MANILA – The famous 'Belenismo sa Tarlac' pushed through this year despite many difficulties encountered by the Tarlaquenos, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the typhoons that destroyed the entries of various towns and organizations.
The event that made the province of Tarlac known for being the Belen-making capital of the Philippines” started in 2007 and is now in its 13th year.
“Belenismo every year showcases the unique talent and the artistry of Tarlacenos. This year is different because we must conform with the IATF guidelines because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Isabel Cojuangco Suntay, one of the co-founders of the foundation, in an interview over the weekend.
This year's theme, “We Heal as One” is dedicated to the province fight against the dreaded Covid-19, according to the Tarlac Heritage Foundation that started the event.
Unlike in the past years, there were only 34 participants to the Belen-making contest for this year, of which, two were not able to make it to the final judging after their entries were destroyed by the typhoon.
“To be honest all the entries of Belenismo were damaged by typhoon Ulysses and two of the registered participants, hindi na nakabangon muli (were not able to make it),” Suntay said.
Despite all the difficulties, the final judging for the Belenismo sa Tarlac pushed through on Saturday that lasted until the wee hours of Sunday.
Suntay also thanked other communities that made their Belen even without joining the contest, all for the spirit of Christmas.
“All of us have done our share for the country. We have done relief in various parts also, I think we should give tribute to every Filipino. Tulong tulong bayanihan sa hinaharap na krisis (let us help one another in this time of crisis),” she said.
Most participants to the Belenismo used recycled materials to build their Belen.
Some entries made use of recycled plastic bottles and other plastic materials, bottle caps, old tires, and whatever material they have to be able to make their Belen.
Among the criteria are creativity that includes intricacy of designs and quality of workmanship, there must also be a solemn but festive atmosphere and its impact on the people.
Every member of the institution, community, or organization contributed to make their Belen a special one.
“Ang bayanihan ng Pilipino ay kakaiba. I think gusto nilang ipahiwatig, may pananalig tayo, may pananampalataya tayo ang Diyos na ang bahala. Taas noo Filipino tayo, yun ang dapat nating tandaan at ang kapanganakan ni Kristo sa sabsaban ay hindi maaaring mawalan ng kahalagahan sa bawat katoliko sa mundo (The cooperation and unity of the Filipinos are different. I think they want to say that we have faith and we leave our fate to God. Be proud and we must remember that whatever happens, the birth of Christ in the manger will never lose its value to us Catholics, wherever we are),” Suntay said.
She said that the awarding of this year's winners of the Belenismo sa Tarlac will be announced in December. (PNA)