Saturday, December 26, 2015

Banqiao (板橋) - 2015 Christmasland in New Taipei City (新北市歡樂耶誕城) [Taiwan Day 846: My Taiwanese Christmas - Dec. 25, 2015]



How does it feel to celebrate Christmas in Taiwan? Is it lonely or merry? Most Filipinos in Taiwan would prefer going back to the Philippines to be with their family. Some would just pretend to be happy in spite of being with friends. Living in Taiwan for more than two years and celebrating Christmas for the third time in this foreign land, Taiwan has gradually eliminated in my mind that Christmas is a “must be with the family” tradition. The island has its own way of celebrating the festive season and I celebrated it – the Taiwanese way.





I used to believe in Santa Claus when I was a kid until I discovered that my mom was the one putting toys, money and candy in the sock that I pinned on the wall of our home every Christmas Eve. Santa Claus does not exist at all! Haha! But on my 846th day in Taiwan, a Santa Claus came to my cubicle in the laboratory. He is not a fat guy wearing red clothes with a long white beard but he is an old man with an age of 73 years. He was my adviser and he treated me for a dinner in a restaurant in Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. 

I really don't know the reason why he gave me a free dinner but I just thought of it as a reward of being a hardworking PhD student. Not every student in Taiwan is given a loving, understanding and supportive adviser and I'm very thankful to the Lord for having such 'laoshi'. He listened to my various stories of adventures and misadventures in Taiwan during the dinner and he was even surprised that I've visited places like the salt mountain in Tainan, the historic town of Lukang in Changhua and the sea of flowers in Xinshe. He was like a grandfather to me and on Christmas Day he also became my Santa. So ladies and gentleman, Santa Claus do really exist! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Map of the 2015 New Taipei Christmas City

To get to the Christmas City, I boarded the MRT to Banqiao Station...
and walked to Exit 3 to reach the Station Front Plaza.

These Christmas lights welcome the visitors...
until everybody was surprised with the Banqiao Christmas Tree. 

3D mapping was done for this year's Christmas tree and notice how it changes colors for the next pictures below without the need for LED lights on the structure.











The base of the 3D Christmas tree was constructed at the basement of the Station Front Plaza and visitors can go upstairs to get nearer to it.








the 3D hourly show from the basement of the Station Front Plaza

The stairs to the ground floor.



the hourly 3D show


The Christmas tree was huge!

The base
The Christmas tree when no beam of light shines on it.


After the dinner, I went to Banqiao in New Taipei City were a giant Christmas Tree stands tall. The grounds of New Taipei City Hall was once again transformed into a Christmas City although I have noticed that the decorations this year were fewer compared to last year. The New Taipei City government might have prioritized investing in the 3D mapping of their giant Christmas tree. They hired an Australian company to create a lights and sound show for the visitors in Banqiao and I was satisfied with the 3D show that they created. Every 30 minutes Taiwan's highest Christmas tree transforms into a colorful mosaic of lights and sound.

at the grounds of New Taipei City Hall

 the Banqiao Christmass tree at the Station Front Plaza 




inflatable playland

the  long line for the inflatable playlan



the inflatable toy car


spaceship ride
Cartoon Network added fun to the New Taipei's Christmas City



Whereabouts of the Cartoon Network characters at 新板萬坪都會公園.  Just go to Exit 1 of MRT Banqiao Station to reach this place and expect something different each year on this park during the event of the Christmas City




How cute!

Young Taiwanese kids definitely enjoyed this year's' attractions because there were more rides to choose from. There was a mechanical hot air balloon, a carousel, inflatable toy cars, inflatable playland and a spaceship ride that will take them to the deep boundaries of the cosmos. Cartoon Network also joined the festivity in Banqiao as giant and colorful character inflatables decorated the park near the New Taipei City Hall. 



Some of the Christmas lights placed around the compound of New Taipei City Hall.


As usual there were colorful inflatable Christmas decorations like this Santa Claus.


Balloons!


There was also an igloo made up of recycled plastic bottles.



Just look at its dome.

The lagoon at 新板萬坪都會公園. Visitors can enter the walkway at Xinfu Road.


Many visitors wanted to get their selfies.



Merry Christmas!

One thing that I have observed this year in Banqiao was there were more people than last year. The hype of the giant 3D Christmas tree really attracted a large number of crowds. But Banqiao is not the only place where one can see Christmas decorations. The Xinyi Shopping District where Taipei 101 is located have holiday decorations to enjoy at while the Nangang Exhibition Center had a skating rink where people of all ages can hone their skating skills. Even the provinces in Southern Taiwan have set up their own Christmas village. The Christmas spirit was all over Taiwan in Dec. 25, 2015! I would never forget this day for it was my Taiwanese Christmas.

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