ArchivesDecember 2010Dgte Christmas House becomes Emerald City

Dgte Christmas House becomes Emerald City


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Imagination is certainly something the camera-shy Dr. Rico Absin has a lot of.

For the last 22 years, people from Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental (to include some visitors from other parts of the world) would come see his imagination come to life in his barangay Piapi mansion every Christmas time.{{more}}

First-time visitors can easily tell they’ve found the right house because of the many people milling outside the fence to gawk at his brightly-lit home, which locals now call the Dumaguete Christmas House.

From a distance, one can easily make out the lighted outline of Santa Claus being pulled by his nine reindeer–Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donder, Blitzen, Cupid, and Comet — atop the dazzling mansion where Absin lives all by himself.

These decorations, along with thousands of other bright and colored lights and Christmas trees, fill Absin’s house every Christmas season.

“I actually start decorating in September,” Absin, a practicing anesthesiologist at the Silliman Medical Center, says, although the lights are switched on only in December.

He spends the entire year buying decorations to add to his existing collection. Whenever he is in Manila, Absin never misses the chance to visit the Dapitan Arcade, which sells Christmas decorations as early as February, SM, and the shops in Divisoria and Binondo.

Each Christmas brings out a new theme. He once transformed his place into a castle where the likes of Cinderella, Snow White, and other fairy tale creatures, came to life.

For this year, Absin has converted his home into the Emerald City, inspired by the 1939 American musical fantasy film Wizard of Oz. “We’ll be playing songs like Somewhere over the Rainbow, If I were King of the Forest, and other favorites,” Absin announced.

He is rushing a replica of Wizard of Oz star character Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which will be prominently displayed at the center of his elaborately-decorated dining table, where his antique silverware are laid out for a feast, complete with the names of guests and the menu on each plate.

For this replica of one of the world’s most expensive pair of shoes, Dr. Absin is having a pair of his late mother’s shoes wrapped in sequins. “My mother left so many shoes that I’m now thinking of just displaying them altogether,” he said.

While Absin loves seeing people enjoy the beautiful decorations which also fill every room of his home, he prefers to occasionally disappear from view. “I hide. I don’t want my guests to be intimidated by my presence,” he says.

With his expanding collection, Absin now finds it necessary to employ more people to ensure that the decorations are maintained. For this, he has 15 workers who get paid out of the minimum entrance fee at the gate.

But aside from admiring the decorations they may never get to see in their own homes, children get a special treat on Christmas Day.

“I’m ordering 500 McDonald’s breakfast packs for the children, on top of some donated toys and gift items such as bags and pencils.

The breakfast is partly sponsored by fund-raising dinners arranged by Absin’s friends.

Indeed, as more friends and donors get involved in this project, the Dumaguete Christmas House tradition could only get bigger with each year. “It’s tedious but it’s fun,” Absin says, “and the people of Dumaguete look forward to this.”

For pictures of Dr. Absin’s Christmas House, click here.

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