By Farah G. Decano
WHEN I was a law student in the 1990s, I made it a point to drive to Ayala Avenue in Makati during the festive Christmas season to enjoy the fascinating and elaborate light displays. The spectacle of a multitude of blinking lights formed into various shapes which were hung on every lamp post and tree was indeed a sight to behold. By the standards of those times, Christmas along Ayala Avenue was simply amazing.
Nowadays, I need not go to Makati anymore. I do not even have to go to Clark or Tarlac. I can enjoy the same visual feast in my own province.
I am happy that local government units in Pangasinan have risen to the challenge of a demanding constituency. Many mayors and their thinktanks do not leave any stones unturned in making their residents feel the Christmas spirit, at least externally.
In terms of grandiosity, Dagupan City has always been among the frontrunners in Pangasinan. Who could forget the Paseo de Belen first staged by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez from 2015 to 2018? It was a promenade of various interpretations of the nativity by thirty-one competing barangays. Upcycled artistry was encouraged during this event. Materials that were already classifiable as garbage were turned into something beautiful, fitting enough to be a representation of Jesus’ birth. What a concept! Environmentalism and spirituality rolled into one.
There was a surge of marvelous firsts during Christmas of 2019. Fate must have given the people of Pangasinan more than their usual quota of yuletide optical treats to cover the next two years which would be bleak.
In December 2019, there was no need to go to Hongkong Disneyland to witness our favorite cartoon characters perform. Then Mayor Cezar Quiambao organized a Disney-like Christmas in the plaza of Bayambang. Every night, the people were treated to an electrical show where the main characters were actually robots! There was also a section in the municipality’s quadrangle that was devoted to Frozen movie cartoon characters. I personally observed the immeasurable enjoyment of the children playing in their make-believe Frozen world.
In the same year, the municipality of Pozorrubio under Mayor Emma Chan came up with a 40-meter long tunnel of colorful lights. Yes, I travelled an hour and a half to the town in order to experience how it was to walk under a rainbow. Was there a pot of gold at the end? Yep, the experience cheered my recently widowed mother and that that was treasure enough for me.
This year, I heard from the grapevine that people are currently fascinated by the decorations set up in the plaza of Calasiao. First woman Mayor, Mamilyn Caramat, meticulously ensured that her maiden celebration of the yuletide season was a very memorable one. Two days ago, I went to see the famed Calasiao Plaza and, indeed, once you step into the square, you become suddenly transported to a realm of flowers!
I have also heard that people are raving about San Carlos City’s decorations. I still have yet to see this. I am sure that Mayor Julier Resuello did a good job.
On December 2, Dagupan City will bring back the much talked about Paseo de Belen. I am excited about this year’s event because it coincides with the 75th year celebration of Dagupan as a chartered city. I am sure Mayor Belen will not disappoint.
I don’t think it is being shallow to dwell on what is visually beautiful. With beauty, we enjoy a certain freedom. The two years of pandemic have painted a dreary world for us. The people of Pangasinan deserve a break from the emptiness of curtailed liberties. I am glad that most leaders are helping us appreciate the world as beautiful.
Let’s start our December happy and marvelous!
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