05 December 2021 - For the first time since 2019, the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv once again organized the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on 4 December, holding a modest reception at the chancery in line with prevailing health restrictions. Philippine Ambassador to the State of Israel Macairog Alberto led the ceremony, accompanied by Fr. Mark Tobias and Fr. Leonides Baclay, and special guests Mr. Jonas Gaffud, Creative Director of Miss Universe Philippines, and Mr. Voltaire Tayag, Director for Communications of Miss Universe Philippines.
“It has been a tradition for us to hold this event to mark the beginning of the Yuletide season, here in Israel,” Ambassador Alberto shared, speaking to guests composed of Filipino community representatives and Israeli friends of the Embassy. “We hope that by next year, we will be able to celebrate the season with more members of our community once again.”
In addition to the annual parol-making competition, the Embassy introduced an art contest with the theme “Pasko sa Pilipinas”, hoping to provide Filipinos with another medium to describe the Christmas traditions they valued most. The entries were judged by Philippine Honorary Consuls Boaz Waksman and Shai Brovender, and Filipino-Israeli professional Ms. Vivian Gal.
Souls of OPM, a Tel Aviv-based Filipino band, won the art contest. Just Love Travelers and engineers from Israel Aerospace Industries won first prize for their parol made out of dead sea salt and seashells. The second prize went to Batangas Radiant Colligation (BARACO), whose parol was made of acorns from the holly oak tree. Ms. Agnes Esguerra, an individual participant, took third prize with a parol entry made of recycled bamboo, abaca rope, cardboard and pine cones; she shared the third prize with the Association of Igorot Migrant Workers in Israel (AIMWI), whose entry was painstakingly covered in handmade newspaper roses.
The program also featured Filipino community talents: Souls of OPM with their medley rendition of “Family is Forever”, the Philippine Society for Culture and Arts (PHILSCA) with a Christmas themed dance number, and former GMA 7 talent, Ms. Angeline de Belen with a modern rendition of “O Holy Night”. –END-