‘Kapitolyo’ aglow in storm-weary Quezon
LUCENA CITY—There is no stopping the holiday mood and colorful ambience at the Capitol building and Perez Park in Lucena City, even after two typhoons—“Glenda” and “Ruby”—hitting Quezon province this year.
Christmas lights were switched on during a night ceremony on Dec. 11, turning the neoclassical edifice which residents call “kapitolyo” into a massive structure of flickering and glowing contours and the trees at the park in front of it ablaze.
“Let us all forget whatever woes were left behind by 2014 and greet the coming year with a splendid Christmas season,” Gov. David Suarez said in a speech during the event.
Glenda (international name: Rammasun), swept through Quezon and its neighboring provinces in July, leaving at least 31 people dead and destroying some P2 billion worth of crops, public and private properties. The provincial government initiated a relief campaign, dubbed “Babangon Tayo Kaya Natin Ito!” to augment its calamity fund and a “rehabilitation caravan” to help survivors.
On Dec. 8, Ruby (international name: Hagupit) dumped heavy rain in Quezon on its way out of the country. Some 64,000 people were evacuated as the rain brought floods to roads, bridges and fields across the province.
Hordes of youngsters have been drawn to the Capitol area to watch the thrilling display of multicolored lights, which are on until midnight or shoot cellphone cameras for selfies with the building as background.
The fad has prompted the provincial government to hold a Selfie Photography Contest, offering a P10,000 prize to the winner. Entries are emailed at [email protected]
A “Christmas village” was also opened on the ground floor of the historical building, featuring over a thousand lighted miniature holiday figurines scattered all over a snow-covered landscape. The porcelain and ceramic items belong to the personal collections of the governor’s mother, former Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez.
The exhibit is open from 3 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 4 next year. Group tours must coordinate with the provincial tourism office, said Janet Geneblazo-Buelo, provincial public information officer.
Outside of the Capitol, one section of the Perez Park has become a Christmas shoppers’ lane. Among the items being sold in stalls are baskets intricately made from plastic scraps by prisoners at the provincial jail.
From 4 to 9 p.m., strollers can feast on their favorite holiday food, such as “bibingka” and “puto-bumbong.”
Despite the trials brought by the typhoons, Suarez noted that the province reaped national honors for achievements this year.
Two of its programs were among the Top 10 “Galing Pook” awardees for innovation and excellence in local governance. Quezon was the first province to receive two such awards in a year.
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