Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron on Monday night switched on the 100-foot Christmas tree at the Puerto Princesa City Baywalk, a largely virtual event that was stripped of the fanfare that attended the previous year’s pompous celebrations to kick off the season.

The pandemic has dictated this year’s pivotal event, with Mayor Bayron candidly admitting that they had to realign the funds for such event to the city government’s COVID-19 response. There were no usual fireworks display and live attendance was kept at only around 200 people.

“Ang sitwasyon this year ay kakaiba sa mga dating Christmas tree lighting ceremonies natin dahil sa public health concerns gawa ng COVID-19 pandemic. Wala rin tayong fireworks dahil yong pondo ng firewoks ay dinagdag na sa Covid response natin,” Bayron said.

“Upang mapatupad sa minimum health protocol on mass gatherings, ay limitado sa 250 katao lang ang in-imbeta ngayong gabi,” he added.

Bayron admitted that the event was hurriedly prepared and executed, but he nevertheless thanked those who attended.

“Maraming salamat sa inyong presence ngayong gabi bagamat biglaan ang invitation,” he said.

“Pinasasalamatan ko rin ang mga nag assemble at nag decorate ng community Christmas tree natin nag handa sa araw man o sa gabi,” he added.

The PSU singers and City choir sang during the opening ceremony.