TUBA, Benguet – The longest running Christmas celebration here officially started today with a simple opening rites at the Shrine of Brown Madonna here.
“We will do a down scaled celebration now with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic still with us,” said project head Fritz Gerald Padilla, son of the late Narciso Padilla, who founded the Silahis ng Pasko project in 1973.
The young Padilla said that the tradition of providing “silahis” or ray of hope to the less privileged, will continue despite the pandemic but on a very toned down scale with the most salient events to be staged.
On December 12, the poorest family will be feted by the SNP with a lunch at Luisa’s Café, a favorite watering hole of mediamen that included his late father, who made the resto as his base the past 20 years.
“We will treat them to lunch, give them a bag of goodies with basic survival kit and some cash,” said tge 51 year old security officer.
This will be followed with the day for people with disability on December 19 where goody packs will be given to the special guests, he explained.
December 25 will be made important with the selection of the lucky christmas baby where goodies and cash will be given to the parents of the lucky baby.
Five senior residents from the different fields of profession – sports, media, education, law enforcement and government service will be feted during the Tala awards on December 30. It will be a simple mirienda cum award in a resto here,” said Padilla.
The last event, the lucky new years baby will be staged on January 1 again at the Baguio General Hospital.
The SnP was supposed to be launched last December 1 with the parade of pre-school children garbed in Christmas garbs that start at 6AM and usually kicks off a busy December 1 calendar that culminated with the after sunset Saint Louis University Lantern Parade.
Last year, more than 3,000 children joined the early morning parade.
“We hope and pray that we shall reach the end of this crisis and have a better year ahead to prepare for Silahis ng Pasko 2021,” added Padilla, who took over as Santa Claus during the month-long festivity.