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Like the rest of the world, Baguio City is bound to celebrate Christmas differently this year but things do not have to be drab and meaningless.
The city government strove to depict the true meaning of the birth of Christ as well as the attributes of the Cordillerans amid life’s challenges in elaborate and culturally inspired decorations and program mounted this year.
“We wish that this will provide some respite and lift our spirits as we continue our journey towards healing,” Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
He said the decorations at the central business district were designed and installed specially and uniquely to portray the meaning of Christmas and to give tribute to the Cordillera people’s resilience in weathering obstacles like the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We made the decorations special to tell the Christmas story portrayed through Cordillera symbols and patterns. This is Baguio’s way of observing the birth of Jesus as well as celebrating life and unity amid the trials and tribulations brought about by the pandemic and other challenges,” he said.
He said the decor’s theme is story telling starting from Malcolm Square where Cordillera’s oneness in welcoming the birth of Christ is showcased through the ethnic panels representing the six provinces of the Cordillera and the 12 panels of the Nativity which will be lighted beginning Dec. 8.
Going up Session Road, the story focuses on the Cordillerans’ “strength, courage and unwavering will to overcone hardship” as depicted in the Bendian dance steps portrayed in the lanterns that decked the street.
At the rotunda, is the Christmas tree where the story culminates. The base panels show images binding the Nativity and the Bendian dance stories together conveying the “spirit of unity and hope amid the separation and distancing tha the pandemic had caused” as also symbolized by the posts that support the tree and the rings around them. The poinsettias and butterflies that adorn the tree symbolize the metamorphosis or change for the better that everyone is going through with the pandemic.
The opening program was all about messages of hope and uplifting songs rendered by the city’s musicians who even collaborated and came up with the city’s official Christmas song entitled, “Tuloy ang Pasko” as their way of perking up sagging spirits and giving hope for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
“We have never been brought closer to home and to our families than this year so we will be showcasing this Cordillera-inspired Christmas story to remind us on how important family and community is and of how working together, coming together and belonging to a safe place will bring us closer to overcoming our present issues and challenges,” the mayor said.
“May this Christmas open our hearts and minds despite our differences that in this coming together and being one with each other will bring out the best in all of us.”
Aileen P. Refuerzo