Aside from the ornamented Christmas trees, bright Christmas lights, and colorful lanterns or Parols, the traditional Filipino Christmas style highlights the “Nativity Scene” or “Birth of Jesus”—which Filipinos commonly refer to as the Belén.
The word Belén is actually a Spanish word for the ancient city of Bethlehem. An important connection of the “city of Bethlehem” to the Christmas celebration we have is: It is deemed to be the birthplace of Jesus. The figurine of Belén, as an example, illustrates the image of baby Jesus lying in a manger with Mary and Joseph on his sides; other depictions would include “visitors” such as animals, shepherds, and angels. More than being an exquisite Christmas décor of our homes, offices, parks, to name a few, the Belén signifies—especially to the believers—the main reason why Christmas is being celebrated.
In the Philippines, the province of Tarlac is known as the “Belén Capital” of the country. In fact, since 2007, an annual Belénismo—or Belén-making competition among different areas of the province—is being held through the headship of DRA. ISABEL COJUANCO SUNTAY of the Tarlac Heritage Foundation.
This 2016, the 9th Belénismo sa Tarlac Festival took place at the Robinsons Mall in Barangay San Miguel, Tarlac City on the 11th of December. According to the Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines), there were 18 participating teams to the said competition—seventeen of which are towns and one is a city in Tarlac. These participants utilized their resourcefulness and talents in showcasing not only huge but also stunning Belén creations.
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE was present during the said festival. He took part in the awarding of the five (5) grand winners and gave his message to the people in Tarlac.
Aside from wholeheartedly performing their sworn mandate of protecting the President, such as in his engagements, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) was also actively involved in the program of the festival.
The PSG Choir had their debut performance in the said event. The newly-organized choir serenaded the crowd with their sweet and soothing voices in harmony—by singing the songs: “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” and “Munting Sanggol” of Mr. Ryan Cayabyab.
As an overview of the PSG Choir, it consists of thirty (30) members or singers from Organic and OPCON units of the Command.
The singers have undergone an audition which started last October 2016. By then, they started their practices until they completed the preparations for their performance in December. To guide them through, their Musical Director is MR. JERRY OLAGUER.
For the most part, the establishment of the PSG Choir was made possible through the concerted efforts of PSG Group Commander, BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, DRA. SUNTAY, and the Command.
PSG CHOIR MEMBERS
MR JERRY OLAGUER (Choir Director)
1. LTC JOEL L JUGARAP (INF) PA
2. LTC MICHAEL T AQUINO (INF) PA
3. MAJ CLEOFE C PULMANO DS
4. MAJ MARY JANE A SALMIN PN (M)
5. MAJ XAVIER C CELESTIAL (QMS) PA
6. MAJ BENILUZ E ENGRACIAL JAGS
7. LT KATHERINE ESTRADA PN
8. MSg Karen A Facunla PA
9. Msg Reynante B Palma PAF
10. MSg Primo M Galaboc PA
11. TSg Rolando P Ebron PN (M)
12. TSg Delilah F Cruz PA
13. TSg Melchor Santowen PA
14. SSg Ramil P Jumamoy PA
15. SSg Adrian R Pampo PAF
16. Ssg Wendylyn E Agravante PA
17. Sgt Ely A Delgado PA
18. Sgt Willalyn D Sanchez PA
19. Sgt Diana Rose A Matala PAF
20. Sgt Ramil Martin PAF
21. Cpl Joepie D Jalagat PA
22. Cpl Reyval V Flores PA
23. Pvt Eric M Mayuga PA
24. Pvt Omshanti B Panlilio PA
25. Pvt Royce G Ramos PA
26. Pvt Mart Anthony A De Martin PA
27. Pvt Rey Villacruz PA
28. AM Rudolph Bautista PAF
29. PC3 Samuel Bayot
30. Mr Marvin G Mallari