A birthday cake for Jesus
From the Fuente Osmeña Circle giant Christmas tree to the Belen showdown along V. Rama Street, Cebu City lights up with colorful festivities during the holiday season.
Each barangay has turned Christmas into a cultural festival to showcase different industries, tourist spots, famous delicacies, and the craftsmanship of each village.
This year, Barangay Tisa which boasts of its blooming siomai and halo-halo industry, has something new to offer: A cake-inspired Christmas tree made out of recycled materials.
The Christmas tree, which looks like a giant four-tiered cake covered with royal white icing, stands twenty feet tall outside the Tisa Barangay Hall along F. Llamas Street.
According to former broadcaster and now Tisa chief-of-staff, Jess Campos, the holiday tree was designed by Barangay Captain Phillip Zafra, who wanted it to be a constant reminder that Christmas is, more than anything, a birthday celebration for the infant Jesus.
“Ana ato kapitan, gipanganak na man gyod ang Batang Hesus, ato siya hatagan og pasigarbong birthday cake. (Our captain said that since the Child Jesus has been born, we should give him a lavish birthday cake),” said Campos.
On each layer of the Christmas cake-tree, images are being painted by local artist, Norman Enriquez, to depict important characteristics of the village.
Once completed, the second tier will show an image of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the barangay’s patron; while the third level will have a painted seal of Barangay Tisa.
The last layers will showcase the known industries of Tisa including siomai, puto, sikwate, and halo-halo.
“This is also to show that we, the people of Tisa, are proud of our siomai and of our halo-halo. People should come to Tisa to taste our food,” said Campos.
To be painted on top of the cake-tree will be the image of an angel as a symbol of the angels that came down from heaven to announce and glorify the birth of Jesus Christ.
According to Campos, people should look forward to the unique rotating mechanism attached to each tier.
“Ang kada layer sa tree motuyok na aron makita sa tanan ang design niini. (Each layer of the tree rotates for people to see all the painted designs),” he said.
Construction of the cake-tree, which began last November 5, is expected to be done this week in time for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony scheduled at 5 p.m. on December 8, Saturday.
To add beauty and splendor, the lights to be installed will be fashioned like frostings on a cake around a Christmas tree for a mesmerizing effect, said Campos.
Beyond the frostings on the cake-tree is a deeper advocacy that according to Campos, Barangay Tisa wishes to address.
The entire Christmas cake-tree is made out of more than 1,500 recycled bottles from top to bottom.
Barangay Captain Zafra earlier released a memorandum requesting all students of Tisa Elementary School to provide one used bottle for the Christmas tree.
“We got more than what we needed because there are at least 5,000 students in our school. That means we got 5,000 bottles to recycle,” said Campos.
Since the Christmas tree only used less than 2,000 bottles, the other bottles were used to build a Belen or a tableau representing the Nativity scene and other decorations such as parols and poinsettias.
Tisa workers continue to cut bottles to transform them into Christmas decors that will soon be used all over the barangay.
“This is our way of showing that we can do something to help the environment, another birthday gift we can give to Jesus,” said Campos.
‘Hudyaka sa Tisa’
Aside from the unique Christmas tree, Barangay Tisa has also prepared to hold more festivities to celebrate the yuletide season.
Campos said that ‘Hudyaka sa Tisa’ will attempt to bring together not only the residents of the barangay but many Cebuanos.
Six platforms will be put up around the barangay from the San Lorenzo Ruiz church leading to the village hall.
The stages will depict different scenes taken from the bible leading to the birth of Jesus through a series of street plays.
The stage plays will begin at 8 p.m. after the 6 p.m mass at San Lorenzo Ruiz Church and will traverse through Katipunan Street going towards the barangay hall.
“Human sa misa sa San Lorenzo, mokuyog ang mga tawo ni Mary and Joseph padulong sa Bethlehem, diri sa barangay hall.
(After the mass at San Lorenzo, the people will follow Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem which will be situated in the Barangay Hall),” said Campos.
While the procession moves along, there will be allotted stops for people to enjoy Tisa delicacies such as its renowned Siomai sa Tisa.
Campos hopes that people will take time on December 23 for the activities.
Campos said no road closures will be implemented on that day.
Beyond inviting people to visit Tisa, the Christmas cake-tree and Hudyaka sa Tisa are a thanksgiving for the blessings that the barangay has received for the past year.
“Unta hatagan pa mig daghang blessings sa sunod nga tuig. (We hope that God will give us more blessings next year),” said Campos.
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