A unique Holland Windmills scene in the Municipality of Capas; a 20-foot Spanish fan with colorful flowers by Fr. Cris Lozano of St. Francis of Assisi Parish; a magnificent Belen brought to life through robotics at SM City Tarlac; an artistic nativity made up of walis tambo, bamboo and bulu at McDonald’s Motorway; a parochial tribute by Fr. Noel Paguinto of St. Joseph Parish; a Belen housed in a caromata by Fr. John Ovivir of Sto. Cristo Parish; and an enchanting nativity scene made up of paper plates, plastic cups styro lunch boxes; were declared the grand winners in this year’s holding of the high-profile competition billed “Belenismo sa Tarlac.”
Those were first-placers in the five categories – Grand Municipal, Grand Non-Municipal, Monumental, Church and Community – respectively. Each of these winners received cash prizes of P100,000 for all Municipal and Non-Municipal categories, P80,000 for the Monumental and Church categories and P70,000 for the Community category.
The Windmills design of the Municipality of Capas showcased a work of art never before heard of – the use of carabao manure. Sun-dried carabao manure from Crow
Valley Gunnery Range, Brgy. Sta. Juliana were collected along the trek going to Mt. Pinatubo. These were processed with wood glue to harden its surface, painted and dashed with glitters, and ended up adorning the giant Windmills in the Belen erected on the grounds of the Capas town plaza. Since Capas is known for its tinapa from Brgy. Talaga, the design also showcased bamboo baskets used in the processing of smoked-fish) as additional decorative pieces.
The other winners and their equivalent cash prizes in the Grand Municipal Category were: two 2nd Placers – Municipality of Moncada and Municipality of Concepcion each receiving P60,000; two third placers – Municipality of San Manuel and Municipality of San Clemente each receiving P50,000.
There were two grand prize winners who took away P100,000 prize each in the Grand Non-Municipal Category: the colorful 20-feet Spanish Fan entry of St. Francis of Assisi made up of bulu and about 2,453 empty plastic bottles made into pretty, dainty flowers, and the SM City Tarlac’s 32-feet Belen made up of Sintra boards highlighted by the First Family’s robotic movements. The second placer was the McDonald’s Capas display that went home with a P60,000 prize money.
In the Monumental Design Category, McDonald’s Tarlac Motorway’s contemporary design was made of native materials walis tambo, bamboo and bulu and brought home P80,000 prize money. The other winners in this category were: 2nd Place – Tarlac Agricultural University (P60,000 prize), 3rd Place – Azaya Garden Resort (P50,000 prize), and 4th Place – CityMall (P40,000 prize).
The winners in the Church Category included:1st Place – St. Joseph Parish with Fr. Noel Paguinto (P80,000 prize), 2nd Place – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish with Fr. Pablo Mungcal (P50,000 prize), 3rd Place – Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish with Fr. Jay Nidea (P40,000 prize).
In the Community Category, the judges handpicked two first-placers who both won P70,000 each – the Sto Cristo Parish entry with Fr. Jonathan Ovivir and the Barangay Health Workers in Barangay Tariji. The other winners included: two 2nd Placers – Barangay Balingcanaway Community and Taguiporo Giants Association Sta. Ignacia, both won P50,000 each, two 3rd Placers – Samahan sa Pura Community and BHF Ligtasan, both won P40,000 each, and the 4th Placer – Gr8 Multipurpose (P30,000).
Dr. Isa Suntay of Tarlac Heritage Foundation, organizer of the annual event, led the awarding rites on Dec. 8 at the College of the Holy Spirit Gymnasium in San Sebastian, Tarlac in the presence of the police and military top brass who served in Marawi.
The occasion also paid tribute to the heroes of Marawi. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Eduardo Ano gave the keynote address that night and celebrated the selfless efforts of Tarlac Heritage Foundation movers Dr. Suntay and her mother, Dona Isabel Cojuangco Suntay.
The joint AFP-PNP entry “Marawi sa Panahon ng Kapayapaan” received a special award that night. The Marawi Belen served as Belenismo 2017’s centerpiece as a tribute to the policemen and soldiers of Marawi who served selflessly in the efforts to liberate Marawi. Citations were also given to 20 soldiers who fought in Marawi.
Founders Dr. Isa Suntay and her mother Dona Isabel Cojuangco Suntay were responsible for igniting the art and passion of the Tarlaqueños into this age-old tradition that has catapulted their province to be the Belen Capital of the Philippines.
Now on its 10th anniversary, “Belenismo sa Tarlac” entries will continue to be showcased until Jan. 6. The mother and daughter team of Dr. Isa and Mrs. Isabel Suntay only have gratitude in their heart for all Tarlaquenos who continue to support this endeavor. They also expressed gratitude to San Miguel Corp. for partnering with Tarlac Heritage Foundation since 2007.
The annual holding of “Belenisimo” continues to inspire the Filipino people as it signals the start of the holiday season, remembering the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and celebrating it by upholding the tradition of Belen-making.