Christmas is just around the corner. It has been the norm for VSU to welcome the Yuletide season with a festive lighting event. The towering and stylish Christmas tree and signature Pinoy parol hanging on posts, which adorn and illuminate the streets and patios of the university, prodded anticipation and excitement within people from different walks of life. And as the COVID-19 pandemic became a staunch part of the observance of these events, excitement and expectations about witnessing this again have doubled, to say the least.
Rachael Catherine Aguelo, a senior BSED English student, expressed her joy as she experienced the lighting ceremony again after two years.
"I am actually very happy because I'm a fourth-year student now, and this was one of the highlights of my first year here at VSU last year, and now that I'm a graduating student, I've really waited for this since the pandemic.And now that I've experienced this event once more, I'm really, really happy to see the happy faces of my fellow Viscans. "Everybody is just enjoying the moment."
Second-year BS ABE student Shaina Modina also felt elated that there were more attendees to this year’s lighting than the past two years.
"I'm happy again. Since I studied junior and senior high school at VSU, I have experienced this before, but not with much excitement. "After two years of the event not having this great number of attendees, I can now feel the Christmas vibes again."
The Christmas lighting gave third-year BSED English student Sophia Mae M. Ariño the "home" feeling.
"As a Viscan, Pasko sa VSU gives me a warm feeling.Considering that it was my first time experiencing the event last night, it’s as if the pandemic never happened, and with the company of my friends, it became a core memory of my VISCAN experience. It was more than what I expected; the flock of students and even outsiders who also anticipated the comeback of this festivity made it more special. Indeed, the Christmas spirit is here."
Jay-R Illustrisimo, BSA 2, shared how the event made him feel like it was Christmas despite being away from home.
"I feel alive again, like everything just went back to normal."
"I can feel Christmas approaching; most of us are away from our families, but with this at least, we can still feel Christmas."
Another third-year student from the BSED English program, Cristel Marie Estrera, shared the same sentiment, stressing that the very reason these public events were put on hold for two years is also what made the event more special.
"The VSU's Christmas lighting project was made even more special by the pandemic. Imagine being isolated and celebrating Christmas in our homes, and then finally celebrating it with the VSU students and teachers. A true joy. When I first heard the singing of Christmas songs and saw the beautifully made Christmas lights, I felt joy and genuine happiness. I am grateful to those who organized the event as well as those who attended. What a wonderful experience. Indeed, the true meaning of 'PaskoSaVSU'".
Angelou Z. Geraldo, a third-year BEED-GE student, was more than amazed to have witnessed such an event for the very first time, as her batch’s entry to the university coincides with the onslaught of COVID.
"Pasko sa VSU allows us to rediscover the Christmas spirit. Witnessing the VSU Christmas Lighting Ceremony for the first time made it special for me because it's such a great opportunity to experience just how wonderful Christmas is at VSU. The level of amazement I perceived goes well beyond what I had anticipated. "
"Pasko sa VSU is more than just a celebration; it's also the way to inspire all Viscans to recapture the spirit of Christmas despite the pandemic's two-year interruption."
BSA 2 student Cresle Alkuino’s expectations have been exceeded, especially with the presentations of the Viscantahan performers.
"Actually, it exceeded my expectations. I haven’t tried [attending] this kind of event since. I thought it would only be a jam session, but the decorations are just as nice, along with the lighting. It’s so great!"
This is also the sentiment of Estevin Quilla, a BSED English 3 student, who said that it was the thirst for these events that made people flock to the venue.
"This is different from before, because before, it seems like it was only me. However, today, there are just a lot of people, maybe because they are thirsty for this kind of event. It’s a little pompous today compared to two years ago, especially with the bands playing tonight. The new gate also added to the view."
Finally, Allea Dulpina, a freshman from DVM, added the lighting ceremony to her list of things to see in her upcoming years at the university.
“Seeing this iconic event at VSU improved my freshman year and made my 2022 memorable.I will always crave for this event in my upcoming years here at VSU."
Two years after its stagnance, this year’s lighting event not only lit up the fleeting Christmas feelings of the people but also fired up the spirits of love and camaraderie among Viscans. People, regardless of whether it was their first time witnessing the event or not, expressed the same desire to rekindle the Christmas spirit.
The Christmas vibes, which were not really felt for two years, are now being observed again. The bland Christmas is now gradually being flavored again with all the lanterns and singing all over town. And families and friends are now freer to meet and celebrate the Yuletide together.