MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are known for having close family ties and spending the holidays with loved ones is definitely a priority.
This time of the year when budget is tight, some Filipinos preferred to enjoy the festive atmosphere in Luneta or Rizal Park.
Hundreds of families camped out in the area where they enjoyed the musical dancing fountain at the central lagoon as well as light and fire exhibits.
According to record from the National Parks Development Committee Security Office, at least 3,000 individuals have come to Luneta Park since Monday night.
This is lower, however, than the visitor population last year.
Authorities said the rainy weather may have contributed to the slowing down of visitor arrivals in the park.
Nevertheless, visitors like Jean Mata said they wouldn’t allow the rain to spoil their family bonding.
Jean and her family travelled all the way from Malolos, Bulacan to spend time together in Rizal Park.
“Okay na okay; nakaka-enjoy po dito, masyadong maraming view na magaganda…Kasi parang tradisyon na sa amin simula maliliit pa kami,” she said.
Park goers said they noticed significant improvements in Rizal Park.
Sweepers can be seen around maintaining the cleanliness of the surroundings and public toilets are properly maintained.
“Marami pong kalat pero mayroon naman pong metro aide,” observed Sylvia Española
“Mas improved na ang portable ngayon kaysa dati. Noong nakaraang taon talagang hindi mo siya makakayanan na pasukin. Ngayon, maganda na siya. Tapos ang basura, okay naman, nililinis nila agad,” added Jean.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director General Guillermo Eleazar made rounds in Rizal Park to personally check on the peace and order in the area.
“Nakikita natin na talagang ang kaligayahan ng mga tao ay pagiging kontento sa buhay; at tayo naman, nakakatulong tayo doon sa panatilihin natin na tahimik at maayos itong mga bagay na pinapasyalan nila,” Eleazar assured.
Rizal Park remains open until evening of December 26. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)