Negros Occidental

10,000 gather as Victorias sparkles with festive Christmas lights 

Reymund Titong

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10,000 gather as Victorias sparkles with festive Christmas lights 

LIGHTING UP. Thousands gather at the Victorias City Public Plaza in Negros Occidental for the annual Christmas lights switch-on ceremony on November 30, 2023.

Victorias City PIO

A giant Christmas tree and brilliant display of lights and colors fill the public square, creating a festive vibe in the Negros Occidental city

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Thousands gathered at the Victorias City Public Plaza for the annual lights switch-on ceremony on Thursday night, November 30, to signal the start of the countdown to Christmas Day.

City hall estimated that as many as 10,000 people took part in the traditional Christmas lights switch-on.

The event also served as a prelude to the 10th Kalamayan Festival of Victorias, a component city of Negros Occidental, scheduled for December 15.

With Christmas lights flickering in almost every corner of Negros Occidental, Victorias City became the second locality in the province to mark the start of this year’s holiday season after Isabela town.

A giant Christmas tree and brilliant display of lights and colors filled the public square, creating a festive vibe.

The event showcased performances by the Victorias Elementary School Rondalla Ensemble, Victorias City Chorale, and Hangyaku-sha, highlighting the city’s local talents as brilliant lights twinkled around the public square.

As night fell in the northern Negros Occidental city, food stalls and kiosks selling local food were set up near the public square.

Actress-singer Maymay Entrata and singer Jade Riccio added a glossy flair to the event with their individual performances.

The switch-on ceremony took place half a month ahead of the Kalamayan Festival, named after the Hiligaynon word “kalamay,” which simply means sugar and differentiated the sweet Filipino delicacy made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and sugar.

Sugar has become a symbol, given that Victorias is home to the Victorias Milling Company, Asia’s largest sugar mill and refinery.

Victorias Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez described the year as challenging and emphasized the “value of cultivating a spirit of togetherness,” especially during the holiday season.

“Ano man ang kabudlayan nga aton na-agyan sa sini nga tuig, kabay nga mangin malipayon gihapon kita sa pag-atubang sang bag-ong tuig,” he said.

(Despite all the difficulties we faced this year, I hope that everyone can still maintain their optimism as we enter a fresh year.) – Rappler.com

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