MVA revives Christmas in the Marianas Illumination project


The Marianas Visitors Authority will be reviving its annual Christmas in the Marianas Illumination project this year after a two-year suspension as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MVA product development manager Tiana Reyes said the annual project—essentially a walk-through exhibit of lit-up Christmas-related sculptures—was put on hold for over two years because of COVID-19. However, MVA is set to bring it back this year starting on Dec. 1.

“This year, we are…going to create a walk-through light sculpture experience, for people to experience something different. During the pandemic, we were used to drive-throughs, but I think with the pandemic slowly fading away, we wanted to create a more in-person and immersive experience overall. We are aiming to light it up on Dec. 1, but work to be done starts as early as Nov. 1,” she said.

In a previous MVA board meeting, the board voted to approve the management’s request to allocate $200,000 to the project.

Reyes explained that the walk-through will mirror the layout of the annual Taste of the Marianas event and will be held at the Garapan Fishing base.

“The walk-through will be taking place closer to the clinic area and it’s going to be in a U shape. It won’t be like the biggest, but it will take that side of the Fishing Base toward the end and we’ll create the walk-through there,” Reyes said.

MVA anticipates the construction of at least 20 sculptures and they will all be symbols related to the Marianas like the mwar, the latte stone, and more.

Reyes said the project is a collaboration among MVA and other government agencies like the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Department of Public Lands, and more.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s too many obstacles we’re facing; it’s all a matter of a time crunch. So we are all working together to make sure that everything that we can take care of is done in a timely and efficient manner to make sure that it happens this year,” Reyes said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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