Christmas in Baguio opens December 1

The city’s annual calendar of yuletide offerings for residents and tourists who flock to the city for the holidays will open on December 1.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that that this year’s activities must jibe with the city’s Creative City status thus the organizers of the events were encouraged to inject and more imagination and ingenuity in their programs.
Activities will officially begin on Dec. 1 with the Silahis ng Pasko grand opening program topbilled by the annual Mardigras at 8 a.m. where thousands of Day Care children and parents garbed in Christmas costumes will once again parade and spread cheer along Session Road.
At 2 pm the Miss and Mr. Little Silahis ng Pasko will be staged at the Malcolm Square featuring the awards ceremonies, children’s “kultora-o-rama,” and dancefest.
At 6 pm also on Dec. 1, the lighting of the 23-meter Grand Christmas Tree will happen at the Rose Garden to signal the start of the Christmas festivities in the city.
This will be followed by the lantern parade by the St. Louis University which has turned into one of the most awaited spectacle every December.
Committee chair on special events Councilor Elmer Datuin said other activities to watch out for are the Volkswagen vintage car show, chalk art, concerts, torch parade and fireworks displays.
The city also plays host to the 69th Fil-Am golf tournament which starts on Nov. 28 up to Dec. 15, with 1,200 golfers and their families, from the Asia Pacific region and other countries.
The on-going Santa’s garden Christmas village at one of the city’s premier hotels is also teeming with local tourists specially during weekends, thus traffic enforcers along the thoroughfares are needed, it was known.
Three concerts are scheduled on Dec. 28, thus the need for coordination among the organizers Datuin said.
As to forecast and from last year’s records, tourist arrivals are expected to peak on Dec. 20 up to the 29th, Councilor Datuin added.
Under the 45-year old Silahis ng Pasko Christmas sub-calendar, activities will also roll out.
On Dec. 2, the Share-A-Joy Children’s Christmas Fun Alley and Raffle Joys will happen for Little Helping Hands, newspaper boys, shoeshine boys, baggage boys and bag sellers.  A Palaro and raffle will also be conducted at 9 am at the Malcolm Square.
On Dec. 8 will be the Immaculate Conception Day festivities with a Thanksgiving Holy Mass at the NCCB Shrine of the Brown Madonna along Km. 7 Asin Road, Tuba, Benguet for peace and solidarity and progress.
On Dec. 9, the Philippine Military Academy cadets will hold their day at the Burnham Park by staging the traditional Silent Drill exhibition at the Melvin Jones at 10 am.
At 2 pm, the cadets will move to the People’s Park at 2pm for Christmas concert of the PMA band.
The Quest for the Baguio Lucky Christmas Family will happen on Dec. 8-9 with the winning family to receive a red carpet reception, accommodation, sightseeing tours and courtesy calls on ranking government officials.
Simultaneously on Dec. 7-8, Silahis will revive the Quest for the Baguio Lucky Foreign Visitors, an international tourism promotions program, to be coordinated by mediamen Thom Picana and Primo Agatep.
The Baguio City National High School will stage the Dancing and Singing Christmas Tree at 2 pm at the Malcolm Square.
Dec. 15 will be reserved for the Special Day for Special People which will feature an amateur singing contest and instrumentals at 8:30 am, a chess tournament for the sightless special athletes and a children’s palaro for the blind, mentally challenged, hearing and speech impaired and the orthopedically impaired at the Malcolm Square.
On Christmas Day, Silahis will stage the Santa Claus on the Road and the Quest for Lucky Christmas Baby 2017 while the counterpart New Year Baby will be selected on Jan. 1.
On Dec. 27, Silahis ng Pasko will sponsor a Holy Mass at 4:30am to be officiated by St. Vincent parish priest Fr. Jeffrey. Habado at Malcolm Square.
The Baguio Lucky Balikbayan and the Cordillera Sportsmen Day will be held on Dec 29 9am at the Sunshine Park.
Padilla said they will award the lucky balikbayans in the individual, family and couple categories and the Balik nang Balik Balikbayans during the event along with the 12 Outstanding Baguio-Benguet Elderly Luminaries.
The event will also serve as the Baguio-Cordillera International Athletes and Sportsmen “Mabuhay” get-together party.
A fellowship “salu-salo” over “Pinikpikan” fare will cap the event.   Aileen P. Refuerzo and Julie G. Fianza / ABN

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