June 15, 2024



Letsgoph.com | SM City Tarlac joins the annual “Belenismo sa Tarlac”, a Belen-making competition in the province highlighting the Yuletide season.


The moment the clock strikes midnight every first of September marks the start of the longest-running celebration of the Christmas Season in the Philippines. This time of year, families put up their trees; streets get illuminated by twinkling lights and lanterns; and go about their holiday traditions.


Taking inspiration from the Filipino’s vibrant appreciation for the Yuletide season, SM City Tarlac relates its vivid stance in giving the best mall experience through the creation of a visual display that translates culture and environmental sustainability with a captivating centerpiece for the eyes and soul.

SM City Tarlac’s entry to this year’s Belenismo is a stunning tapestry of hues and textures. The Belen is beautifully nestled against a bamboo wall adorned with multicolored gel lights, rice straw and bamboo trellises. The use of bamboo is widely used in art in the Philippine setting with its durability and flexibility to create intricate designs and patterns. It is also said to represent the Filipinos’ resilience, strength and adaptability.


To complement its backdrop, the biblical characters – the Holy Family, Three Kings, and the Angel were garbed with vivid colored satin and textured fabrics, which harmonize beautifully with the backdrop, as the multicolored lights reflect upon the fabrics in a remarkable manner. Adding to the simple yet refined ensemble is the sophisticated use of sinamay fabric – an indigenous material made of abaca.


This life-size Belen stands on a 32-foot base made up of bamboo wrapped up with traditional woven flattened bamboo mats called “amakan” or “sawali.” These recycled interwoven strips are painted with gem blue and violet patterns resembling the colors of crown stones symbolizing God’s kingship. Beneath the bright Star of Bethlehem lies baby Jesus placed on a golden sliced hemispherical dome-shaped platform often used for religious architecture. The combination of bamboo and color gold signifies God’s humility that despite being the Supreme Being, he chose to come to Earth as human, out of His great love for mankind.


Made out of acrylic glass, the four translations of the “Prayer Before the Belen” – English, Filipino, Kapampangan, and Ilocano (Tarlac being the melting pot of Northern Luzon where you’ll meet Tagalogs, Ilocanos and Kapampangans daily) are displayed to serve as a reminder to acknowledge the sacredness of the nativity scene.


SM City Tarlac’s Belen is a heartfelt offering to the community, a powerful testimony to environmental consciousness, and a reminder of the values that bind Filipinos together during the holidays. Locals and visitors are invited to have the opportunity to experience and capture the mall’s Belen from 04 November 2023 until 06 January 2024 (Epiphany).  With hope, this display brings warmth to the heart and soul and ignites the spirit of togetherness making this time of year so special. Let the vibrant colors and the deeper meaning behind this display be a beacon of hope and unity for all.

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