#CDNPaskosaSugbo:Cebu City lights up with hope as Christmas season begins

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio December 06,2021 - 09:00 AM

Christmas tree in Plaza Sugbo.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The last two years have been a struggle for Cebu City amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with over 1,500 individuals dying because of the virus.

The city even lost its beloved Mayor Edgardo Labella to septic shock secondary to pneumonia on November 19, 2021, a loss that the residents of Cebu City still grieve for. The mayor sacrificed his own health to prioritize pandemic response.

While the city mourns its losses, hope still emanates in many households and many establishments this Christmas. After all, Christmas is a season of hope and of new beginnings.

The Pasko sa Sugbo was launched on November 29, 2021, at the Plaza Sugbo in front of the City Hall led by newly sworn Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros.

It sparks the monthlong celebration of the city to celebrate the essence of the season with hope, love, and sacrifice.

The city lit three major Christmas trees in its three major parks — the Plaza Sugbo, the Fuente Osmeña Circle, and the Plaza Independencia. These were made possible with the partnership of the private sector.

Plaza Sugbo

The 10-foot tree in Plaza Sugbo was designed, built, and sponsored by the Cebu Cordova Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), that will be operating the new tollway express connecting Cordova town and Cebu City.

The iconic CCLEX bridge has already become the new face of Cebu indicating progress and prosperity, of which Cebu City hopes to bring in the coming year after it begins its operations.

Cebu City lights up the Plaza Sugbo Christmas tree.

Lighting the Christmas tree in Plaza Sugbo.

The tree is covered in gold, silver, and red Christmas balls and stars with a Filipino-crafted belen underneath symbolizing the true essence of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.

Rama said the tree faced the City Hall as a reminder for the employees, workers, and residents that hope might arise amid the struggles brought by these trying times.

Fuente Osmeña

The giant Christmas tree in the Fuente Osmeña was designed, built, and sponsored by M. Lhuiller, as they had done for many years.

Cebu City has a 100-foot Christmas tree in Fuente Osmeña Circle.

21st Christmas tree in Fuente Osmeña Circle

The approximately 100-foot tree was lit on December 1, 2021, in front of a crowd after three months of construction. It will remain until the end of the Sinulog Festival in January 2022.

READ: Fuente Christmas tree lit up, symbolizes hope amid pandemic

The green and blue tree stands out in the heart of downtown Cebu City and symbolizes hope for economic recovery.

Plaza Independencia

Finally, the last tree lit is in Plaza Independencia, a 12-foot Christmas tree designed, built, and sponsored by Robinsons.

The tree was lit on the evening of Saturday, December 5, 2021, marking the joyous celebrations for the city’s masses as it stands in the heart of the public park facing the sea.

The green, red, and yellow tree stands at the center of the largest park in the city where Freedom is preserved and protected through the various public activities held here by various sectors.

Cebu City also lights up a third Christmas Tree at Plaza Independencia ushering in the Christmas season and hope amid the pandemic.

Plaza Independencia Christmas tree lighting. | Photo Courtesy of Cebu City PIO

In all three Christmas lightings, Mayor Rama offered these symbols of hope to late Mayor Edgardo Labella. He started all his speeches with a tribute to the late mayor who sacrificed his life for the city to recover from the pandemic.

“After days of mourning because of the passing of my partner, we must bring light, we must hope. Tomorrow, we will bring victory in the pandemic, victory in our vaccination, victory amid our sadness,” he said during the lighting of the tree in Plaza Independencia.

The mayor wishes for prosperity in the city with the Christmas season starting, yet with a stern reminder to the public to be vigilant and maintain health protocols to avoid another surge.

He promises that if everyone gets vaccinated all establishments will reopen in 2022.

“From my family, Michellin, Mikel, my wife, Malou, MJ, and myself, Happy Yuletide greetings. A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! A joyful tomorrow, bakunahan (vaccination) today,” he said.

The three Christmas trees can be accessed by local residents and tourists anytime in these respective parks except during curfew hours from 12 midnight to 3 a.m.

READ: ‘Think long and hard’: No to political colors on your Christmas tree


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