Christmas in our hearts—and online

Published November 20, 2021, 7:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

The Festival of Lights is made bigger, grander this year in a virtual edition

THE SHOW MUST GO ON In photo: Ayala Land’s Festival of Lights Digital Edition part one. Cover design by Jules Vivas

Christmas in the Philippines, as Jose Mari Chan would describe it in his ultimate holiday song “Christmas In Our Hearts,” is all about gift-giving, merry-making, decorations, faith, and the lights that fill the air with yuletide cheer.

Metro Manila is slowly reverting to pre-pandemic times. Even though we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, many brands and organizations are doing the right thing by by making the Christmas revelry safe and responsible, celebrating what is one of the biggest holidays in the country online despite the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Among the noted Christmas spectacles in the metro, the Festival of Lights, normally held physically at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, goes online for the second time around since the health emergency. The 13th edition of the annual event is split into two parts.

The first half is an online rendition of the highly-anticipated light show at Ayala Triangle Gardens, presented in 360-degree animation. People passing by the Makati Central Business District and Circuit Makati via the underpasses, walkways, malls, and parks may encounter QR code displays and digital boxes that lead to the virtual light show.

“This year we wanted to bring it back to Ayala Triangle Gardens and to have everyone there live. But then we prioritized the safety of people. So we made the virtual edition bigger, grander,” says Chrissy Roa, marketing head of Ayala Land Estates. “Families and friends may be physically apart, but the country’s most-loved Christmas lights and sounds show aims to give deeper meaning and greater joy to the holiday by connecting everyone, near or far, through the Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition.”

‘Families and friends may be physically apart, but the country’s most-loved Christmas lights and sounds show aims to give deeper meaning and greater joy to the holiday by connecting everyone, near or far, through the Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition.’

Globe Studios’ Quark Henares and Acid House were responsible for producing this 360-degree iteration of the lights display that features a medley of Jose Mari Chan’s carols. Quark explains that the 2020 light and sound show was meant to rouse the holiday spirit in the strangest year. “[This time] there are more 3D holographic elements, Christmas elements, and Santa going around the garden to make it [Festival of Lights] more festive,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the second part of the Festival of Lights is Christmas storytelling that highlights Filipino traditions using 2D animation, set to launch soon. Similar to the first part, it will have Jose Mari Chan’s songs accompanying the narratives.

ONLINE MERRIMENT Heading the press launch of this year’s Festival of Lights are (clockwise from top left) Quark Henares, Jose Mari Chan, Chrissy Roa, Sheila Aguilar, Mel Ignacio, and the Kramer family

A different kind of light: More online content

Augmented reality Instagram filters are set to launch in line with the Festival of Lights. Users can be transported within the lights and sound show by having it as a filter.

To make the season interactive and more fun, a contest is also ongoing until Jan. 9, 2022. The grand prize of a four-day and three-night all-expense-paid trip to El Nido, Palawan for two, inclusive of airfare in partnership with AirSwift, free food, and RT-PCT testing, awaits a winner.

On the other hand, 10 runner ups will each get a Seda Hotels gift certificate for an overnight stay or a free dine-in dinner for two. Other prizes include four roundtrip airfare tickets from Manila to Boracay.

LIGHTS ON Screenshots of the Ayala Festival of Lights online (top and rightmost photos)

On Christmas Day, Dec. 25, everyone is invited to watch an online Christmas concert by Jose Mari Chan with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, organized by Ayala Land and Make It Makati.

Another show, or audio program to be exact, that patrons of Ayala should look out for is the insightful State of The Arts Podcast on Spotify, which is about the arts, theater, and creatives in and around the Philippines.

Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021 is a project of Ayala Land and Make It Makati in partnership with Globe Studios through Quark Henares and Acid House. It is co-presented by Coca-Cola.

 
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