TAGUM CITY – Officially kicking off the festive holiday season, Tagumenyos flocked to the city’s Freedom Park to witness the ceremonial lighting of the Giant Holiday Tree last November 16, 2015, maintaining its reputation as one of the highly-anticipated events here.

Towering in 105 feet, this year’s Giant Holiday Tree carried a message of love as 16 ring stars atop the holiday tree symbolize the meaning of love as defined in the New Testament, specifically 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Tagum’s Giant Holiday Tree 1

The passage runs as follows: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.

Decorative abstract frames of doves, angels, stars, flowers, snowflakes and birds also adorned the holiday tree, all lit up with 1,450 sets of rice bulbs and 3,786 sets of LED flexy lights.

Tagum’s Giant Holiday Tree 4

In his holiday message, Mayor Allan L. Rellon also tagged the city’s Christmas icon as a “symbol of hope and unity,” and rallied Tagumenyos to continue in uniting for the sake of the city.

“In this season of hope, let us come together as one people, one family—regardless of faith and tribe—to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep Tagum the land of endless opportunity and boundless optimism for which we’re so thankful.”

He said that the lighting of the Giant Holiday Tree should also compel Tagumenyos to reach out to the needy, to bridge differences and to reconnect to the values that bind the city together.

Tagum’s Giant Holiday Tree

Rellon led elected city and provincial officials in joining Tagumenyos from all walks of life in the ceremonial lighting program, which drew an estimated 5,000 people witnessingMonday’s event comprising of Tagumenyos and other people coming from nearby towns and cities.

Aside from the formal lighting of the Giant Holiday Tree, song and dance performances also treated the audience during the almost three-hour program, which was highlighted with a five-minute fireworks display.

Also serving as the highlight of the event was the giving of gifts, where city officials played Santa Claus to children of Gloria Christi Regis Center for Street and Abandoned Children.

Monday’s event kicked off the busy week for Tagum, with the grand coronation night of Mutya ng Tagum slated on November 19 and the parochial fiesta of Christ the King on November 22Louie Lapat/CIO Tagum