DAVAO CITY –Since the opening of the Pasko Fiesta on December 1, the Davao City Hall has become the nightly destination of people from all walks of life. No one ever misses to pass City Hall awed by its candy land Christmas décor.
Nong Jun, a candy seller at the Rizal Park, said some people dropped by even after 12 midnight to get a good vantage point since the place is packed with spectators from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and all you get in your selfies or groufies are shadows of people’s heads or arms taking photos.
He said that just before dark falls, scores especially children of nearby barangays and schools troop to City Hall and the Rizal Park to get a glimpse of the candy land theme.
Nong Jun also extends hours at the Rizal Park from his usual home time of 7 p.m.
“Oportunidad na ni nga mokita ko bisag candy candy lang lang akong baligya. Daghan pud mag date ug suroy nga pamilya (This an opportunity for me to earn even if I am just selling candies. Many are also dating and families are visiting Rizal Park),” he said.
City Hall's candy land theme drew Dabawenyos and other visitors on weekends.
Jessanie, a high school student of Catalunan Grande, said it's perfect for selfie. She said she visited City Hall after seeing some photos of Pasko Fiesta on Facebook.
Since she came to Davao as working student, Jessanie said it's her first time to witness Pasko Fiesta.
City Hall and the Rizal Park turned into candy land town. Giant lollipops garbed the City Hall building.
Lollipops are made of round fabricated steel and covered with light. The two posts of city hall ate covered with decorations to appear as candy.
The Rizal Park has the 40-footer Christmas tree and a children's carousel of favorite cartoon characters.
Across City Hall, the front of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the Centennial Park are full of colorful dancing lights and a giant lantern - a gift from Pampanga to the people of Davao City.
The city has also spruced up city streets with lighted stars of yellow, red and green colors. These are the stars made by inmates of the Davao City Jail.
Opened Friday night, the Pasko Fiesta is a month-long holiday celebration of the city.
It gives the city residents joyous celebration with different indoor and outdoor events even without firecrackers and display of pyrotechnics.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who opened the Pasko Fiesta during the lighting ceremony on Friday night enjoined city residents to go out and participate in Christmas events.
There are more than 20 activities for the celebration.
City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson said Pasko Fiesta brings out the youth in every Dabawenyo.
Christmas reminds us of kids' favorite - carnivals, candies and carols, she said.
Among this year's activities are the parol display contests in the barangays, a light up competition of establishments, variety shows in 11 barangays; Pasko Pahalipay sa Davao, Santa Claus in Magsaysay Park and People's Park, and a photo contest.
There are events for Lumads in their respective communities to encourage them to stay in their homes rather than caroling in the city where they face risk of city life.
Thousands of Lumads from many areas in Davao City and neighboring provinces come down to city every year to carol.
There is also the Kan-anan sa Tribo, a food market by the 11 tribes at Magsaysay Park, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Year-end Party for the LGBT community at Azuela Cove, Siyam ka Kaadlawon or Simbang Gabi. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)