December 2, 2023

The nativity story and the Benguet the Bendian dance steps will be showcased in the city’s Christmas decorations that will be set up at Malcolm Square.

City Planning and Development Coordinator Donna Tabangin presented the Yuletide decorations concept during the management committee meeting at the Baguio Convention Center last week.

Instead of mass gatherings for the season, the city opted to spread out the decorations for locals and visitors to view and appreciate and stave off risks of Covid-19 infection and transmission.

Malcolm Square will be lighted on Dec. 8, Tabangin said.

Six panels representing Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province will also provide insights on the culture and celebrations done in these areas.

The message of unity, harmony, and hope amidst the challenges of the pandemic will be showcased in the decorations.

The Christmas story starting from Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary; Jesus’ birth in a manger; angels and three kings’ roles in the nativity; and the flight of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous intents will be portrayed at Malcolm Square while the Bendian dance decorations will detailed at Session Road.

The Bendian dance steps – pinesbikan, salabasao, kinitangan, kinikian, inushongan, inudiyan, pinadjosan, and inabaya – represent gathering; praise of God for good harvest; planting, care, watching over of crops; bringing them home for use and prosperity; and thanksgiving.

The arrangement of Bendian dancers also symbolizes protection for those in the inner circle.

The kalasag or wooden shield of armor, which symbolizes strength, courage, and protection from danger or illnesses, is also included in the decorations.

Tabangin said the decorations symbolize that amidst the physical separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “we are together in healing.” – Julie G. Fianza