This Christmas season, get ready for “Belenistas de Ortigas”, an outdoor belen-making competition that is set to light up the streets of Ortigas Center this December 2011!
“Belenistas de Ortigas” is a collaborative effort initiated by the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), in partnership with Ortigas Center Association, Inc. (OCAI) and Barangay San Antonio (BSA), Pasig City. Our vision in organizing this friendly competition is to create a “Belen Town” within Ortigas Center that will not just become a tourist destination but likewise, promote Christian values amongst the members of the community. As such, the theme for this year’s Belenistas de Ortigas is: “To Seek for A King Was Their Intent, And to Follow the Star Wherever It Went.”
“Belenistas” is a Spanish word for someone who makes nativity scenes or creates scenes of Christ’s birth. The Belen is one of the most famous symbols of Christmas in the Philippines. It is usually seen in churches, schools, homes, and buildings. There are famous Belens in the Philippines, one of which used to be at C.O.D. Building in Cubao, Quezon City, and is now found in Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan. Another famous place for Belens is Tarlac, the “Belen Capital of the Philippines”. The “Belenismo sa Tarlac” (The Art of Making Belen), as what they call the festival, started last 2007 involves an inter-community Belen-making competition.
In keeping with this time-honored Filpino tradition, “Belenistas de Ortigas” aims to create an opportunity for the members of the Ortigas Center community to create scenes of Christ’s birth and display them in front of their respective buildings. It will be a showcase of different Belens within the Ortigas Center that highlight Filipino creativity and ingenuity with concern for environmental preservation.