Pinoy Christmas in NY: A sweet taste of home, a warm invite

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 07:21 AM December 16, 2018

START SPREADING THE (JOYFUL) NEWS A “belen” (Nativity scene) and colorful native “parol” (Christmas lanterns) adorn the lobby and the glass window of the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue in New York, part of the displays that serve as a “calling card” for tourists who may wish to visit the country for a taste of the Filipino Christmas. The effort is spearheaded by Consul General Claro Cristobal (above), who welcomed guests to the first of nine nights of “Simbang Gabi” (dawn Masses). —Photos courtesy of the Philippine Consulate General in New York

Downtown New Yorkers and tourists in “The Big Apple” are having a taste of the Filipino Christmas, thanks to the colorful display of traditional “parol” (Christmas lanterns) and “belen” (Nativity scene) at the Philippine Consulate General.

“[The showcase] brings together elements of the Filipino Christmas that make Filipinos feel at home and foreigners want to visit the Philippines,” the consulate said in a statement.


‘Feel Pinas’

Dubbed “Feel Pinas,” the joint undertaking by the  Consulate General, the Department of Tourism-New York Office and the Philippine Center Management Board was launched on Dec. 6, and was highlighted by the debut of the Nativity scene display behind 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 large LED screens showing videos of blinking lanterns and snippets of Filipino Christmas traditions.

Sorsogon shells, Pampanga stars

As guests enter the center, they are welcomed by two lanterns made of capiz shells from Sorsogon. Colorful lanterns from Pampanga adorn the lobby.

Nine lanterns from the Filipino-American community add to the multicultural and religious character of the display, with the lanterns symbolizing Filipino values and virtues. One lantern is lighted for each day of the nine-day “Simbang Gabi (dawn Masses) sa Konsulado,” from Dec. 6 to 14.

“Our sense of community, bolstered by faith, has given us the inspiration to be here despite the busyness of our holiday schedules, to devote our time and resources in nine days of prayer and praise,” said Consul General Claro Cristobal.


Tourism attaché Susana del Mundo said she was hopeful that the “Feel Pinas” project would bolster tourism in the Philippines as thousands get a glimpse of the richness of Filipino culture and traditions through the Christmas display, which runs until Jan. 6 next year.

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TAGS: Department of Tourism, DoT, Feel Pinas, Filipino Christmas in New York
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