived the Panagbenga in 1994, the aesthetic and ecological must be part of the business experience during Market Encounter.

This, he says, is the idea behind incorporating a landscaping competition during the event.

As merchants trade their wares?some of them aided by blaring prerecorded repetitive commercial jingles and ads?while buyers mill around the tent-covered stalls, the atmosphere at an area nearby is more contemplative and joyful.

Most carrying digital cameras and camera-equipped phones, visitors and locals alike marvel at over 20 landscapes and 19 ?carpets of flowers? around an oval skating rink at the park.

These are entries of landscape artists, who are aiming both for the prizes promised by the organizers and the promotion of their business.

As works of art, the landscapes express the artists? messages in trying to keep faith with this year?s Panagbenga theme of harmonizing the community and the environment.

For example, most artists? chose to use old wooden frames and implements, such as plows or discarded doors and windows, to highlight their work. This communicates the important message of recycling.

The mix of plants, rocks, stones, pebbles and gushing water from a fountain or a recreated mountain wall also articulates an ecological message in this age of urbanization when concrete now covers much of the earth?s surface.

The landscape artists are, in a way, reiterating an advocacy by American architect Daniel Burnham, who designed both Manila and Baguio in the early 1900s. Burnham had stressed the importance of open spaces and parks in his designs.

As the city advocates ?community and environment harmony,? the artists have something to offer?their creativity and imagination, which, environmentalists say, can help bring fresh ideas to the way the city manages its land and resources.

Bangaoet always incorporates landscape artists in the Market Encounter because of their ?aesthetic sense? and creativity.

He has also embarked on a strict garbage management system within the exhibition area.

?We have to show how things are done, so we have employed a dozen uniformed personnel to take care of all solid wastes, which they put regularly at a fenced off area ready for pick up by the city?s garbage truck,? he says.

From business tax and rentals, the Market Encounter alone will be turning over P800,000 to the city treasury, says Bangaoet. ?But as we help generate income for the city, we are also showing tips in managing wastes,? he says.

The Market Encounter idea, including its emphasis on the aesthetic and ecological, has, in a way, set a precedent for neighboring towns.

La Trinidad, the capital town of Benguet, has adopted a similar venture during its Strawberry Festival held yearly in March.



Copyright 2014 Inquirer Northern Luzon. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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