By ERCEL MAANDIG
ATTENDED by several national figures; again, this year's edition of Tangub City's Christmas Symbol Festival of Lights opening draws thousands of crowds from all walks of life in different regions of Mindanao just to witness the spectacle of a well-lighted sparkling huge Christmas symbols plus a fireworks display at the tail end of the program despite of pouring heavy rain during the opening on December 1. The event will last until January 1,2019.
Department of Tourism (DoT) 10 director May Salvana-Unchuan led the contingent from Cagayan de Oro City to witness and support the one of Northern Mindanao's spectacular events in the whole year as this is a one of its kind event that is among the festivals in the country that is acknowledged by the Department as among the very successful festivity as successful as the Kaamulan Festival in the province of Bukidnon and Lanzones Festival in Camiguin that draws millions of crowd in a weeklong festivity.
Among the two festivals, the Tangub City Christmas Symbol Festival of Lights is the longest in running as it runs for a month with daily variety shows at night.
With Unchuan were personalities from the City Tourism Department of Cagayan de Oro City led by the former DoT 10 director Dorothy Jane Pabayo who is now the city's consultant for tourism affairs and some balikbayans from California and New York in the United States of America that promised to promote the festival when they're already going back in their respective areas in the US. Pabayo was the first regional director of DoT in Northern Mindanao and served the Department for already 30 years.
"The Christmas Symbols Festival of Lights is not only depicting the Christmas spirit of Filipinos but this is a festival that symbolizes a true meaning of celebrating Filipino way of Christmas that is unprecedented and incomparable celebration among the Christian Nations," Unchuan said.
She added that this is a very meaningful festival as it performs festivity and extravagant Christmas celebration as well with extravagant Christmas symbols wherein every year, it has its different themes and concept.
This year, they are showcasing the famous symbols in the the world, from famous churches to bridges and vessels.
Tangub City is now dubbed as Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines wherein the city's landscape every year is spruced up for the Christmas season.
Communities installed arches on the main streets leading to the city hall and around the children's park bear lanterns. A row of arches with Christmas-inspired filigree now stand at the city plaza.
The Christmas Symbol Festival of Lights now became institutionalized as offices of both local and national were clustered to put up Christmas symbols, highway and interior villages putting up decorative arches, and highland villages putting up their respective parols at Saint Michael's Parish Plaza, said Baby Pallar, Tangub City tourism officer.
She said that in 2017, they accounted a total of 800,000 spectators from the opening on December 1 until January 1 of 2018.
This year, they are expecting to reach one million spectators as every year, it grows a minimum of 200,000 spectators from the one-month festivity.
What started to be a simple gathering of the locals in the Tangub City plaza 26 years ago with the first couple Mayor Philip Tan and Dr. Jennifer Tan transforming the simple community into a promising world-class Christmas destination, Pallar added.
"For the past 26 years, millions have witnessed how Tangub celebrated Christmas. From what started as a single Christmas tree to amuse a young wife who has relocated to Tangub, the Christmas Symbol Festival has grown into the biggest single attraction in Northern Mindanao during the Yuletide season," Mayor Tan said during the opening of the event. Mrs.Jennifer Tan is the author of Christmas Symbol Festival of Lights.
The event was graced by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the afternoon but left immediately after two hours and in the event proper, senatorial candidates Ronald dela Rosa, Christopher Go, Harry Roque and Ramon Revilla Jr. represented by his son Bryan graced the affair.
The event was ended with a spectacular fireworks display.
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