Christmas displays lift Subic’s early Yuletide spirit


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—You really can’t take your eyes off that giant lighted pineapple display at the Subic Bay Yacht Club when you pass along Rizal Highway, Subic’s main stretch of malls and restaurants that takes you from the end of Tipo Road from Manila to Kalaklan Gate going to Zambales.

The giant pineapple stands two-story high from its bulbous yellow fruit to its spiky crown of luminous green. And, surrounded by glowing tiki masks and illuminated palm trees, it forms the centerpiece of a Hawaiian-inspired Christmas display that kick-started the Christmas season in this free port.

But more than the pineapple’s traditional symbolism for welcome, friendship and hospitality—a fact born of its historical rarity—the Christmas display here provides a daring, nay rebellious, counterpoint to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted both the health and livelihood of stakeholders in the community.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, together with SBYC Commodore Juan Miguel Macapagal Arroyo, switched on the Christmas lights last Friday and watched as the outdoor displays brightened one block of Subic’s central business district.

During the ceremonial switch-on, Arroyo stressed that the intention of the displays is to lift the spirits of residents despite the pandemic.

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

Eisma, meanwhile, expressed hopes for a better holiday season celebration this year, pointing out that the continuous vaccine rollout by the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the SBMA had resulted in more free port workers and residents being vaccinated.

“I am very, very happy to note that Covid has not stopped us from observing this tradition, which has always ushered 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,” Eisma said.

The Christmas display is an annual project of SBYC employees, with support from some corporate sponsors in the free port.

Aside from the two-story high pineapple, the lighted displays included a native-themed Nativity scene.

The Subic Bay Yacht Club Christmas displays are lighted each day at 6 p.m. and are open for public viewing.

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