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Willie Revillame buys stars worth P100,000 for Ormoc’s Christmas tree

CONG. LUCY TORRES-GOMEZ shares her good news to Ormocanons of Willie’s gift to them, so that the Christmas Tree project that she is supporting through the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation’s “Light Up A Star 2” becomes a reality. The tree was lit up on December 11, her birthday. Earlier that day, the congresswoman led a bloodletting activity at the New Ormoc City National High School.

CONTROVERSIAL TV host Willie Revillame gave Ormocanons a taste of his famed generosity when he bought P100,000 worth of stars from the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation (OFCF) for its “Light Up a Star 2” project.
He bought the stars through Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez, as his birthday gift for her on her 37th birthday this December 11, Sunday. The congresswoman lit up the giant Christmas tree at the Christ the King Shrine just in front of the St. Peter’s and Paul Church, where colorful stars of different sizes hung. The stars were sold by the Foundation to raise funds to build the Christmas tree, a joint project with the parish and the congresswoman herself.
No less than the congresswoman broke the news to an estimated 3,000 people gathered at the Christ the King Shrine, spilling over to the four streets on all sides.
The crowd cheered for Willie and some remarked that Ormoc was indeed lucky to have Lucy as congresswoman as she had many generous friends.  Last year, it was Kris Aquino who bought 36 stars at P 1,000 each from the OFCF as her gift to Lucy, one star representing one year of her life.
A vendor also remarked that Lucy has also put Ormoc on the map again, which is now experiencing major TV exposures with giant networks coming in to do auditions in the city for their various talent and reality shows.
After two weeks of gloomy and wet weather, people were excited to be out on the first good weather evening and to witness the lighting up of the giant Christmas tree.  They were not disappointed.
Gasps and expressions of appreciation were heard from the crowd who, in one way or the other, admired the simple elegance of the tree, all done in white lights, surrounded by 12 smaller ones in multicolored lights.
Fr. Gilbert Urbina, parish priest, also shared he was pleased with the result and hoped it would help make Christmas this year merrier for Ormocanons and their families. He was not disappointed either, because after the program ended, families and their children stayed behind to enjoy the opened park, the Christmas tree and the good weather.
The Christmas tree was a collaboration of the artistry of Estrella Serafica-Pangilinan and architect Wenceslao “Jay-Ar” Arcuino Jr. who generously lent his staff and skilled workers to work on the project. A labor of love for the Foundation members, president Gloria Velasquez, treasurer Milagros Rizarri and EV Mail publisher Lalaine M. Jimenea would visit the park a few hours before midnight, not minding the cold and wet weather, to “test light” the tree.
Gloria Velasquez also said she is equally grateful to Arcuino’s workers for braving the cold and wet weather, too, and walking the extra mile to ensure that the project is finished on time.
In Baybay City
Some 45 kilometers away from Ormoc City is Baybay City, which had its ceremonial lights on for their Christmas lights and decorations on December 8.
Despite the drizzle and chilling wind, the ceremonial lighting pushed through at the Veterans Park and boulevard, headed by City Mayor Carmen L. Cari, Vice Mayor Michael L. Cari, and Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla who was also the guest of honor.
Prior to the lighting ceremony, the newly renovated benches along the boulevard were blessed by Rev. Fr. Fermin Wabina, parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Parish.
Mayor Cari welcomed the crowd, emphasizing how the lights transformed the city. “Our city is now bright,” she said in the vernacular.
Gov. Petilla, for his part, recalled his childhood experiences in Baybay, which amused the crowd. “I had my first girlfriend there,” he said in Cebuano pointing to the recreation park directly north of the venue. “Baybay is not a new place to me,” he added.
The crowd was entertained by the fire dance of the Cebu Fire in the Belly, Yawtakiz Band from Maasin City, and a fireworks display.
However, a technical problem delayed the fireworks which should have followed the countdown. Originally planned to be setup at the boulevard, it was transferred to the port area, said Ms. Josefina K. Granada, city tourism officer and the director of the event. “We had to wait for the boat to leave at around eight PM,” Granada said, before the fireworks could be set off.
The city now sports a giant Christmas tree and Santa Claus at the Veterans Park, a nativity scene in front of the Legislative Building, and lanterns hanging on sidewalks and trees in front of the city hall and at the recreation park. This will go on till the end of Yuletide season.
Christmas Town of Albuera to “light up” on December 15
Meanwhile, the town of Albuera, in between Ormoc and Baybay cities, have scheduled their lighting up of Christmas decors and lights at 8:00 in the evening of December 15, after a short program and fireworks display.
Albuera has been known for years now as the Christmas town of the western part of Leyte, with almost all houses joining the Christmas lights and décor contest.
Mayor Erlinda dela Victoria said that despite the economic pinch and high cost of power, she’s continuing the now traditional Christmas décor contest because it has not only bought fame to their town but spreads goodwill and unity among her constituents.
To recall, when the Mayor started the concept of a Christmas town, the contest started as early as November 15. But high cost of power have forced them to start the contests nearer to Christmas.
The Christmas Décor contest also spins off a series of activities in relation to Albuera’s Foundation day on December 19.
On December 16 will be a medical-dental mission where an estimated 1,000 Albueranons are expected to avail of. The Albuera Rural Health Unit doctors, dentists, nurses and health workers will be beefed up by doctors from Ormoc City and the Ormoc Dental Society, as relayed by vice-mayor Rodanimod Cayanong and councilor Marcos Cataag.
Then, on December 18, will be the agro fair where various agricultural products from various barangays of Albuera will be showcased.

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