University of the Philippines Los Baños
Friday, 09 December 2016 00:00

UPLB Christmas kicks off with tree lighting and lantern display

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The University was once again filled with the festive glow of lights and bright smiles on Dec 2 with the annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Parolan. The twin events gathered people from the University and the surrounding communities, who were eager to witness what the university had in store for this year.

Lighting up the tree of hope

For Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., lighting up UPLB’s Christmas decorations is not a mere tradition. As he said in his message, Christmas is a time of hope, gratitude and remembrance. He mentioned the uncertainty that had befallen the country in the past year but said that despite it all, “It is our goal that the lighting of our Christmas tree will remind us to keep hope for the future and the coming year.”

Indeed, this year’s Christmas tableau, which consists of the giant Christmas tree, the Nativity scene and Santa Claus and his flying reindeer, is a source of cheer. As soon as dusk settles on the campus, its twinkling and colorful lights beckon  people to visit and take their photos with it in the background.

The Christmas tree takes on a dark shade of green and bright yellow and is festooned with colorful ornaments, Christmas lights and the signature eight-pointed star at the top. The Nativity Scene is dramatically lit, with soft blue lights framing the edges and an intense yellow light focused on the Baby in the manger. A colorful parol hangs above the life-sized Belen to symbolize the star followed by the Three Wise Men. In place of the usual Christmas Village, the designers opted for a Christmas garden with a water feature and bamboo benches that beckon visitors to sit awhile, relax and enjoy the view.

A sense of community pervaded the atmosphere as the Lopez Elementary School Drum and Lyre Band, Church Among the Palms Choir, UP Rural High School Glee Club, UPLB Choral Ensemble, UPLB Filipiniana Dance Troupe, Wyre Underground of UPLB, UPLB Street Jazz Dance Company, and student Cedric Tonga from the Christian School International gave performances during the Christmas tree lighting program.

The lighting ceremony was led by Chancellor Sanchez and his family: wife Dr. Patricia Sanchez, son Tristan, and parents Drs. Fernando Sr. and Priscilla Sanchez.

CPAf is 3-peat winner for best lantern

Meanwhile, the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) bagged its third consecutive win in the Best Lantern in the recent Parolan, UPLB’s version of UP Diliman’s famed Lantern Parade.  Their lantern was easily the biggest lantern in the contest. It stood and spanned approximately seven feet, and took the form of a giant clock with shadow images in its quadrants illuminated by light from within. The lantern opened up like a storybook to reveal a mural depicting a Filipino version of the Holy Family.

This year’s winning lantern won over four other contenders and conveyed how people must look back to how Christmas is traditionally celebrated with the family and the true meaning of the holidays.

The UP Society of Agronomy Major Students (PhilSAMS) and UP Entomological Society (UP ENTOMSOC) won first and second place, respectively, in the Parolan.

Meanwhile, Angelica Joy Camacho from the UPRHS Alpha Company was crowned Mutya ng Parolan. The said beauty tilt has been traditionally attached to the annual Parolan.  Camacho also won the Commandant’s choice award. Trishanne Maie Bacod from UP ENTOMSOC won the Vanguard’s Choice award; Patricia Natalie Reyes from UPRHS Bravo Company, the Chancellor’s Choice Award; and Jo Anne Francisco from CPAf, the Iskolar’s Choice Award.

The contest was judged by a panel composed of Chancellor Sanchez; Prof. Naomi Enriquez, chair of the Department of Human Kinetics; Col. Ernesto Pascual, commandant and head of the Department of Military Science and Tactics; Chapter Commander Bright Munda of UP Vanguard Class of ’98; and Josephine Manansala, Miss Los Baños 2016 and a student from the UPLB College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology.

Parolanwas organized by the UP Vanguard Inc.-Los Baños, the UPLB Corps of Sponsors and the UPLB Corps of Cadets. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)