It was 52 Christmases ago when a small department store located along Rizal Avenue in Manila thought of a creative gimmick to entice prospective shoppers to go to their store.
Without much funds to do advertisements on print and radio, Alex Rosario thought of putting up a belly dancer plaster doll which was fitted to the motor of an electric fan to make it move. It became a hit for his department store known as Manila C.O.D.
Who would have thought that this simple marketing strategy would be the beginning of what would become a well-loved Christmas tradition? Who would have foreseen that it would soon evolve into a tradition that has found its way to become a staple of Christmas in the city, a spectacle which has meant more to generations beyond what supposed to be Christmastime advertising?
From its humble beginnings in downtown Manila to its move to the then-booming Cubao commercial district in the 60’s, (which was part of Manila C.O.D.’s expansion at that time) the moving Christmas displays each year have endeared its way into the hearts of generations of those who saw them as the years went by. This urban roamer has some nostalgic recollections watching them as a child wondering if these figures are mechanical or are live actors on the stage located at the upper levels of the C.O.D. building.
While Manila C.O.D. has sadly ceased existence in 2002, it is heartening to know the tradition of the moving Christmas displays marches on, this time on its new home on top of the Greenhills Shopping Center, continuing the magic it has weaved over the years for future generations.
This year, the theme of the moving Christmas displays is about the first Christmas. I guess it’s a story we are all familiar with. Nevertheless, it is a timeless tale that never fails to inspire those who get to hear it.
A very blessed and merry Christmas to each and all!
additional sources: Inquirer
© The Urban Roamer