MANILA, December 16, 2003 (BULLETIN) By Judith L. Bayog - Tangub City is holding a Christmas festival featuring giant Christmas symbols, arches and parols, which are made of locally available materials and embellished with lights.

Participants who decorated the city come from the national and local agencies including highway and interior barangays.

The 64-day festival which ends on Jan. 2, 2004, began last Dec. 1 with a lighting ceremony led by Tangub City Mayor Jennifer Wee-Tan. The event was capped by the judging of the giant parols and Christmas symbols and a spectacular fireworks display.

Civic, academic, medical and cultural activities have been lined up for the two-month- long festival. Colorful lights from each Christmas symbol (those strung from post to post, hanging on the trees along the streets) and heavily lighted establishments near the city plaza transform the normally quiet city into an explosion of light and color. Like a virtual wonderland, the city throbbed with life at night and the bursting of vibrant colors gave Tangub the name “Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines.”

The decorators who are grouped into clusters, became creative in their symbols over the years. They evolved into depicting local economy hence the giant pineapple, corn, rice, alimango, and prawn, to name a few.

Giant arches in the highway remind travelers that they are entering Tangub City. The parols, which adorn the Catholic church’s patio are made of synthetic, local or recycled waste materials.

Aside from the sites, the brisk activity that went with it attracted not only tourists but enterprising individuals to engage in trade. That’s why the City government also put up the “Kamugnaan,” an agri-trade fair, which is on its second year already.

The festival which began in 1993, was institutionalized after being incorporated into the City Development Plan. Local and national offices were organized into clusters. Putting up a festival was anchored on the principle that as government employees who receive salaries and benefits from the people’s taxes, have a social responsibility to share a little of their wealth to those who have less so everyone will have the chance to celebrate Christmas.

People from nearby cities and provinces flock to Tangub during December just to see this spectacle. Some balikbayans time their homecoming during this period to witness the transformation of the city during the Christmas season. Rich and poor, young and old, regardless of political or religious conviction, people flock to the city plaza.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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