Christmas in the Philippines

Eastern Samar lights up, goes ‘global’ for Christmas

Alren Beronio
Eastern Samar lights up, goes ‘global’ for Christmas

ECO WARRIORS GO GLOBAL. Barangay Abucay in Sulat, Eastern Samar puts up replicas of the San Francisco Bridge and New York's Statue of Liberty made of recyclable materials, as part of the town's 'Sulat Around the World' Christmas village.

Courtesy of Tonton Lubat/Facebook)

In Sulat and Can-avid towns, barangays compete to win funds for projects or a combination of cash and projects

EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – Local governments around the province have put up visual treats for the yearend holidays of 2022, with giant trees and lanterns and a bridge bathed in pink with a daily light show lending a festive atmosphere for residents.

The most spectacular displays, however, are in Sulat, a fourth-class municipality an hour away from the provincial capital of Borongan via the Taft-Oras-San Policarpo-Arteche road.

The town’s “Sulat Around The World” theme showcases replicas of various countries’ landmarks, with bulletin boards that provide information about the materials used.

Taking center stage is a United States tableau showing California’s San Francisco Bridge and New York City’s Statue of Liberty by Barangay Abucay.

Barangay Sto. Nino’s Bahay Kubo came with a harana (a suitor’s serenade) during the event launch on Monday, December 12.

“We wanted a different theme so it’s not just a typical Christmas tree. Due to the pandemic we could not travel the world, so the concept is we put in one place the different wonders and landmarks around the world through these eco warriors using recyclable materials.” Mayor Javier Zacate told Rappler.

The event is a contest, where the top prize is a project worth P500,000 for the barangay. The first round of judging was on December 12. The second round will be on Friday, December 16, with the winners announced on either Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, the local government said.

Other standouts are Barangay Babay’s take on the Eiffel Tower of in Paris, France; Barangay Tabi’s Leaning Tower of Pisa of Italy; Barangay Kandalakit’s CN Tower of Toronto, Canada; and Barangay San Mateo’s Statue of Jesus Christ of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

TOWER AND BELFRY. Sulat town Mayor Mayor Javier Zacate and other officials cut the ribbon of Barangay Babay’s replica of France’s Eiffel Tower at Sulat Around the World Christmas park beside the St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish church. Sulat local government

The eco global trot also features the Golden Hall of Ganesha, Chiang Rai, Thailand (Barangay Mabini); Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (Barangay Maglipay); a traditional Korean temple representing South Korea (Barangay Maramara); the Pyramids of Giza of Egypt (Barangay San Isidro); Dubai’s Burj Al Arab (Barangay San Juan); Britain’s the London Tower Bridge (Barangay Del Remedio); Japan’s torii gate and cherry blossoms (Barangay Loyola Heights); the Great Wall of China (Barangay San Francisco); St. Basil’s Cathedral of Moscow, Russia (Barangay San Vicente); Australia’s Sydney Opera House (Barangay A-et); the Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumput, Malaysia (Barangay Sto. Tomas); and the Taj Majal of Agra, India (Barangay Riverside).

RECYCLABLES. First round judges of the ‘Sulat Goes Global’ Christmas contest in Eastern Samar stand before Barangay Tabi’s Leaning Tower of Pisa of Italy with a list of materials used. Sulat local government

Christmas lights will be turned on at Balangiga public park on Thursday, December 15, to mark the celebration of the fourth year anniversary of the Balangiga bells’ return.

In Borongan, the provincial capitol’s 35-foot Christmas tree was lit on December 7. A big Christmas tree also stands in front of the Nativity of Our Lady cathedral in Borongan.

CAPITOL SIGHT. A 35-ft Christmas tree stands in front of the Eastern Samar capitol in Borongan City. Eastern Samar provincial government
NATIVITY SCENE. The Eastern Samar capitol grounds also has a life-sized display of the Three Kings paying homage to the Child Jesus and the Holy Family. Alren Beronio/Rappler

Can-avid town, 77 kilometers north of Borongan, also has its Lamrag Giant Lantern Festival contest, featuring 28 lanterns built by residents of its barangays.

The winning barangay will receive P150,000 cash plus a project worth the cash prize; second place will receive P100,000 cash plus project; and third place will get P70,000 plus project.

Participants will each receive P10,000 in cash and a project worth P15,000. The awarding of the best giant lantern will be on December 29, during the Christmas party of the Liga ng mga Barangay.

GIANT LANTERN. Local tourists with one of the giant lanterns displayed on the streets of Can-avid, Eastern Samar. Courtesy of Alexander Ladisla

Commuters passing Oras bridge, the longest on Samar island, will enjoy the pink glow of rows of Christmas trees and twinkling lanterns across its 540.79-meter span.

Lawaan town, 121.8 kilometers southwest of Borongan, features a tunnel of light.

Meanwhile, Christmas food bazaars are selling local food products or karan-on (kakanin in Tagalog), as well as other local specialties in front of the churches of St. Anthony of Padua in Sulangan, Guiuan town, and San Ramon Parish in Arteche town. –

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