Project Iloilo’s Christmas Lights Tour
Christmas and New Year are probably the biggest and most important holidays among Ilonggos. It is that time of the year where everybody’s at their busiest. For OFWs, it is the season of booking flights home. For regular employees, it is the month of bonuses. For mothers, it is the season of shopping rush. For children, it is the season of fun. And, alas, for fathers, it is the season of bankruptcy.
I was not convinced that Christmas is such an anticipated holiday in our way of life until a good friend from China saw me through Skype putting Christmas decors at our house’s wall back in October. She thought I was a little bit disoriented to time, and I did not realize the importance of what I was doing until she mentioned it to me. But yes, it seems like in our culture, it is quite normal to reckon that Christmas season starts on the first “-ber” month. (At least, I did mine on the second “-ber” month).
Speaking of Christmas decors, we Ilonggos (and, I guess, Filipinos in general) have a thing for Christmas lights. Most families in this city make it a yearly tradition to visit local places that showcase Christmas lights exhibits. In Iloilo City, we’ve got lots of them that fit the bill. And as it turns out, many of those places are quite accessible here! If, by some design, you have not been able to stroll around the city just yet, then here are three of those places visited by Project Iloilo this year:
1. Central Philippine University
The vast grounds of this university started glowing with sparkling Christmas lights in different designs beginning December 2nd. One specific display that caught my attention, however, is the mini-circle of white lights made from recycled disposable, transparent cups. If there is one thing that I love about going there each year other than the Christmas lights, it is the availability of food kiosks at the main entrance; you’ll never starve. Also, the huge football field is safe for kids to run because cars don’t get in the way there.
2. Iloilo Provincial Capitol
Located at the heart of the city, our capitol building has been shining brightly at night since December 9th. The prominent blue vertical lights from the top of the building always get me clenching with glee each time I pass by the area. The trees in the area are also embellished with drop lights that display some amazing snowfall light effects.
3. Bayani Mansion
Situated at Jalandoni Street, City Proper, this well-known heritage area also glows with twinkling lights every December. You have to watch out for the three dancing Santas, the belen in the balcony of 2nd floor and two fully-loaded side entrances glimmering with multi-colored lights. The trees and plants in the garden area are also made luminous with fairy lights.
Of course, the holidays is more than just about admiring Christmas lights or decors. For most Ilonggos, it is a very spiritual season; and for most families here, it is a time of joy, reunion and love. The holidays may have acquired an unnecessary commercial aspect as of late, but if you’re one who lives in Iloilo, it’s not hard to get drawn in with all the cheer and good will that the only the last two weeks of December can provide.
So, do you have any suggestions on where people can visit other beautiful “Christmas places” in the city? Well, do share them with us at the comments section below!
Oh, and before we forget, have a happy holidays, everyone!