Morong, Rizal Christmas tree made of recycled materials (Photo courtesy of Taga-Rizal Updates Facebook)

MANILA – Rizal province, known for its galleries, museum and three National Artists, is celebrating yet another artistic holiday with Christmas trees made out of plastic materials.

Rizaleños churned out eye-catching creations out of anything considered useless for the yearly Christmas tree-making contest, part of the province’s Yes to Green program that aims to protect the environment while attaining sustainable development.

In a recent interview, Rizal Tourism Officer Corazon Laserna said the Yes to Green program started in 2003.

“Rizal is the art capital of the Philippines and the Yes to Green program ay may kinalaman sa (has something to do with) cleaning, greening, and recycling. Magaling ang mga Rizaleño when it comes to visual arts at sa ibat iba pang sining (Rizaleños are very good when it comes to visual arts and in other forms of arts),” Laserna said.

“’Yung Christmas tree na makikita dito ay simbolo ng creativity, craftsmanship ng mga Rizaleño na 'yung lahat ng mga bagay na sa palagay natin ay itatapon na ito ay binibgyan pa namin ng halaga kasi naniniwala kami na ito ay isang paraan ng aming pangangalaga sa inang kalikasan (The Christmas trees that you see here are symbols of the creativity, the craftsmanship of Rizaleños, that we still value things that other people deem as waste as we believe that this is also a way of taking care of Mother Nature),” she added.

The Christmas trees designed by each town are different yearly.

“Iyon ay mga labi ng mga bagay na may kinalaman sa kanilang hanapbuhay, ginagamit sa pang araw araw at kung ano ang meron doon sa bayang iyon (Those materials are connected with what they use every day, or from their work, or the product of the town),” Laserna said.

The final output is always something that residents are proud of because it is the result of their bayanihan (cooperation).

Dun makikita ang bayanihan, pagkakaisa, ‘yung true spirit nito kaya ‘yan ay yari sa pinagsama-samang ka-isipan at pagkaka-isa ng mga mamamayan kaya pag ‘yan ay inilawan, feel na feel nila ang kanilang nagawa at feel na feel nilang ito ay kanila, may sense of ownership kasi ‘yung kanilang konsepto, ‘yung mga ginamit lahat yan galing sa kanila (There you will see the unity, the cooperation that is why it is made of collective ideas of the residents and when it is finally lighted, they feel it is theirs because the concept and the materials came from them),” she said.

Teresa, Rizal Christmas tree (Photo courtesy of Lalawigan ng Rizal Facebook) 

Rizal is home to the late National Artists Carlos “Botong” Francisco (Painting), Francisco Feliciano (Music), and Prof. Lucio San Pedro (Music).

Aside from plastic materials, some used tiny rubber caps from vaccine vials.

Laserna assured that these are safe and all the materials used in the Christmas trees were cleaned and properly washed.

She also invited the public to visit Rizal, not only for their Christmas trees but to see the natural beauty of the province.

Sa mga gustong pumunta sa Rizal, kayo ay welcome sa province of Rizal. Iniimbitahan namin kayo dito, paskuhang may puso sa lalawigan ng Rizal (To those who wish to visit Rizal, you are all welcome to our province. We are inviting you to come over and feel Christmas with a heart),” Laserna said. (PNA)