THE winners in Bacolod City's first Belen making contest held at the New Government Center (NGC) in December 2009 were awarded Wednesday at the Mayor's Ceremonial Hall.

City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Councilor Homer Bais, chair of the City Council committee on tourism, led the awarding rite.

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Bais said that among the six entries, entry number 1 got the first prize by the group of Chris Rosales with the theme "Christmas in our Hearts." Second prize went to Patrick Payumo with his "GrupoPag-asa" theme, and the group of Josephine Noble got the third prize for her "Bata-Batuta" concept.

Cash prizes were P40,000, P30,000, and P20,000 for the first, second, and third placers, respectively, and P5,000 as consolation.

Bais opined that due to the overwhelming crowd during the contest, he hoped that it will happen again as he expect more entries this year.

"It was successful staging that actually has brought happiness to the Bacolodnons and likewise allured more tourists for the city," said Sayson.

Leonardia, on the other hand, congratulated the participating groups, saying the Belens gathered a big number of people to the NGC, particularly in the evenings.

He assured Bacolodnons to make the contest an annual activity.

The Belen Making Contest is a project spearheaded by Leonardia and Bais, in coordination with the Vice Mayors' League - Negros Occidental Chapter headed by Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson. (MAP)