According to the official website of CNN, Christmas celebration in the Philippines is known as the longest in the world and Sarah Brown, author of the article entitled “The Philippines shows the world how to celebrate Christmas” could not agree more, describing our country as a place where one can find “the most Christmas spirit in the world.” It’s not the case of “wake me up before September ends,” a line taken from Green Day’s single of the same title but rather “wake me up when September starts,” as the month signals the “official” Yuletide season. Airwaves filled with both classic and modern renditions of Christmas carols of Jose Marie Chan, Christina Aguilera, and the all-time favourite, Gunter Kallman Choir. For the millennial generation like me, (wink) I might as well add Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande in the mix. How about you? What is your favorite Christmas carol?
With all the coming Christmas cheer and busyness of our everyday lives, the last four months of the year also happened to be the busiest for Tourism Amlan (TA). The preparations for major events were indeed exhausting yet we continued to strive for perfection to make Amlan known not only within the province of Negros but to the world. It is such an impossible goal but nothing is impossible, so they say.
One of the major events was the province-wide festival of festivals, the “Buglasan Festival” of which our Municipality joined in the celebration showcasing our heritage through different forms. This year’s theme called for more inter-sectoral cooperation to promote, conserve, and preserve the natural attractions found in Negros Oriental.
LGU-Amlan celebrated the Festival with entries on several competitions, and some struck gold. To all our participants, thank you for sharing your talents to Negros Oriental. I am proud of you. Let me take this opportunity to name our winners for this year’s Buglasan activities:
Buglasan Festival gave me and the rest of my team the opportunity to make new friends and share different stories on culture and the arts. It was truly an inspiring and memorable event. It ended with lessons learned and memories earned.
Amlan Fiesta Celebration:
Another major event was our Town Fiesta, a thanksgiving celebration to our municipality’s patron saint, St. Andrew the Apostle. This is special to me and to all Amlanganons.
Our November fiesta is always on the heels of the Buglasan celebration. I could have taken a pause, a trip, or a quick getaway somewhere far, away from the grid, to experience serenity and silence, but not with the activity preparations lined up. Even though planning and preparation were done much ahead, everything kicked into high gear right after the Buglasan. Opening salvo was done on the first week of November, and on every Saturday and Sunday, thereafter, were activities put together to celebrate the town’s fiesta. TA was the Publicity and Promotion Committee of the Amlan Fiesta 2018 Directorate. The highlight of the fiesta celebration was the Miss Amlan Beauty Pageant where Miss Cris Ann Bilangdal of Mag-abo, Amlan was crowned as the winner. Part of her role as the municipality’s ambassador of goodwill is to execute her chosen advocacy during her reign.
Miss Amlan Beauty Pageant has produced a number of ladies who have gone on to compete internationally. Rogelie Catacutan, Miss Amlan 2006, became Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2015 and represented the Philippines in the Miss Supranational Beauty Pageant in Poland. Trixia Marie Marana, a former Miss Amlan candidate, was crowned Miss Asia 2016 in India. Amlan Festival Queen, Rosario Gonzales became Mutya ng Pilipinas 2nd runner-up and went on to join the Miss Intercontinental in Germany in 1997. All these ladies brought pride, honor and hometown glory to Amlan. I wish that the list will continue to grow in numbers…a not so impossible wish for Amlan.
Pasko Sa Kapitolyo (PSK) – This year saw LGU-Amlan’s Buglasan booth converted into traditional Belen, or the nativity scene. Belen, is a Spanish word derived from the biblical place, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The Department of Education (DepEd) Amlan District, with Dr. Nida Bersabal at the helm, crafted one of the most beautiful Belens, including an indigenous Christmas tree and parol, now displayed at the Freedom Park. The PSK Belen display runs from December 14 until January 6, 2019.
All sort of Christmas parties – This is the Philippines, so everyone is Christmas party-crazy. Everyone wants to mark the birth of Jesus Christ with party games galore, food and drinks frenzy and everything thrown in. And no LGU Christmas party is ever complete without each office doing a presentation, or outdoing each other for the top prize. TA, together with the Office of the Mayor will be joining the choral contest. A lot of us were not born with a good singing voice but just the same, we’ll bring it on!
With all sorts of parties we’ll all be attending, don’t even think of dieting during this season or you will miss a lot of great foods and sweets. Eat, drink and be merry but most importantly, be grateful for everything and for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
And as our tradition, which wholly became part of our Filipino culture are our children from all walks of life singing its Christmas cheers. I personally enjoy listening to them who often mumble-jumble the lyrics and its rhythm can elicit smile on my face, on our faces, for this is that time of the year when perfect pitch isn’t a perfect guarantee for fun and enjoyment.
From all of us at Tourism Amlan – John, Junalyn, Christian and Ritchel, we wish everyone happiness and peace this Christmas season, and beyond.