Heritage Sites

Belenisimo sa Tarlac


Renzelle Ann Palma
Renzelle Ann Palma | Jun 27, 2013

A BELEN is the Nativity scene where Jesus is born in a manger with Mary and Joseph watching over Him. The three kings with their gifts, animals, shepherds and the illuminating great star completes the scene. It is the most significant memento of Christmas for it reminds us that the occassion is about Christ.

To find a Belen in a Filipino house during the Christmas season is quite rare these days. We often lean more to the westernized decorations such as the Christmas Tree and even a blown up version of a Snowman. But in Tarlac, there are beautifully decorated Belens all over the province.

The Belenismo sa Tarlac continues to bring life into the Belen tradition. What started in 2007 as a way to promote the art of Belen making and encouraging the people of Tarlac to put up Belen in their homes, now became a local tradition and a much loved event, not only by the locals, but most especially by tourists who are amazed by the intricately designed Belens along the different participating municipalities.

From the Diorama submissions of the creative grade school and high school students of Tarlac displayed at the Museo ng Probinsiya ng Tarlac, to the enormous Municipal, Church and Monumental categories found in different municipalities such as Camiling, San Clemente, Moncada, Gerona, Paniqui, Mayantoc, Anao, Tarlac City and Ramos, the Belens emit peaceful energy and such a warm feeling because, mixed with the night breeze, I got my first taste of Christmas.

Expect the unexpected when it comes to the Belen translations of the participants. Imagine a Nativity scene at one of the wonders of the world, or a Belen at the Maskara Festival or at a Fluvial parade. How about a Belen made out of nothing but fresh flowers and another from recycled materials like plastic bottles and soft drink cans? All these, you will find at the Belenismo sa Tarlac.

It is best to see the Belens at night, when all the colorful, bright lights are lit up and the nativity scene comes to life.


Best to bring your own car for this experience so as to roam around town at your own pace.

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