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Policarpio Street glows with the joy of the season

House of Santa Claus belongs to Anthony Suva, the barangay captain and leader of the action team on Policarpio Street.

House of Santa Claus belongs to Anthony Suva, the barangay captain and leader of the action team on Policarpio Street.

Visiting Policarpio Street in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, merely a couple of weeks before Christmas brought out the child in me. In fact, the kilowatt-smile on my face during my first visit to the area must have competed with the bright lights, which made an entire neighborhood in Barangay Zuniga glow with the joy of the Christmas season.
December in the last six years at least has meant skyrocketing electricity bills for the community. Some belt-tightening homeowners have had to drop the whole idea of keeping the tradition this year.
Anthony Suva, the barangay captain, wanted nonetheless to set a good example in showing the spirit of Christmas. So he went ahead and transformed his two-story residence into the attractive House of Santa Claus.
Right across the Suva home was a huge mansion shining with a hundred thousand lights as in the past years. Even the gate, the walls and the tall tower of this residential compound were likewise covered with tiny lights. The sparkling ornamentation in the night was indeed a joy to behold.
Some residents opted to put up animated decorations. The story of the first Christmas all the way to the visit of the Three Kings was told with music playing in one display. Santa Claus riding away on a sled pulled by reindeers was the theme of the showcase on the facade of another house.
Vendors sold hot "bibingka" (rice cakes) and "puto bumbong" (glutinous rice steamed in bamboo cannon) to the delight of the balikbayan crowd in town. Word about the Yuletide celebration on Policarpio Street near Boni Avenue had gone around fast. The lighting ceremony in late November had officially announced the arrival of the Christmas holidays.
Christmas lights and animated displays in Metro Manila like the showcase on Philippine history at UNI-Mart in Greenhills reminded me so much of my happy childhood. My father always found time at the end of the day to drive the family around during the Christmas season.
We made the rounds of a few places like Caltex on Padre Faura, Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Otis, Pepsi-Cola and Magnolia plants on Aurora Boulevard, C.O.D. Department Store in Cubao and Ysmael Steel on Espana Extension. We even voted on the best or favorite display each year. My father and mother sent us, the children, to bed and dreamland only after putting us through an exciting drive around the city in those days when road traffic in Manila had not yet turned into a nightmare at Christmastime.


Updated : 2021-10-18 23:12 GMT+08:00