By Zaldy Comanda
TARLAC CITY – SM City Tarlac’s entry to this year’s Belenismo showcases not only a display that pleases the eyes, but likewise refreshes the spirit.
SM Communications Officer Shiela Mae Macaraeg-Solis said the entry’s backdrop is inspired by church windows, reflecting the devotion of Filipinos.
The multi-colored panels, 16 to 20 feet high, refracts light, adding a whole new dimension to the display.
The discarded stained glass panels were sourced from different churches in Luzon.
Augmenting some panels and mending broken ones, the nativity scene made use of one of Tarlac’s main produce—sugar.
The melted-then-hardened crystals resulted to faux glass panels.
The Holy Family, the Three Kings, and the angel were swathed in textured fabrics, which added to the appeal of the display.
Noteworthy is the sinamay fabric—an indigenous material made from abaca—that was woven in the sacred characters’ clothes.
The images of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus were also virtually brought to life through robotics.
Solis added that the base of the platform on which the display sits upon was made of more than 3,000 recycled glass bottles, which reflects light from the stained glass panels.
The platform was wrapped with hundreds of green flowers handcrafted from the collected 10,000 pieces of green plastic bottles through the Trash to Cash initiative of the mall.
The recycled pieces symbolize the simplicity and humility of Jesus Christ when He was born.
The nativity scene also displays four translations of the “Prayer before the Belen” in English, Filipino, Kapampangan, and Ilocano.
The 32-foot belen is a grand showcase of the versatility of indigenous materials as well as recycled ones.
It is also the tangible testimony of the hard work invested by 30 artists who worked together for a month to craft this holiday display.
The belen is open for viewing and photo sessions from November 5 until the Epiphany of 2019.