A beacon of joy: Cebu City unveils ‘ML Christmas Tree of Hope’ at Fuente Osmeña Circle
CEBU CITY — The festive spirit of the Christmas season was in full swing as the Fuente Osmeña circle was graced with the ceremonial lighting of a 120-foot giant “ML Christmas Tree of Hope.”
Plenty of wintery ornaments adorn the Christmas tree. Gingerbread homes serve as the base, and snowflakes, parol, a snowman, candy canes, and a depiction of the Santo Niño de Cebu round out the embellishments.
Over 700 colorful lights wrap the giant tree with expenses totaling over a million pesos mostly donated by Cebuano businessman Michel Lhuillier.
Last year, the tree was toppled by Typhoon Odette a few days before Cebu City could celebrate Christmas. The photos of the tree became an iconic image of the destruction from the strongest typhoon to hit Cebu in 30 years.
According to designer Marvin Damaolao, the construction began last September 28 and the entire tree was finished on November 21. He said this tree would be much stronger to withstand strong winds because of the metal cables reinforced on the structure.
Damaolao, who also designed the tree last year, said the image of the Santo Niño was unscathed during Typhoon Odette, and now they are bringing it back as part of this year’s Christmas tree.
“I offer the tree to Santo Niño because I am a devotee. I ask the Santo Niño for healing also,” said the 41-year-old Damaolao who admitted that he has stage one colon cancer.
For Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the new tree is significant enough because it symbolizes how the city copes with typhoons when it gets toppled “and now we are standing proud and back on our feet.”
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the Christmas tree is a beacon of hope for the city as it moves towards recovery from the typhoon and pandemic. The celebration serves as a precursor to the upcoming grand events in Cebu, such as the Sinulog in January.
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