The festive season in Zamboanga started off on a positive note Friday night (Dec. 2) with the traditional lantern parade and ceremonial lighting of Christmas landmarks.
The parade, participated by the over 2,000 city government officials and employees, ran from Ledesma Street and wound through the main thoroughfares creating a strong festive atmosphere for the city. It culminated at the newly-refurbished Plaza Pershing where the program was held.
The over a century-old Zamboanga City Hall is ablaze with Christmas lights and trimmings making it the most fantastic holiday display in this part of the country, luring people from all walks of life. The City Hall show of lights, officially lighted Friday night, will be on display until the end of the Christmas season. JOEY BAUTISTA
Mayor Celso Lobregat, District I Congresswoman Beng Climaco and Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde spearheaded the different activities marking the start of Pascua na Zamboanga 2011, 15-day festival leading to Christmas. An inter-cluster chorale competition added color to the event.
First place in the chorale competition was cluster 1 composed of personnel from the City Mayor’s Office, City Secretary’s Office and Sangguniang Panlungsod with a cash prize of P10,000; second placer was cluster 4 composed of the City Health office, City Human Resource Management Office, City Civil Registrar’s Office and Local School Board Teachers with a cash prize of P7,000 while the third place went to cluster 6 composed of the City Engineer’s Office and the City Administrator’s Office with a cash prize of P5,000.
The program was capped by the fireworks display and the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas lights at the Plaza Pershing, City Hall, Paseo del Mar and Plaza del Pilar.
Themed “Pascua Engrande na Zamboanga”, the 15-day Christmas festival in the city is organized by the city government through the City Tourism Division under the Office of the Mayor.
Other activities during the Pascua festival are the best dressed Santa Claus competition on December 8 at 4 pm at the Plaza Pershing and Canciones de Zamboanga, a choral competition on December 9 at 4 pm at the Plaza Pershing.
The entry evaluation of the best Christmas landmark competition will be held from December 12-16 from Mondays through Fridays from 6 pm onwards. A panel of judges will be formed to do the evaluation.
Plaza del Pilar will be the venue of the first ever Christmas Food Festival, an exhibit of all specialties and delicacies served during the Christmas season from December 15-17. The food festival will run from 5 pm onwards.
Closing program will be held on December 17 at 7pm at the Plaza del Pilar. Winners in the open-lantern competition, best Christmas landmark competition, 1st Christmas Food festival – best buffet presentation, best Christmas cuisine and best Christmas goodies will be presented and awarded during the program.
Also calendared for the Pascua na Zamboanga are the Alumni Homecoming of Ateneo de Zamboanga University- Dec. 2-4; concert “Winding Journey: Always Believing 2” at Astoria Regency- Dec. 2; World AIDS Day- Dec. 10; One Mega Fair at Garden Orchid Hotel- Dec. 11; Basic Cinematography Workshop at Alavar’ conference room- Dec. 13-16; ZamboEcozone Airsoft Practical Shooting Tournament in San Ramon- Dec. 16-17; Aquarium Show at Plaza Pershing- Dec. 20; Claret School Grand Alumni Homecoming- Dec. 29.
Aside from Mayor Lobregat, Cong. Climaco and Vice Mayor Iturralde, other officials present during the opening of the Christmas festival Friday were Councilors Rudy Lim, Percival Ramos, Eddie Saavedra, Myra Paz Abubakar, Lilia Nuno, Abdurahman Nuno, Mike Alavar, Noning Biel, Rey Candido, VP Elago, Rogelio Valesco Jr., Jaime Cabato, Joana Mas and Rudy Bayot and many others. (Sheila Covarrubias)