THE SM CDO Downtown Premier in Cagayan de Oro City welcomed the Yuletide season with the grand unveiling and lighting of its Christmas centerpiece last Saturday, November 7, at the mall's ground floor activity area.
The centerpiece is designed around the concept of Joyful Stories of Christmas with its sparkling frosty forest and golden reindeers that seem to pop out from a book, together with the giant Christmas tree decorated in red and silver.
SM CDO Downtown Premier mall manager Evangeline Ditona assured its shoppers and mall goers that despite the current threat brought by the pandemic, the mall will continue to let them feel the warmth and magic of Christmas with their awe-inspiring on-ground Christmas displays and activations, exciting promos and offers, and online shopping experience.
"As you know, 2020 has been a challenging year not just for us Filipinos but for everyone around the world. And SM assures its shoppers that they will still feel the warmth of a perfect Christmas. Dahil ngayong Pasko, sama-sama tayo sa SM Supermalls," Ditona said.
SM's Bears of Joy is already in place, which is located at the ground floor of the mall. It features a new look, with the bears dressed up like the frontliners. For P200, the buyer gets one pair of bears, one that they can keep and the other will be given to SM's chosen charity.
"Christmas is also about family. There is nothing better than spending the magical season with our loved ones. And so we are working together with BDO to bring our Pamasko Handog Para sa OFW to another level. This year, we will make it easier for our OFWs to connect with their loved ones here in the Philippines and celebrate Christmas together," Ditona said.
Also part of their Kasama ng SM campaign is their Christmas Market, which features locally produced goods and products of the city's micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs.
The Christmas Market, which is located at the fifth floor of SM CDO Downtown Premier, is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry. It is to help the local businesses restart and recover.
"This year's Christmas may be far from how we imagine it to be. But if we continue to help and uplift each other in this time of adversity, we will be able to bounce back better and stronger together," Ditona said.
Present during the ceremonial Christmas tree lighting were Mayor Oscar Moreno, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño, and Regulatory and Complaint Board (RCB) chairperson lawyer Edgardo Uy.
"You know, in spite of all this difficult time, we are celebrating. This celebration is very important for us to remind ourselves and everyone that this has been something that should still be part of our lives," Moreno said.
Moreno expressed his gratitude to the SM group for proceeding with the annual ceremonial lighting of its Christmas tree.
"Regardless of the circumstances, Christmas is the birth of Christ and the birth of humans. Christmas is our inspiration and the inspiration of tomorrow," Moreno said.
"So I'd like to thank SM for proceeding with this. To share with the people of Cagayan de Oro the spirit of Christmas," he added.
The mayor said the celebration of the Christmas season through the lighting activity manifests the firm belief that the SM group is not only there for business but also a part of the community.
Moreno also mentioned in his speech on the continued increase in the number of local cases and asked for the public's cooperation by observing the minimum public health standards.
"If all of us will care not just for ourselves but more especially for others, nga bantay kita dili lang para dili kita matakdan but more importantly para dili kita makatakod, if all of us will have that mindset, I have no doubt at all nga malampuson kita," Moreno said.
"Hopefully, pag-abot sa Pasko, our situation will be a lot better. I want to remove the curfew or even reduce the number of hours and I want to allow people of all ages to go about, but for us to be able to do that, to do these things, we need to check the virus," he added.