It took Frances Quilban, a businesswoman, three months to furnish her newly acquired property in 2015 with things she has sentimental attachments to… that of Christmas ornaments from the smallest to the biggest.
Lavish decorations of dazzling Yuletide displays adorn every nook and cranny of her vast sprawling house which she decided to open to the public last year. Dubbed as Roseville Christmas Mansion, it was named after the subdivision it is securely nestled within. In fact, villagers are the most helpful in showing us the way as we drove into dark alleys with no clue to its location, and with only the Google Map apps on our mobile phone to guide us.
Until we saw the bright lights from the rooftops.
Squealing with glee, my companions and I were ushered inside a parking area where we can clearly see its elevated level, and a fascinating view of the village lights below. This includes the nearby international airport, and a scheduled appearance of giant planes whizzing above in direct path to the takeoffs and landings of busy airplanes.
Visiting from one room to another, the place was like a blast of Christmas and sudden nostalgia of your childhood, believing that Santa is just in the next corner, waiting with his Ho Ho Hos. I could not count how many Santa dolls there were, but I was told they put up more than thirty giant Christmas trees all around. These includes miniature villages on a large table setup, with mechanical toys moving about, and a choo choo train doing its rounds.
We chanced upon the owner in the kitchen, who was cheerfully huddled with her sister-in-law Susan, and nephew Bryan Andrew Moscoso, who takes care of all the electric lights. They could not even sit on the sala, where visitors were enjoying selfie moments in the sofas.
Amiable and simple, she confessed to having sleepless nights because visitors stay up late beyond the closing time which was 10pm. Their mother, aged 81, was still up busy collecting fees at the entrance (P30 for adults, P20 for kids). Although reluctant, she needed to charge from last year’s free entrance because she added more staff this year, numbering to 18.
Our spur of the moment visit ended up in more than an hour’s stay as Ms. Frances and Susan personally toured us around and told anecdotes about dealing with opening this place to the public. I suggested food and drinks kiosk or a café will be a good addition. Even the guest rooms are spacious, and brightly adorned.
As we are both dog owners, she introduced us to her Chows, which she named after important people in her life… namely, Susan, Digong, Baste, Inday Sara, and Pulong, among others. Clearly, we know whom she loyally supported during the election.
We finally went out of the property at around 10 in the evening, filled with the high spirits of Christmas in November, and vowing to come back with friends. The only other museum I have gone to with just about the same amount of overwhelming season’s greetings was in Bacolod’s Dizon-Ramos Museum, filled with miniatures villages and Santas of different shapes, sizes and ethnicity.
Visiting this fantasyland was a stress relieving moment for my sister Karen and buddy Joyce Mariscal, even if we almost got lost too. Now that my annual visits to past displays in Coca-Cola Ulas Plant (it was a big event in my childhood days) and Mana are gone, the Roseville Christmas Mansion is a piece of heaven slated to be the next iconic must visit place in Davao City.
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