Friday, November 25, 2011

Wizards cast magic in Christmas Village

The magical world of wizards is captivating the young and old alike in Bacolod, the City of Smiles.

They are flocking to the ancestral home of an artist-designer on San Juan Street to see Harry Potter, Professor Dumbledore and other famous wizards.

No, these are not the real Harry Potter and the well-loved Dumbledore in the popular book-series that has been made into a movie franchise. These are miniature replicas that have become added attractions to the famous Christmas Village created by Bamboo Tonogbanua.

The replicas are floating in the “clouds” above the village that fills a 6-by-8-meter room on the second floor of Tonogbanua’s home.

The magical world also features the famous London Bridge, cathedrals, castles and a train that looks much like the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter series, which are placed close to the ceiling at the center of the room.

17th year
Now on its 17th-year run, the Christmas Village has fascinated thousands of children and adults who visit it during the holidays.

Tonogbanua started the project in 1996 and has since increased his collection of miniature Christmas houses and objects. Some of the items were bought during his travels abroad, while others were gifts from his friends.

When he was a child, Tonogbanua said he was fascinated by Victorian and New England villages on Christmas cards, so he decided to recreate them.

The first Christmas Village covered only 32 square feet, but it has expanded every holiday. This year, it fills an entire room to the ceiling.

Opened on Nov. 21, the snow-covered village will run until Jan. 8, 2012, the Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany of the Lord).

With its ski slopes, railroad tracks, rivers, tunnels, mountain tops, shops, bike trails and castles, the Christmas Village is a sight to behold because of the details and intricacy of the design. It has several moving objects, such as cable cars that carry the miniature skiers up and down the slopes, carnival rides, dancers twirling to a waltz inside a gazebo, trains running through tunnels, skaters in the park, and Santa Clauses dancing and flying on sleighs.

‘Sky’ view
Scattered throughout are nativity scenes and tiny blinking lights in all shades and shapes. Christmas music coming from various sections of the room boosts the festive atmosphere.

This year, Tonogbanua’s added magical treat has caught the fancy of many children craning to the “sky.” Parents have to lift them so they can take a closer look at the minute details amid the clouds.

In a room in front of the Christmas Village is another attraction. Miniature replicas of Jack Sparrow and other characters of the famous “Pirates of the Carribean” franchise stand in a giant treasure chest with a glass window. Of course, not far are their ships, weapons and many treasures.

Tonogbanua has again outdone himself.

Christmas in Philippines

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