CHRISTMAS celebration the Filipino way is in full swing in New York as the lobby and glass windows of the Philippine Center along the bustling Fifth Avenue in mid-town Manhattan showcase a colorful collection of traditional parols (Christmas lanterns) and nativity scene. Thousands of New Yorkers and tourists pass by the Philippine Center everyday and admire the colorful display that depicts the rich values and Christmas traditions of the Philippines.
The project, dubbed as “Feel Pinas”, is a joint undertaking by the Philippine Consulate General, Department of Tourism-New York Office, and the Philippine Center Management Board. It brings together elements of Filipino Christmas that make Filipinos feel at home and foreigners want to visit the Philippines.
The launch of the “Feel Pinas” last December 6 was highlighted by the debut of the nativity scene display by the two glass windows of the Philippine Center facing Fifth Avenue. The nativity scene is made of images and decors from the Philippines and is complemented by the display from large LED screens showing videos of lanterns and snippets of Filipino Christmas celebrations.
As guests enter the Center, they are welcomed by two white lanterns made of capiz shells from Sorsogon. The lobby is adorned with bright and colorful lanterns from Pampanga. This year, the display is further enhanced by nine lanterns from the Fil-Am community, each one symbolizing Filipino values or virtue. One of the lanterns is lighted everyday starting from the first night of the Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado last 6 December, until all the lanterns are lighted on the last evening of the traditional nine-day mass on December 14.
Consul General Claro S. Cristobal said that it is heartwarming that the Filipino-American community in New York has preserved our Filipino Christmas traditions. “Our sense of community, bolstered by faith, has given us the inspiration to be here, despite the busy- ness of our holiday schedules, to devote our time and resources in nine days of prayer and praise, “ he added.
Tourism Attaché Susana Del Mundo is hopeful that the “Feel Pinas” project will further bolster tourism in the Philippines as thousands see the beauty of our country and the richness of our culture and traditions.
The display runs until January 6, 2019.