Change is the name of the game. This was particularly true last December when, for the first time in the City's history, in consequence of the ongoing construction of the City Plaza, the venue of all the events of the 15th Charter Day Celebration and Pasko sa Bayawan were held at the City Boulevard.
Skeptics were quick to object that the area is too big, for an effective maintenance of peace and order, as well as attractions were too dispersed, which would discourage visitors to go the distance, to find time to enjoy them as much, if they were held at a much compact venue like the City Plaza, but all of that was about to change.
From day 1 on December 16, 2015 when the Opening Program of the auspicious activity was made - climaxed by a huge torch parade headed by City Mayor Ismael Martinez with LGU employees and officials that started from the City Hall to the Kan-anay sa Boulevard venue - up to December 23 where the Charter Day Fireworks Competition was held, the crowd at the City Boulevard just got bigger. There was a slight reduction of visitors after Christmas day, but this is expected, since most local and foreign tourists have packed their bags for home for the New Year.
So huge was the crowd during the Charter Day night that traffic congestion was a major problem. In the Belen Festival area, Kan-anay sa Boulevard and environs merry makers came in droves making it almost impossible to move around. It was a family affair for some at the children's playground with kids and toddlers sleeping on mats while older siblings and parents patiently waited for the fireworks competition to begin.
However, except for traffic issue, things just got better. With trees providing natural shade for the Belens and wide expanse of the West Philippine Sea invigorating habitues with sea breeze, the venue is just perfect for late afternoon promenades climaxed by a sunset best enjoyed with a bottle of beer. And in the evening the colorful Belen Festival, which have made the City an enduring Christmas playground, is a feast for the senses as one immerses into a wonderland - the handiwork of the |City's visual artisans who have perfected their craft over the years.
The Kan-anay sa Boulevard, where performing arts competitions are held, was a refuge for those who wanted to take a respite and enjoy a dose of rock n roll, hip hop and the more melancholic OPM ballads. With a bigger area, and a nice stage compared to the dilapidated mobile stage that has been in use for quite a number of years, overcrowding was a thing of the past.
As the 15th Charter Day Celebration and Pasko sa Bayawan waned and took its course many, if not all, are expecting more of the same next year and the choice of venue is unanimous - the City Boulevard where everyone has a taste of everything.