By Robert Requintina
Thousands of people flocked to Times Square Food Park at the Araneta City to watch two kinds of stars – the lighting of 100-foot Christmas tree and entertainers.
People cheered as cellphone cameras clicked when UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador Anne Curtis-Smith, Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chair Stella Marquez Araneta, reigning Bb. Pilipinas queens, teen stars, and city officials flipped on the switch to light the holiday tree spruced during the 38th annual event held last Friday night Nov. 8.
Still one of the most anticipated events in the City of Firsts, the centerpiece of activity is adorned with 750 pieces of 9-foot garlands, diamond ornaments some as large as 30 inches; 250 cascading lights, sputnik and strobe lights; and over 1,500 Christmas balls in silver and gold, as well as teal in line with the new colors of the rebranded Araneta City
“The Christmas tree is so beautiful! It’s Christmas time in the city,” said Letty Bonifacio, an overseas Filipino worker, who with her friends Elvira Oktubre and Andre Ken-en came all the way from Tagaytay to join the festivity in Quezon City.
Curtis has become a familiar face at Araneta City where she mounted her first major solo concert which was followed up by other successful shows. She even hosted the most prestigious national pageant the Bb. Pilipinas.
Other celebrities who appeared in the giant-tree lighting ceremony were Edward Barbers, the other half of the popular loveteam Mayward; former Pinoy Big Brother housemates Lou Yanong, Andre Brouillette, Yamyam Gucong, and Fumiya Sankai; Idol Philippines 2019 champ Zephanie Dimaranan, and same-season finalist Lucas Garcia; as well as AC Bonifacio from the Dance Kids grand champion Lucky Aces.
Beyond fun and entertainment, the event underlines the Araneta Group’s commitment of giving back and helping the needy.
The Araneta Group, in partnership with the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, pledged its support to UNICEF’s Alternative Learning System (ASL) for out-of-school youth in the Philippines through a recommitment signing.
Present during the recommitment signing was UNICEF education officer Giti Mohn.
The holiday fun at the Araneta City does not end there.
On November 13, the Times Square Food Park will have its own festive and ceremonial launch of the Christmas Animated Display. There will also be fun rides and plethora of dining options.