By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, Oct 18 (PNA) — The province of Tarlac’s annual Christmas-themed event, the Belenismo sa Tarlac: The Art of Making Belens is set to open to the public beginning next month.
According to Tarlac Heritage Foundation Chairperson Dr. Isa Suntay, who is among the organizers of the event, local and foreign tourists alike can start to view over 100 different belens on Nov. 4.
The Belenismo sa Tarlac now on its seventh year celebration, is a yearly province-wide festival that has brought together communities to craft their very own belén designs—usually giant ones—from different materials.
Belens are usually required to be made from indigenous resources like abaca, anahaw and bamboo to recycled materials such as water bottles, shampoo sachets and old tires and are later lit up by various Christmas lights.
Last year, Belenismo was not held after the organization decided to channel funds to victims of typhoon “Santi” and typhoon “Yolanda”, which devastated Central Luzon and Visayas Region, respectively.
”Tarlac was hit by typhoon Santi which was not as bad as Yolanda so out of respect for both the victims of both typhoons Santi and Yolanda, we did not hold Belenismo but donated to the victims instead,” Suntay said.
In 2012, there were about 128 masterpieces in six categories including the high school diorama category, personal diorama category, church category, monumental category, grand municipal category, and grand non-municipal category.
Tarlac has gone as far as being dubbed as the “Belén Capital of the Philippines” by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and President Benigno S. Aquino III himself.
In the Philippines, a Belen is a representation of the Nativity scene in which the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus) is visited by the three wise men who came to the manger through the guidance of a star. (PNA)