By Rey Anthony Chiu | 07:23 AM December 05, 2021
The pitched voice shattered the dimly lit plaza where about a thousand people have gathered outside the security cordons.
Ten, Nine, Eight… and the crowd picked on the cue.
At the strike of zero, Alicia Mayor Victoriano Torres led the crowd gathered at the town plaza in the countdown that roared across the ground ending in the much awaited annual switching on of the Christmas lights illuminating every nook in the town plaza, December 4.
“We still have Covid, let Covid be, but, it can not let us down,” the mayor blared as the crowd roared in appreciation.
The switching on of the lights also came with a cacophony of Christmas carols played on the sound system, the roar of the crowd as the fireworks exploded rose in fine counterpoint while everyone with mobile phone cameras jostled for the best position to capture the momentous event.
As the lights turned on, it transformed the plaza into a magical world of Christmas.
“We have to do this, this is the people’s money and we think they deserve to see this in this gloomy time of the pandemic,” he added.
Now on its second year, the annual switching on of the Christmas themed public park lights is Alicia’s outward show of its psychedelic resolve to rise up above the gloomy atmosphere brought about by the threat of coronavirus disease.
“We will not be dampened by this Covid, we will stand because we have at least the Christmas to hope for,” the mayor said.
The crowd, took long queues as the town police chief, Lieutenant Flores, reminded people to follow the minimum health protocols in getting in the cordoned part to take souvenir pictures.
Only vaccinated people can come in, as volunteers manned the entrance gates making sure the group that comes into the park has 15 minutes of time before they are asked to proceed to the exit gate and another batch of guests come in.
Already made colorful with the dancing fountain that spews geyser of colors as the crowd, roared with appreciation.
The town plaza now is made even more attractive with LED lights and Christmas lights including three major installations apart from the dancing fountain that spew bursts of geysers reaching out to the fireworks exploding overhead.
As the water from the fountain spills into a tiny pond, it flows into a series of lit cascades going between two footpaths to the highway.
A couple of meters beside it is a giant Christmas tree of fairy lights and red mistletoes.
A step further down is a giant crown bedecked with blue series lights, the hollow space is enough for a group of friends to snuggle for photos.
Across the access road to the town hall is a huge nativity set with its theme Inspired by the peacock.
Lit like a playbill in some downtown theater, the nativity is the town’s official entry to Bohol’s Belen Contest as organized by the provincial government.
Also hosting guests for the town’s reopening of its extreme sports trails, Alicia gathered most of the trail runners joining the 5 kilometer and 0 kilometer trail run, at the plaza to witness the event and jam.
A band stand is set in a tent in the plaza for those athletes and guests who wish to jam and loosen up before straining for the run.
And to set the mood for the night of fun and Christmas joy, local employees performed a choreographed Zumba dance as the sound system blared lively music.
The town guests for the lighting event were Valencia mayor Katrina Lim, Board Member Elpidio Bonita, and Padayon Bohol’s Provincial Board members slate.
Officially lit now, the plaza would remain open to guests at night but authorities are making sure that their Christmas contribution would be a joy to the soul and not anguish to their loved ones.
Let us follow protocols, and let us allow people from other places to set foot in our plaza, as long as they obey the protocols, the mayor reminds the people. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)