With its cool climate and nostalgic charm, Baguio City is a go-to destination for a quick R&R. It may be best known for summer getaways, but Baguio is always a good idea all year round—more so this time of the year for the must-experience Panagbenga Festival.
“Panagbenga” is from the Kankanaey term that means “season of blooming,” and it perfectly captures the vibrant spirit of the month-long flower festival. The annual celebration started in 1995, putting the spotlight on the rich history, traditions, and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras, according to the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. which operates, organizes, and manages the annual festival. Each year, public and private sectors in Baguio work together in staging a showstopping celebration that delights tourists and brings pride to the locals.
This year marks the 24th run of the flower festival, which formally opened last February 1 and will run until March 10. Exhibitions, flower-related competitions, concerts, and even fireworks display have been held since then, but the Panagbenga Festival’s main events—the Grand Street Parade, Grand Float Parade, and the Session Road in Bloom—are all yet to take place from March 2 onwards.
Tourists who are raring to catch the final stretch of this year’s festivities will love the coziness and low-key elegance of Hotel Veniz in either of their branches near Burnham Lake and on Session Road. Hotel Veniz Burnham, in particular, offers the best view of the Panagbenga Parade. It is strategically located in front of the City Market, right across Burnham Park.
Hotel Veniz Burnham opened in 2001 with 72 rooms; today, it now boasts 104 rooms, with 16 different room types to cover different price points and accommodation requirements. It has three dining options—Cafe Veniz, Veniz Grill, and Betty’s Kitchen—as well as function halls for guests looking for venue for their events.
Hotel Veniz Session, which is nestled in the middle of the bustling Session Road, also has the exact number of rooms as the Burnham branch.
Meanwhile, Hotel Veniz’s sister accommodation, V Hotel and Apartel, is perfect for tourists who are looking for a home-style place to stay where they can cook their own meals. It is located right off Legarda Road, a quiet neighborhood that’s a mere five-minute walk from Burnham Park.
“With the ongoing Panagbenga Festival, our hotels have been quite busy in spite of the many room accommodation options that have popped out in recent years. What also brings back our customers is the ‘We Pamper’ and ‘Service from the heart’ mindset of our managers and staff,” says Michael Del Rosario, general manager of Veniz Hotel Corporation.
The Del Rosarios, the family behind this chain of hotels, are entrepreneurs who are proud to be born and raised in Baguio. Being of service is something innate in them, just like their parents who had put up Sunshine Bakery and Grocery right after World War II. Their slogan, “Laking Baguio—Para sa Lahat,” reflects the family’s commitment to serve their community, so much so that they established the Sunshine Fire Volunteers Brigade in 2004. This volunteer group has since been helping save lives and properties in the city and neighboring towns.
“Espousing our family’s business philosophy of giving value for all our goods and services, our businesses have been attracting and maintaining the patronage of those who seek ‘a fair and good deal’,” adds Del Rosario.
Hotel Veniz has reasonable room rates to begin with, but once in a while, there are promos and special offers that visitors can avail through its website. There are also flash deals on its Facebook Page, which get immediately snapped up, according to Del Rosario.
*Photos courtesy of Hotel Veniz
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