By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy
It is over a year since I visited the world-renowned Campuestohan Highland Resort in Talisay City. I decided to go there when a friend showed me a video with snow falling in the famous resort and with people enjoying their first White Christmas. There was no report of snowfall in Negros, so this one in Campuestohan must be another attraction.
Last Sunday we went there and as usual, the resort was teeming with people. Parking was better because the resort has opened a large space for vehicles in a nearby lot, although the early comers got the best space inside the resort.
The Christmas holiday season was apparent with a huge greeting along the floating bridge, but the giant King Kong dominated the scene. He was dressed in a Santa Claus attire and appropriately named “Santa Kong”.
Below the giant is the Christmas Village, I think the first time that one was established there. People flocked and posed with Santa Klaus and the other mascots of Campuestohan.
The village has a complete set of reindeers pulling its load of gifts. The Santa mascot danced with the children and adults as“snow” was falling. Well, the snow was artificial as in the movies but looked real enough. People showered in the snow. There were two snowmakers to really create the right atmosphere and thrill.
Every time I go there, I am amazed at the new attractions. There are now eight swimming pools: three of them large and two wave pools which are the favorites of the visitors. Above one of the latest pools are five water slides, I think the highest in this island because they go up to over five or six levels.
In another pool, there is a huge snake that served as another water slide. One had to get inside the tail, slide down its curling body and come out of the snake’s head and into the pool.
Above the pools are large pails that when filled flip on one side and dump large volumes of water onto people within the pool. This one I loved to watch because of the thrill once the water hit the swimmers.
I wrote before of the prehistoric giants that tower over the resort. Now there is an addition, this time not prehistoric but very current. At first, under a bridge, I saw a crocodile and giant crabs. I thought the croc was small until I saw three giant crocodiles, one of which was on land. This one had a hollow backside which was made into a bench. People loved to get their photos sitting in the crocodile.
A lot of things came to mind about seeing the small and large crocodiles, but I put them away for the sake of the Christmas atmosphere that Campuestohan has created for this season.
There are plenty of Christmas figures all over the place, even the nooks and corners have something from the children’s books but presented differently. A cow, for instance, is multi-colored and the monkeys and the bears had taken the horse’s place for the ride. Children loved riding on a monkey as they would a pony.
It was not yet finished but there is a life-size Nativity Scene depicted differently. We are accustomed to the Belen of the Holy Family under thatched roof, inside a cave or just plain table. But the one Campuestohan is making depicts a huge angel whose wings cover the Child Jesus and His parents.
It is an incredible sight even if yet unfinished and sends a new message of the heavenly protection of the Holy Family with the Wise Men and shepherds beside them. The farm animals are there but I think other figures will be added. What is significant is that Campuestohan had placed the Nativity Scene at the heart of the resort for this season rather than the secular and non-biblical Christmas tree.
I believe this highly decorated tree and Santa Claus are inadequate to represent Christmas. The essence of Christmas is Jesus in the manger with His parents. Without Jesus can there be true Christmas?
I am glad that the Christmas Village and its unique attraction are separated from the Nativity Scene. The exciting falling snow should add, not distract people from the true spirit of Christmas.