The Spirit

We are familiar with the comments made by other nationalities that we are frivolous in celebrating Christmas season. Filipinos are known to have the longest celebration of this occasion.

We tend to decorate our houses with Christmas decors like lanterns, lights and trees from November or earlier than that. We change curtains and tablecloths with a Christmas theme on them on or before December.

We begin to plan for the Christmas menu many days before Christmas eve. Then we go  to a mall or a department store to buy the available goods which are affordable within our limited budget.

Both old people and the youth are used to give any kind of gifts to their family, friends, relatives and neighbors. In case there is no enough budget for these, recycled items or cooked foods are given instead. As long as there is something special one can give, it should be done whole-heartedly.

One hard reality existing in our nation is the absence of a loved one or two in the family. Due to unemployment and poverty being experienced by many, they are forced to work abroad and leave their families behind.

During Christmas holidays, these overseas contract workers would find a way to go home to be with their loved ones. They usually buy the quality goods for each of their loved ones and friends. Though they sacrifice much of their earnings for this festivity, they do not mind as long as they see them smiling and laughing.

On Christmas day, members of the family get busy with cooking special foods to share with everyone including relatives and neighbors who drop by for the occasion. Gifts and money are then given to either family members or godchildren who are used to receive them on that day.

Chats and laughter are the usual sounds of the day but music-loving Filipinos would make more sound by singing through videoke. They do not easily get tired in this and sing through the whole day if given a chance.

Christmas season for us Filipinos really begins on the sixteenth of December. We observe what we call “simbang-gabi” or a night mass which is actually a mass at dawn. Many devoted Catholics would go to their cathedrals or chapels to attend this.

Then it extends to New Year’s day and Three Kings’ day on the sixth of January. We still celebrate these important holidays especially the Catholics who are the predominant religious people in the Philippines.

With the same vigor and merriment, we continue to celebrate the blessed season in the same manner our great grandparents had done this.This is the spirit which binds us as one culture and one nation. This is the spirit which envelops and rests on us to move onward no matter what befalls.

 

Haunted

In middle age

Life’s thought to have freedom

Independence of decisions

Actions done in own volition

Accomplishments in line

Laurels on head held high

Celebrating friends nearby

Yet left alone

One’s moaning past returns

With wet eyes swelling

And wounded heart bleeding

Transforms you once more

Into a  torn helpless child

Then there’s a battle to win.

Goodbye

Smiling eyes through laughters

Laughing voice through free talks

Talking mind through touches

Touching eyes through passion-

Expressions of your self

Shown and shared to us all

Giggling as we admired

A warm uncle standing

Before us in wonder.

Now, you lay still so cold

In that well-crafted box

As our helpless hearts

Break and bleed.

We can only utter

Goodbye, again goodbye.

Pag-asa

For Pinoy readers and Tagalog- understanding non-Pinoys:

Pag-asa, sa Filipino. Hope, in English. Ito ang higit nating kailangan sa mga araw na ito. Sa kabila ng mga naririnig natin sa mga balita na gumaganda na ang ating ekonomiya, na ang ating bansa na ang ikalawa sa may pinakamabilis na paglago ng ekonomiya sa Southeast Asia, milyon-milyon pa rin ang nagdarahop at nagugutom araw-araw. Ilang libong kabataan pa rin ang walang masuot ng maayos, makain ng wasto at masustansiyang pagkain, at makapasok ng paaralan dahil kulang sa pananalapi o lubhang lugmok sa karalitaan.

Ayon sa isang open letter ng isang Koreana sa Facebook, may malawak na pagitan ang mga dukha at mga mayayaman sa ating bayan. Kung umaangat man ang ating ekonomiya, ilang porsiyento lamang ng mga Pinoy ang talagang nakikinabang o umaangat ang antas ng pamumuhay. Ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan ay patuloy na kumakayod at kumikita na tama lamang para sa pang araw-araw na pangangailangan. Hindi raw ganon sa bansa nila dahil gumagawa ang gobyerno nila ng mga hakbangin na napapalapit ang gap ng mga dukha at nakakaangat sa buhay.

Liban pa sa isyu ng ekonomiya at pananalapi, problema rin natin ang mga natural na kalamidad na malimit dumadaan sa ating bansa. Hanggang ngayon marami pa rin ang walang matirahan at hanap-buhay sa Visayan region dahil kay super typhoon Yolanda. May volcanic warnings, earthquake fears and flood dangers pa rin tayong hinaharap.

Marami pang problema tayong hinaharap tulad ng polusyon sa lupa, tubig at hangin na halos araw-araw na gumugulo sa atin. May trapikong nakakagambala sa araw-araw na pagbibiyahe papuntang opisina, eskwelahan, negosyo at iba pang lakarin meron tayo lalo na sa Kalakhang Manila.

Ang mga krimen ay patuloy na nagaganap araw-araw sa iba’t ibang dako ng Pilipinas lalo na sa Ka-Maynilaan. Nariyan ang murder, carnapping, kidnapping, drug trafficking, prostitution, pedophilia at iba pang uri ng pananamantala sa kapwa. Hindi rin ligtas ang pamilya sa iba’t ibang problema na araw-araw hinaharap natin.

Parent absenteeism, marital rape, incest, child abuse, teen-age pregnancy at kung ano-ano pang social problems na damay ang ating pamilya ang di natin halos magawan ng solusyon. Pakiramdam natin ay lumulubog na tayo sa kumunoy na walang mapaghihingian ng tulong.

Pilit nating pinapasan ng tahimik ang iba’t ibang mga suliranin sa loob at labas ng ating sarili. Tahimik tayong lumuluha at binabata ang mabigat na daigdig sa ating balikat. Parang wala ng sagot sa ating mga tanong sa buhay, wala ng solusyon sa lahat ng mga ito. Hindi natin kaya solusyonan ang maraming bagay.

Subalit kaibigan, meron laging pag-asa. Hindi man ngayon, hindi man agad-agad. Meron kang mahihingian ng tulong, ng lakas ng loob at direksyon sa mga dapat gawin para unti-unting matugunan ang iyong mga problema. Hindi lahat ng problema ay mawawala agad-agad ngunit may pag-asa.

Ang pag-asa ay isang positibong emosyon o isang positibong mentalidad na maaari nating tangkilikin sa ating mga puso’t isipan. Huwag nating pakakawalan ito lalo na sa mga oras na sagad na tayo sa mga problema. Panghawakan natin na laging may maganda o mabuting bagay ang naghihintay at nakalaan sa atin.

Ang pag-asa ay lalong pinatitibay kung tayo ay nananalig sa Maykapal. Tiwala tayong lagi Siyang nakaantabay sa atin, hinihintay lamang ang ating tawag ng tulong sa oras ng pangangailangan. Iniibig Niya tayo kaya nagagalak Siyang sumaklolo sa atin. Tiwala lang kaibigan!