Subic Bay Freeport is welcoming the Yuletide season early by lighting up its holiday displays two months before Christmas officially arrives. 

A giant pineapple lantern standing two stories high – complemented by a horde of tiki masks and shining palm trees – is the star of this year’s Hawaiian-inspired display, according to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). 

It accompanies the traditional nativity scene composed of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus, which is placed at the Subic Bay Yacht Club (SBYC).

SBMA Chair and Administrator Wilma Eisma and SBYC Commodore Juan Miguel Macapagal Arroyo spearheaded the unveiling of this year’s lighting fixture on October 16, which served as the high point of the outdoor displays laid out along Subic’s central business block. 

Eisma said she’s happy that the tradition wasn’t skipped this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding it symbolizes the country’s return to normal from the COVID-19 crisis. 

“I am very, very happy to note that COVID-19 has not stopped us from observing this tradition, which has always ushered in the Christmas season here in Subic. And this is a very, very good sign because it points us to one direction—and that is, to try to get back to what normal is,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Arroyo saw it as a way to uplift the spirits of the people during these hard times. 

“For us, the lighting of the Christmas tree in Subic, specifically the Subic Bay Yacht Club, has been an uplifting experience spiritually because it connotes the coming of the Christmas season,” he shared.

“During this season, we are reminded of God’s glory. And we need it more than ever due to COVID,” Arroyo added. 

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Image credit: SBYC and SBMA