THOUSANDS ATTEND CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING IN PUERTO PRINCESA
GIANT CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING IN PUERTO PRINCESA. This giant Christmas tree which measures 100 feet was lighted Saturday night in Puerto Princesa to officially welcome the holiday season. (Photo from Ms. Regina Cantillo)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — Thousands of residents and city government leaders gathered at the bay walk here Saturday night to officially welcome the holiday season with the annual lighting of a 100-foot tall community Christmas tree.
Adorned with over 100 pieces of “parol” (lantern) wrapped in white rain-proof material and colorful Christmas lights, the giant tree calls to mind the Filipino tradition of celebrating the season.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron and members of the Puerto Princesa City Council, who led the event opening, said this year’s design theme highlights the parol as an iconic symbol of how Filipinos celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“This Christmas tree was designed not only to look bright and attractive at night but also in the daytime,” Bayron said in the local vernacular.
He said the bay walk area is not the only place that would remind residents about the Christmas spirit but also strategic city locations that have been decorated with colorful lights and ornaments.
Two of these are Junction 1 where the Provincial Capitol Building is situated and Junction 2 where bright lights now hang on centuries-old Acacia and other trees.
In his speech, Bayron also addressed the issue of the city government’s failure to receive the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG).
“Christmas is not only about being happy. More importantly, it is also the time of the year where we need to reflect why the city failed to receive the SGLG award which could have been our third consecutive year of being consistently recognized,” he said.
Bayron explained the failure was due to “underspending” caused by the problem in political leadership that encumbered the implementation of many projects.
He pointed out that before the end of the year, the city will be able to bid out remaining 2018 projects and proposals for 2019.
Bayron said the Christmas tree is dedicated to them under the Bible verse John 3:16, which speaks about the summary of the central theme of Christianity.
The event was highlighted by the singing of different city choirs during the opening and a firework display that lasted several minutes at the closing. (PNA)