Panagbenga 2019: The First Philippine Cashless Festival

Ever heard of a cashless festival? Let me share with you my experience in the recent Panagbenga Festival with this amazing new concept and convenient purchasing in the summer capital of the Philippines.

PayMaya Card in Baguio City
PayMaya Card in Baguio City (Note: This is a deactivated card, Make sure not to share photos of your card and your card details to anyone)

Cashless Adventure

As a seasoned traveler who loves attending local and international festivals, the three most important things I need to secure before I head to a festival is to book transportation, accommodation and of course, make sure I have extra cash on hand. Although major cities in the Philippines have ATM machines, cash withdrawal may get challenging at times as well, especially if the only ATM machine near you runs out of cash.


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Singkamas PayMaya
Singkamas PayMaya

It’s a rule of thumb to always bring extra cash on hand – however – based on experience, bringing too much cash also seems risky.

Thanks to PayMaya, we get to visit Baguio to experience Cashless Adventure just in time for the much-anticipated Panagbenga Festival 2019.

Cashless Adventure Crew. (L to R) Out of Town Blog’s Melo Villareal, Young Star’s Ella Rivera, and influencers: Akiko Centeno, Angel Yeo, and Mikyle Quizon, were all smiles posing in front of the PayMaya float during the Panagbenga Festival Float Parade last March 3. This crew embarked on a four-day Baguio adventure, sans their wallets, with their PayMaya app and card as their only payment buddy.
Cashless Adventure Crew. (L to R) Out of Town Blog’s Melo Villareal, Young Star’s Ella Rivera, and influencers: Akiko Centeno, Angel Yeo, and Mikyle Quizon, were all smiles posing in front of the PayMaya float during the Panagbenga Festival Float Parade last March 3. This crew embarked on a four-day Baguio adventure, sans their wallets, with their PayMaya app and card as their only payment buddy.
PayMaya Float Panagbenga Festival 2019
PayMaya Float Panagbenga Festival 2019

PayMaya Philippines teamed up with the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFI) to allow Merchants in Baguio City to try and implement its convenient QR-based payments to provide convenience to local and visiting tourists in the city.

Arrival in Baguio

And while I’m getting all giddy for the summer, I can’t help but really like the chilly weather in Baguio.

Up-and-coming attractions may be flourishing in Northern Luzon, but Baguio remains to be a destination of choice not only during the summer but the whole year round. As a matter of fact, the influx of tourists always increases during the last week of February to witness the city in full bloom during the celebration of Panagbenga Festival; a month-long celebration which includes street dancing, float parade, and more exciting activities.

Akiko Centeno with PayMaya Mascot
Akiko Centeno with PayMaya Mascot
Baguio Loves PayMaya Squad
Baguio Loves PayMaya Squad

We witnessed a very vibrant and colorful Burnham Park and kicked off our first day by trying out the Swan boat ride and a group bicycle ride, but wait, there’s a twist!

Biking in Burnham Park
Biking in Burnham Park

As part of the challenge, we were required to leave our wallets at the hotel to try other activities and find vendors that implement QR codes, and those who accept prepaid cards. It was quite easy and convenient since there are several vendors in the park that has a accepts PayMaya QR codes.

Food Trip in Baguio

A trip in Baguio wouldn’t be complete without having to try an array of food. There are a lot of places to eat in Baguio which makes people more interested in driving north especially during long weekends.

Cafe by the Ruins
Cafe by the Ruins

Our first stop was at Cafe by the Ruins for brunch – and our meal was immensely satisfying. If you plan to visit this restaurant nestled along Shuntug Road, I highly recommend you try their Camote Bread, Ensaymada, Bagnet, and of course their Benguet Coffee.

Bagnet at Cafe by the Ruins
Bagnet at Cafe by the Ruins

Cafe by the Ruins is not yet implementing QR codes, however, they accept PayMaya Visa Card for payment. Since we are in a huge group, one of our teammates paid for the meal to skip the hassle of paying our food individually but paid her later on using the PayMaya App.

