By: Rohn Romulo
THE Araneta Center is pulling all the stops for a grand homecoming this Christmas.
On November 23, Friday, a beloved classic will cross paths with celebrated phenoms as TV host-actress Maine Mendoza and child star Baeby Baste welcome the returning ‘Christmas on Display’ at the Times Square Food Park along with other VIP guests and officials of the Araneta Center.
The program for the grand launch will start at 5 pm. Admission is free to the public.
After 16 years, the animated ‘Christmas on Display’ is returning to its true home in Araneta Center. Eager to welcome it back are people from all walks of life and across different generations—from those who have been in awe with it years back, to the young ones who have yet to see and experience its full glory.
It is expected to draw crowds to the Times Square Food Park, which is just a stone’s throw away from its original location. Created by businessman Alex Rosario Sr. in 1957, ‘Christmas on Display’ transferred to Araneta Center in 1966 and has since become a prominent attraction in the country’s premier lifestyle hub during Christmas until the Manila C.O.D. Department Store ceased operations in 2002.
Now helmed by Rey Rosario, the COD will continue to amaze with its imposing design and touching stories. With a touch of something old and something new, the animated display still harkens back to its glory days of simple pleasures in life, but is now set in a backdrop that is as Instagram-worthy as many attractions in the metropolis these days.
With bright lights, music, and the help of more than 40 moving mannequins, it will touch on Araneta Center’s theme “Christmas is Home,” a topic all too familiar for countless of Filipinos who travel great lengths just to be with the ones they love this Holiday season.
Once it launches, the ‘Christmas On Display’ will have 15-minute shows from 6 pm to 10:30 pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and from 6 pm to 11:30 pm on Fridays to Saturdays until January 6.
Star-studded: Since skyrocketing to stardom as host of Eat Bulaga in 2015, Mendoza has moved on to become a bankable actress, product endorser and budding cosmetics mogul.
Baeby Baste, on the other hand, is one of the country’s leading child stars and already has a Best Child Performer award from the Metro Manila Film Festival under his belt.
Also joining Mendoza and Baeby Baste is the awarded Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, which, since its formation in 1999, has earned international accolades from choral competitions in China, Canada and Korea.
Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray will host the ceremony, while her Binibining Pilipinas sisters, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International Eva Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental Karen Gallman, Miss Globe top 15 finalist Michele Gumabao, and Miss International first runner-up Ma. Ahtisa Manalo will also be in attendance following her successful pageant stint in Japan.
The festive launch comes just a week after Araneta Center lit up its iconic giant Christmas tree also at the Times Square Food Park. The star-studded event, which was headlined by Sarah Geronimo and Vice Ganda, was witnessed by more than 20,000 people.
Aside from housing both the giant Christmas tree and the Christmas On Display, the Times Square Food Park on the corner of Times Square street and Gen. Roxas Avenue also hosts fun rides and a plethora of dining options, making it one of the must-visit destinations this Yuletide season.
For more updates on Araneta Center’s Christmas activities, visit the Araneta Center website and follow its social media pages: @AranetaCenter on Facebook and Twitter and @TheAranetaCenter on Instagram.