Home Arts & Leisure Festival of Lights goes online for second year

Festival of Lights goes online for second year

DURING a normal holiday season, a medley of Christmas music accompanied by dancing lights is played in a garden in the middle of a busy business district. The show begins after sunset, with the medley lasting for about 15 minutes, then it is replayed every half hour. Guests gather to watch the spectacle, sing along to the music, and take photos.

While visiting the garden was curtailed in 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the audience was still able to enjoy the spectacle, albeit online. For this year, the lights and sound show returns on a second year online.

“Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021” was launched on Nov. 12 on the Ayala Land and Make It Makati official Facebook pages.

“[Festival of Lights] was originally envisioned to serve the Makati community but then over the years it became so well-loved that it actually turned into an annual tradition where families and friends reunite,” said Chrissy Roa. Head of Marketing and Communications of Ayala Land Estates, during an online press launch on Nov. 12.

While the live show attracts thousands of visitors, last year’s virtual show reached 5.5 million viewers.

“This year, we want to reach more people and we want to reach more places not only locally but abroad as well,” Ms. Roa said.

“The Festival of Lights has allowed us to connect with the community in a unique way. The virtual live show allows us to further strengthen this connection as we are now able to reach Filipinos out of the country [who] may not be able to come home for Christmas,” Shiella Aguilar, Project Development Head for Makati, said.

This year, the festival is a two-part show made in partnership with Globe Studios, led by director Quark Henares and Acid House. A medley of holiday songs by singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan is used in both installments.

“I grew up immersed in happy yuletide music at Christmas time,” Mr. Chan said about the holidays growing up in Iloilo. “So, it’s not surprising that in composing my Christmas songs, it was inspired to derive the happy tunes from all the memorable music that I grew up with.

“It is always delightful to be associated with the most joyful season of the year,” Mr. Chan said about the collaboration. “The spirit of Christmas is always family, so to bring out that spirit in my songs is very important.”

Part One of the “Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021” recreates the light show at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, this time designed within the digital space as a 360-degree animation. Part Two, which launches in December, tells the story of a family.

Mr. Henares, Globe Studios Executive Director, directors the virtual lights and sound show again this year. He said that this year’s show has more character animation.

For Part One, Mr. Henares said that there are more Christmas elements such as Santa’s sleigh and reindeer that go around the garden, as well as Christmas gifts, and decorative balls. The animation accompanies Mr. Chan’s song “A Wish on Christmas Night.”

Part Two will feature 2D animation of a Christmas story about a family and showcase various Christmas traditions. The animation also includes an animated Jose Mari Chan.

To make the light show accessible, on-ground QR code displays and digital boxes will be placed in areas around the Makati Central Business District (CBD) and Circuit Makati such as underpasses, walkways, malls, and parks.

Along with the Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021, augmented reality Instagram filters will also be launched for a complete digital Christmas celebration. Featuring the lights and sound show in the background, the filter transports users to the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Ayala Land is hosting a contest for the best entries that use the Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021 filters.

From Nov. 20 to Jan. 9, one grand prize winner will receive a four-day, 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.

Other prizes include Seda Hotels gift certificates for an overnight stay or a free dine-in dinner for two. Participants can also win four roundtrip airfare tickets from Manila to Boracay. To join, contestants must post their entries on their Facebook page, Instagram Feed, and Instagram Stories with the official tags and hashtags: @makeitmakati @ayalaland from Nov. 20 to Jan. 9.

Meanwhile, Makati is also holding live events for the holiday season. There will be safe alfresco dining opportunities at the Makati Al Fresco Parklets at the Rada Promenade, and the Makati Street Meet at Legaspi and Salcedo Villages, and Riverside Sessions in Circuit Makati daily starting Nov. 20.

There will be live performances of holiday tunes every Friday to Sunday from November to December at Circuit Makati and the Makati CBD.

On Dec. 15, the Jaime Velasquez Park and the Legazpi Active Park will be hosting Simbang Gabi masses.

On Dec. 25, Ayala Land and Make It Makati will present an Online Christmas Concert with Mr. Chan and the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

The Festival of Lights: Virtual Edition 2021 runs until Jan. 9, 2022 on the Make It Makati Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/makeitmakati/videos/4506153449473349. For more information, visit the Makati It Makati and Ayala Land Facebook and Instagram accounts. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman