BAGUIO CITY – Crowds gathered in a post pandemic show of lights and sound which officially opened the Yuletide in the City of Pines. Hundreds lined the city’s main thoroughfares Thursday evening to witness the symbolic lighting of the city Christmas tree which kicked off the 14th Saint Louis University (SLU) Lantern Parade.

The official lighting of the tree was led by Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Congressman Marquez Go with Councilors Jose Molintas, Isabelo Cosalan Jr., Leandro Yangot Jr., Vladimir Cayabas, Betty Lourdes Tabanda, and Lilia Farinas. The tree, atop Session was decorated by Christmas symbols and is 15 meters high made of a steel frame, wire mesh and laden with beads, pearls, glitter, metallic paint and illuminated by a controlled lighting system.

After the lighting, the 14th SLU Lantern Parade kicked off themed “Sustaining CICM’s Mission and Excellence through Borderless Education,” after a two year pandemic hiatus. The parade featured various schools and colleges of the university with representatives carrying traditional lanterns, sashaying street dancers illuminated with LED lights, giant mechanized robots delighting the cramped crowd accompanied by the SLU Symphonic Band marching down Session Road onto the Melvin Jones Grandstand in Burnham Park.

Architect Jonard Don Bactad Jardenil, United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Baguio Chapter President
led the design concept for the highland tree for the areas of Session Road, Malcolmn Square Jardenil said the “cutout” design is based on a a play of circles, with the forms created by circles are imagined to represent various expressions of artistry, like music, through notes, dances through curves, fashion, visual arts, sculpture “The Interlace of different expressions of artistry in the City of Baguio.

The glittered finish simply represents how Baguio shines day and night.” Jardinil said the City tapped chapters of the UAP with the Baguio Chapter assigned for the Christmas Tree, the Summer Capital Chapter for Malcolm Square, and the Cordillera Chapter for Session Road. Tourism in the city has been brisk, bouncing back from the slump the pandemic brought with City Tourism Officer Alec Mapalo disclosing there has been 200,000 physical individual visits to the different venues and events the past

Mapalo said the recently concluded Ibag iw festival was able to gather up to almost 1,200 the performers, visual artists, craftspeople, artisans of different art forms and creatives of different fields, joining either
virtually or in person. The Tourism Officer said the activities “Collectively, directly or indirectly, they generated a total of P30 Million in estimated gross receipts of sales, honoraria and prizes, a record-high for the festival. Impakabsat of DTI alone had gross sales in Alabang of P20 Million, and still counting.”

Maria Elena Catajan/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon