By Jaimie Rose Aberia
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Wednesday night led the symbolic lighting of Christmas lanterns along Roxas Boulevard.
Accompanied by the city’s top officials, Estrada switched on some 200 lanterns along the center island and both lanes of Roxas Boulevard from P. Burgos Street to Vito Cruz — part of the 1,300 to be put up along major thoroughfares, parks, and city government buildings and properties across the city.
“These Christmas lanterns, with its glistening lights, symbolize our undying commitment to continuously work for the progress of our city and realize our dream of restoring the City of Manila’s old beauty and long lost glory,” Estrada said.
Each Christmas lantern has dancing lights elaborately formed to create the words “Sulong Maynila” (Forward Manila), the Estrada administration’s battle cry.
City Engr. Rogelio Legazpi said 1,300 Christmas lanterns will be installed at the parks and plazas, government buildings, hospitals, along national roads and major bridges in Manila such as Jones Bridge, Quezon Boulevard Bridge, and Ayala Bridge.
“We only prioritized Roxas Boulevard because of the upcoming ASEAN Summit,” he said.
With only a few weeks before the start of another year, Estrada said “the coming year promises a new beginning for all of us.”
“Whatever it may bring, let us take it as an opportunity to pursue with greater vigor and determination the kind of progress and improved living conditions that we desire for our city and people,” he said. “As we usher in this season of festivities, let us all forget our worries and be merry in anticipation of better things to come for our city.”
The city is in the midst of its Urban Renewal Program, which primarily involves the extensive cleanup, restoration, and repair of the famous landmarks, including the cultural heritage sites that decades ago had earned Manila the title as Asia’s “Pearl of the Orient.”
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