Monday, December 25, 2017

Travel in Taiwan 171225: A Merry Merry Christmas


A 30-story building that illuminates into a magical show, a Broadway-themed Christmas tree and free hugs for everyone. I only know one place on Earth where you can experience all of these. Taiwan! Wherever you go in the city during the month of December, you will always find a spot that will remind you of Christmas. That's right! The season of joy can be felt on this island.


Let's start first with Banqiao. This is the capital of New Taipei City. Every year the city hall grounds is turned into a Christmasland with a giant Christmas tree as its main attraction. In 2016, the festivity become grander with the introduction of a 3D projection show at the facade of the city hall building. So gone are the days that you only look at the tall sparkling tree to remind you of Christmas. Now, you just have to enjoy a five-minute show that will bring you to kaleidoscope-like world.


People had also been flocking to the footbridge near the city. hall A tunnel was created there out of blue Christmas lights. Going inside was like walking in a surreal world. Make a wish as you stroll in the tube but be considerate of other people because the place had been packed with visitors who also wants to enjoy the scenery.


Lonely this Christmas? No problem! Free hugs are available for everyone in Taipei. Around the corners of the shopping district in Xinyi District are people holding a placard with a sign “I'm here” or “Free hugs”. They come in groups and sometimes do a flash mob to the surprise of every visitor in Taipei's luxury shopping malls. Don't be shy to approach them. Remember that their hugs are free.


Still not happy in Taipei during Christmas and want to leave the country? Don't worry because Uni-President Mall prepared a New York-style holiday decorations that will make you feel that you're in the Big Apple without ever leaving Taiwan. Through its marketing campaign of “isharing”, the mall has been visited by locals and international tourists looking for a different kind of a Christmas concept.



Go to the second floor via the staircase and you will be surprised with its dazzling colors. A red stiletto heel will suddenly catch your attention. Its shiny appearance represents the glitz and glamour of a Broadway musical transformed into a set of Christmas decors. Continuing the climb, you will find yourself staring at a colorful Christmas tree. Get closer and you will find out that it contains numerous light bulbs that are used in a theatrical stage.


Some would say that Christmas in Taiwan is just for commercial purposes. Yes, it's true. It's all about Santa Claus, reindeers, gifts. It's difficult to find a Bethlehem scene in a mall because the number of Christians on this Asian country is very small compared to the Philippines. But visit churches and you will surely find that baby boy laid in a manger. The true meaning of Christmas that everybody should remember.


Spread the love this holiday season. Hug your loved ones in a sweet embrace. Tell them how much you care for them. Befriend your enemies. Forget all the sins that they have done to you. Make this world a better place to live in. Greet everyone a merry merry Christmas.

Maple Series


"My Beloved Taipei" Travel Series. Every Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Singapore/Philippine time)


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