Christmas Capital and Tuna Capital of the Philippines Can Boost Local Economy

Kapampangans take pride in their huge Christmas lantern that displays a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours.
Kapampangans take pride in their huge Christmas lantern that displays a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours. (bingbing/WikimediaCommons)

Christmas is just around the corner, and for Filipinos, it’s time to bring out the decorations. Christmas in the Philippines is an extraordinary and widely observed celebration with its own set of traditions and customs, known for lasting from September until January and beyond.

Every home has its own style of decor and garlands ranging from colourful lights to giant kaleidoscopic lanterns to Christmas trees of all sizes. No matter the status in life, Filipinos don’t forget to have a nativity in their homes.

Pampanga as the ”Christmas Capital” of the Philippines

It’s been four years already since COVID-19 hit the country, however, many locals are still facing difficulties. This urged Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. to propose House Bill (HB) No. 6933.

He acknowledges Pampanga’s grand Christmas traditions, including the extraordinary craftmanship of its lantern-making workers. These skilled craftsmen considerably furnished the soundness of the local economy, including the marketing of the province being a cultural tourism destination.

“This proposed law will further promote our province as a cultural and Christmas tourism destination. It will boost our local economy, which will mean more income and job opportunities for our kabalen (province mates) and residents of neighbouring areas,” said Gonzales in a statement.

Likewise, he indicated that as early as September, the province starts to make and sell Christmas lanterns and other related products.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has his full support of the proposal. He said that the Christmas season is made further special each year by the Kapampangans who are proud of their renowned and bright traditions of lantern-making.

On Monday, the House of Representatives approved HB 6933 with a sweeping vote of 250-0. It’s now heading to the Senate for consideration.

GenSan as the ”Tuna Capital” of the Philippines

Tuna is an integral and widely consumed seafood in the Philippines due to their vast coastlines and abundant marine resources. The Philippines is home to several species of tuna, including yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), and (to a lesser degree) bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus). Yellowfin tuna is particularly prized and frequently featured in Filipino cuisine.

The Philippines exports an important portion of its tuna catch to international markets, including those of the United States, Japan and Europe. Tuna products like canned and frozen tuna cans are shipped across these borders for consumption by consumers all around the world.

A Filipino fisherman sure looks happy with his catch. (Shemlongakit/WikimediaCommons)

On Monday, the House of Representatives officially declared General Santos City (GenSan) as the ”Tuna Capital” of the Philippines.

“The House of Representatives, through this proposed legislation, would like to honour the importance of the tuna industry as a driver of development. It is not only a source of export earnings, but also a source of livelihood to our fisherfolks and workers in the City of General Santos, and the rest of the country,” said House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

He added that GenSan deserves the said title since it has been the largest producer of canned and fresh tuna in the nation for four decades.

Tuna plays an essential part in both the economy and cuisine of the Philippines, from its economic benefits to being enjoyed in various dishes as a seafood staple – from traditional recipes to international exports. Sustainability efforts around tuna fishing must continue in order to protect this important marine resource for future generations.