Christmas Village is lit up


A parent plays with a child at the Saipan Tribune installation, called “Upside Down Christmas,” at the lighting ceremony for the 2019 Christmas Village last Saturday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. (IVA MAURIN)

Christmas-themed installations ranging from a creation straight from Dr. Seuss’ Whoville, to an upside-down living room complete with a Christmas tree and fireplace, were lit up together last Friday at the lawn of the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe to kick off the 2019 Christmas Village displays and usher in the selfie-season.

Each of the 23 booths on display at the Christmas Village has a theme, from “Santa’s Candy Land”’ to “The North Pole,” from “DCCAVille” to “Navigating our Waters,” from “Flinstones” to “Upside Down Christmas.”

“Enjoy this Christmas Village, and thank you to each and every one of you who put together all your efforts, your time, your love, to put together this display,” said CNMI first lady Diann Torres, who started the Christmas Village through the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, and with Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios’ spouse, Wella S. Palacios.

The first lady also called for peace and the spreading of love across the CNMI, as the island continues to recover from the impacts that Super Typhoon Yutu brought to the islands. She also led the dedication of a lantern for all departed members of the community.

“Put love in your hearts. Be at peace. Send a message of peace in your community, in your home. One island… For those of you who have lost family members, I know it was so hard this year. We are dedicating this lantern for each and every member of our community that we have lost this year,” Torres said.

“We continue to pray for good health, love, and happiness throughout our community. I hope this is a start. For everyone here tonight, your families, your friends, and again, spread it throughout your homes, your schools, in your community, from one island in the next,” the first lady added.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios both thanked all the volunteers, local government offices, and private partners who helped build this year’s Christmas village, initiated by their wives, and encouraged tourists and locals alike, especially the children, to enjoy all the themed booths.

The tree lighting was led by Santa (Pat Arriola), Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto, with Miss Earth Leisha Deleon Guerrero.

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang even dressed up as a Lego character, and gamely posed for photos, at the Mayor’s Office’s “Minecraft Lego House” booth.

“This is a good thing for the community, and we did this for the children,” Apatang said. “This Christmas village is one of the most popular thing for the children, and this is good for them. It brings out the Christmas spirit, and I think they will really love this.”

Judging the Christmas village are Pacifica Insurance Underwriter Inc.’s Jacky Teregeyo, Sasamoto, and Saipan Chamber of Commerce executive director Maxine Laszlo. The winners will be announced on Dec. 16.

Master Sgt. Eugenio Ramirez and Lt. Col. Tate Buntz from U.S. Marine Corps also helped kick off the holiday celebration at the Christmas Village through Toys for Tots, where the community was asked to donate toys for underprivileged children, to make sure that every child would have a present for Christmas.

The Christmas village will be up throughout December.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at

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