Dinner at BASMNT
Dinner at BASMNT

We did the same thing when we dined at BASMNT, Tam-awan Village, Forest House, Lemon & Olives, Starbucks, Arca’s Yard and Shakeys. The great thing about the PayMaya App is that it benefits huge group who order bulk of food for sharing and that it has features where they can easily split the bill and pay afterwards.

lunch at Lemon and Olives
lunch at Lemon and Olives
Baguio Loves PayMaya Squad at Bell Church
Baguio Loves PayMaya Squad at Bell Church

On our second day, we visited the Bell Church located just a few steps from the boundary welcome arch of La Trinidad. People who plan to visit here can take picture-worthy shots of designed structures and landscaped gardens.

Melo at Bell Church Baguio City
Melo at Bell Church Baguio City
Buying Strawberry Taho during PayMaya Cashless Adventure
Buying Strawberry Taho during PayMaya Cashless Adventure
Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Ice Cream Vendor using PayMaya QR
Strawberry Ice Cream Vendor using PayMaya QR
Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Taho
Strawberry Taho

Next stop is the famous strawberry fields to pick fresh strawberries and lettuce. Your visit to the strawberry fields will not be complete without having a fix of strawberry ice cream and that’s what we did. But the challenge is still on! As we walk around the area, we spotted a taho vendor that accepts PayMaya payments via a QR Code.

Pasalubong Shopping

But the fun doesn’t stop there! After visiting the Strawberry Fields, we also bought some pasalubongs and yes, we searched for shops that accepts PayMaya payments via QR Code for faster and more convenient payment processing.

Baguio Pasalubong Shopping using PayMaya QR
Baguio Pasalubong Shopping using PayMaya QR
Souvenirs from Baguio City
Souvenirs from Baguio City

On our last day in the city of Pines, we explored some of the stalls by local merchants along Session Road and surprisingly, a lot of merchants are already powered with PayMaya QR. Sweet!

Lemons and Olives in Baguio City
Lemons and Olives in Baguio City

How to Get a PayMaya Cashback

Overall, this cashless experience was definitely a welcoming experience. I find using PayMaya Card and App safe and secure, and you know what the best part is? You can get a cashback every time you use PayMaya QR. For a minimum purchase of just Php 100, PayMaya users can get as much as 100% cashback each time they use PayMaya QR to pay for products and even services. Now that’s a deal you shouldn’t miss!

PayMaya Cashback
PayMaya Cashback

How to Top-Up your PayMaya

Need to add money to your PayMaya account while in Baguio? It’s easy! Just visit PayMaya booths located around the city during the festival or you can visit various PayMaya Add Money partners around Baguio which include SM Business Services, 7-Eleven branches, and Smart Padala partner outlets.

Merchants and Stores accepting PayMaya QR in Baguio City

  • Merchant Stalls, Bike Rentals, Swan and Boat Ride in Burnham Park.
  • Merchants in Mines View Park such as Grandma’s Kitchen
  • Merchant Stalls in Strawberry Farm
  • Merchant Stalls in Session Road
  • Taxicabs around the City
  • Amare la Cucina
  • Redbuggy Burgers
  • BASMNT Baguio
  • Krispy Kreme SM Baguio
  • Army Navy Session Road
  • Auntie Anne’s SM Baguio
  • Bonchon SM Baguio and Session Road
  • The SM Store SM Baguio
Coffee Break at Starbucks Camp John Hay using PayMaya
Coffee Break at Starbucks Camp John Hay using PayMaya (Note: This is a deactivated card, Make sure not to share photos of your card and your card details to anyone)

So even before you troop to Baguio City this summer, make sure to download the PayMaya app (Android) (IOS), sign up, and add money to your account to enjoy the cashless convenience at the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Watch Akiko’s Youtube Video about our recent Baguio Cashless Adventure!

To experience your own Cashless Adventure here in Baguio City, make sure to download PayMaya App on your phone, visit PayMaya.com/deals.

Also Read: Your Ultimate Budget Travel Guide to Baguio City

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