By Benjamin Lim Vergara
AIR travelers can’t help but stare at the unique, avant-garde Christmas tree at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) with a bright, fun and funky colors.
The Christmas tree was lit up on Monday evening by Philippine Airlines (PAL) President and COO Jaime J. Bautista and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal at the Terminals 1 and 2, ushering in the holiday season at the country’s premier gateway.
“We want this Christmas tree to be a beacon of hope and goodwill that illuminates the dreams and wishes of everyone celebrating Christmas with their families this year,” Bautista said.
The distinctive pop art installation, replacing the traditional pine tree, greets arriving and departing passengers at Terminals 1 and 2, respectively, and will do so until the end of January next year.
According to PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna, the flag carrier commissioned Miguel Miñana and ThemeWorks (an event firm) to give the airport terminals a different decorative twist for the holiday season.
The goal of the designers is to transform the businesslike terminal spaces into the “streets of Manila,” evoking the sound and colors of the mega-city that sprawls beyond the confines of the airport, she added.
The twenty-feet Christmas tree has pop art panel installations that rise to the ceilings of the airport lobbies. It has cut-out stands of the jeepneys, kalesas and sorbetes (ice cream) carts. The color schemes of the two terminals evoked the Philippine flag – blue for terminal 1 and red for terminal 2.
“This Christmas tree is meant to project a uniquely Filipino spirit, honoring the fun-loving, creative and passionate people who make our capital city such a dynamic and unforgettable place. So, when citizens of faraway nations come to visit our country, they will feel and see that there’s no Christmas like a Pinoy Christmas,” Bautista added.
The Christmas displays offer photo opportunities for selfies and group photos for arriving tourists and returning Filipino family members at terminal 2, where the Christmas tree is mounted outdoors at both the arrival and departure lobby foyers.
Meanwhile, the Christmas tree in the check-in lobby of terminal 1 offers a fitting pictorial remembrance for passengers before departing to distant destinations.
PAL emphasized that while PAL maintains its international and domestic hub at terminal 2, the airline operates six international flights out of terminal 1 – to Canada and select Middle East destinations. Flights arriving from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco are also at terminal 1.