Filipinos in the Holy Land Urged to Remember Typhoon Victims This Christmas

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7 December 2013 Tel Aviv, State of Israel. The Filipino Community in Israel held the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on 7 December 2013 at the Terra Sancta School in Jaffa.xmastreelighting2

Prior to lighting the tree, Philippine Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge told those in the audience to remember and pray for the victims during the most festive and joyful season of the year. "Let us enjoy Christmas, bearing in mind that there are those who are less fortunate than we are. Let us gather strength to bounce back and face the future with optimism and hope for a better tomorrow," he said. The Ambassador also took the opportunity to thank all who extended their assistance for the victims, from the Israeli Government to NGOs, institutions, private companies and individuals.

The ceremony was followed by a choral competition featuring groups such as the United Netanya Organization (UNO), El Shaddai Community Choir, Divine Mercy Chapel Choir, Batangas Ranging Colligation Choir (BARACO), Couples for Christ (CFC) and St. Cecilia Choir. The competition this year was tight with all the choral groups giving their best renditions of Christmas songs. CFC was able to defend its title as champion while the 2nd and 3rd places went to St. Cecilia Choir and Divine Mercy Chapel Choir, respectively.

 The audience was also entertained with sxmatreelighting3ongs and dances from Rose "Osang" Fostanes, a Filipino contender in the X Factor Israel, Kathleen Eligado, John Joshua Lopez, Faith Marvelous Rosario and the UFFI kids.

After the choral competition, a member of the Filipino community donning a Santa Claus costume went out to meet the children in the audience, giving them toys, candies and other goodies to their delight.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony kick starts the holiday season among Filipinos in the Holy Land. Already in its 4th year, the event was organized and led by the Philippine Embassy, in cooperation with the Terra Sancta School and Parish of St Anthony in Jaffa, Couples for Christ, I-Remit and Yad Beyad Agency. --END--