City of Christmas lights

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Monday, December 23, 2013

STARTING from a single Christmas tree, the holiday decor now fills the entire town plaza and extends to the city streets. Every December, thousands of lights bring a luminous glow and festive ambiance to this small city in Misamis Occidental.

The event, spearheaded by City Mayor Philip T. Tan and first lady Jennifer W. Tan, promotes tourism and encourages camaraderie among members of the participating groups while upholding the spirit of Christmas in the community. The town is quiet the rest of the year, but when the Christmas symbols are out, the plaza is bustling with activity.

All 55 barangays in Tangub have the chance to participate in the festival through creative contests, even those that are far-flung from the town center. The contest has different categories for Christmas symbols, arches, and parol making. For the second year in a row, the theme for the symbols and arches is “Christmas Around the World.”

Winners of the contests will be in announced in early January, with cash prizes. But most participants don’t even know yet how much the prize money is for the winning entries per category. The common consensus among different agencies is that they want to support this community activity and have something grand to show to visitors of Tangub. Since it’s the city’s biggest event every year, they pour their hearts into the project to come up with their best effort for each contest entry.

For two months leading up to the competition, they devote time away from their full-time jobs to build the structures. Agencies decide their own budgets for the materials, while the city government sponsors the electricity for the event. The symbols are made of plywood, cement, recycled materials such as glass and plastic bottles, CD’s, and indigenous materials abundant in the area like corn husks and capiz shells.

Those who want to admire the Christmas structures at the town plaza pay P1 as an entrance fee. During the opening night of the Christmas festival in early December, the entrance fee was P10. That evening, the city raised more than P70,000 in donations for the benefit of calamity survivors, making this year’s festival bring light and love well outside of the Tangub City plaza.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 24, 2013.


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