Star-studded city

Star-studded city

by UA&P News Desk on December 28, 2011 - 12:04 pm

From BusinessWorld | by Sam Marcelo

VISIT: Belenistas de Ortigas, Ortigas Center, Pasig, until Jan. 8

A constellation of Christmas stars is lighting up Ortigas Center. Nine buildings inside the business district joined the first edition of Belenistas de Ortigas, a nativity scene-making contest organized by the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in partnership with Ortigas Center Association, Inc. (OCAI) and Barangay San Antonio (BSA), Pasig City.

Each outdoor belen or creche occupies a floor area of six to 10 square meters and is composed of figures standing two to three meters tall.

During the recent awarding ceremony held at UA&P, the Ortigas Bldg. along Sapphire Road was judged the winner and awarded a cash prize P70,000. Second and third places went to UnionBank Plaza along Meralco Ave. and the San Miguel Properties Center Condominium along Saint Francis Road, respectively. They each received P50,000 and P30,000.

Entries were evaluated based on originality and creativity; clarity of the theme (“To seek for a King was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went”); craftsmanship; and overall visual impact.

“I went around and saw the participating belens; they were very interesting. Everyone worked hard,” said Luz Cotoco, OCAI president.

“This is the first year of the project and we had birth pains but we’re happy with the outcome.” For his part, Raymond Lising, BSA Councilor and an alumnus of UA&P, said that it was “about time” that his school became active in the community.

The competition is an outgrowth of UA&P’s belen-making tradition, which began in 2003 with a nativity scene constructed in the school’s Stella Orientis chapel. Veronica Esposo Ramirez, UA&P associate professor and project head, explained that the initial effort was a labor of love.

UA&P President Jose Maria Mariano, who made belens in Spain, taught volunteers how to make clothing for the figurines and spearheaded the design of the creche’s “environment.”

The current Stella Orientis belen, the ninth iteration, is an elaborate two-tiered structure with figurines carved by local artisans. On the upper floor, Joseph pulls back the curtain that hides the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus; below, visitors led to the manger by the Star of Bethlehem gather to pay their respects. This scene, widely recognized as a Christmas symbol, is a recreation of Jesus’s birth as told in the Bible, specifically in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

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