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Light a Tree Contest in Samar draws unprecedented nightly crowd

By NINFA B. QUIRANTE, PIA Samar
December 16, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The ‘Light a Tree’ contest that ushered Christmas Festival in Samar’s capitol grounds has been attracting an unprecedented nightly crowd.

This was the observation of vendors who have also mushroomed on the capitol park to cater to the crowd every night.

Some 80 offices, NGOs and civil groups have joined the contest. Their "trees" has been lit on December 3, 2011 and have since then continued to be improved by additions of more lights.

The whole three-hectare area of the Capitol is glittering with colorful Christmas lights and the sound system blaring with Christmas songs.

SAMELCO 2 corner, which is heavily lit, is a mini village with nipa huts, with ‘linemen’ on the job and a giant Christmas tree in the midst.

Another interesting entry is that of the army where the ‘nativity tableau’ is guarded by army elements in full battle gear.

Still another is a mini-ship from the Coast Guard where the ‘nativity’ is set on the boat’s deck complete with animals copied from the real Belen.

Thus, young and old alike are drawn towards the capitol park at night despite the intermittent rains that pour in the evenings.

Budoy who sells popcorns have to ‘pop’ corn several times as it sells briskly with young promenaders at the park.

“Last Sunday, when the weather was fair, we sold P3,000 worth of popcorns,” he said.

Popcorns, barbecue, palamig and other street foods line the perimeter wall of the capitol in the evenings, with business operations lasting up to one o'clock in the morning.

On Saturday, December 17, the 80 contestants of the ‘Light a Tree’ will face the final judgment with P50,000 cash prize for the first prize and on Sunday, is the great Christmas Party to be sponsored by the provincial government under Gov. Sharee Ann Tan.