Christmas in the Philippines

Tabaco City lights up candyland Christmas village with eco twist

Rhaydz B. Barcia
Tabaco City lights up candyland Christmas village with eco twist

SANTA'S LOCAL HELPERS. Pedicabs, not reindeers, help Tabaco City's Santa Claus to transport Christmas cheer.

Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

Ecobricks made of recycled plastic and other repurposed materials bring to life Tabaco City's environmental policies in its 2022 Christmas village

ALBAY, Philippines – Tabaco City, Albay province’s City of Love and “padyak (pedicab) capital” of the country, lit a candyland Christmas village made of recycled materials on the eve of the first day of Advent.

For several years now, the Tabaco City government has been using pedicabs in place of reindeer in the Christmas village as a way of honoring the thousands of its pedicab drivers.

The local sikad-sikad, ablaze in bright hues, takes center stage as Santa Claus’ ride of choice in the Christmas village. It has been serving as the primary transport of Tabaqueños for decades.

FOR THE CHILDREN. The candyland motif is Tabaco City’s way of giving a gift to children after a two-year pandemic lockdown. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

The sikad-sikad is similar to other pedicabs – a bicycle with a sidecar – but what sets it apart is that each one is handcrafted by Tabaco smiths and metal workers.

The local pedicab symbolizes Tabaqueños’ strength, innovation, and even commitment to a clean environment as it does not release harmful emissions.

REOPENING. The Saint John the Baptist Parish Church in Tabaco City, Albay, reopens on November 26, 2022, two years after it was destroyed by Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni). Photo from Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro

The lighting of the Christmas village on Saturday, November 26, coincided with the opening of the Saint John the Baptist Parish Church two years after it was damaged by Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni) in November 2020.

Thousands of residents attended the two activities despite a heavy downpour.

UNFAZED. Bad weather didn’t stop Tabaco residents from filling up the city plaza and nearby streets to witness the lighting of their Christmas village on November 26, 2022, the eve of the start of Advent. Photo from Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro

Yearly, the Tabaco City government selects a different theme for its Christmas village. Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro chose a candyland motif for 2022 to let children have fun after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECO CHOICE. Tabaco City uses eco bricks and repurposed materials for decorations at its Christmas village, including this life-sized tableau of the Magi visiting Bethlehem. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

Consistent with the city’s environmental programs, Luistro said they used recycled materials. The mayor added that they learned to “adapt and innovate” amid the pandemic. –

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