Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pasko (Christmas)



The Christmas season actually begins fairly early in the Philippines. I recall seeing homes with Christmas lights and decorations already up around October. With the heavy influence and presence of Catholicism in the Philippines, it is not a surprise that most Filipinos are overly enthusiastic about the Christian holiday. Although personally, I view Christmas as a time of giving and a time for family more than anything else. Festivities begin rather early. Actually, festivals in the Philippines occur year-round for a number of different occasions. The Subic Bay Christmas Festival in particular has been up since October and lasts until January. And I find such celebrations great as it promotes happiness among the people and also stimulates the local city economies.

Children and adults can be found carrolling along the roads in neighborhood subdivisions. Many homes, whether poor or rich, are brightly lit and colorfully decorated. The luminous and vibrant colors combine to make quite a sight. You can usually find people cooking and selling bibingkas and puto bumbong along the sides of the road near some churches during Simbang Gabi, or the dawn mass on the nine days preceding Christmas. And it's tradition to feast on all sorts of delicacies not only on the day of Christmas but also the days surrounding it. Fruit salad, halo-halo, crema de fruita, ube halaya (purple yam dessert), guinataan (dessert with coconut milk), and various kakanins (rice cakes) are some common Christmas time desserts. I prepared guinataang bilo-bilo for Christmas eve, which is for the most part coconut milk cooked with ground rice balls (bilo-bilo), tapioca, gabi and kamote (potato-like roots), langka (jackfruit), and coconut strings.

I spent most of Christmas day sitting and listening to various Christmas songs and "Songs from Home." Charles Brown's "Please Come Home for Christmas," Jose Mari Chan's "Christmas in Our Hearts," Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," Gary Valenciano's "Pasko na Sinta Ko," Freddie Aguilar's "Anak," and other songs played, taking me to different places and different times in my life. Clouds of emotions filled my chest and rose up, eventually swelling in my throat. Recollections soon rained down and flooded my mind, even though the sun was shining brightly outside. The reminiscent sounds had taken me away to the far-off reaches of my memories, where beautiful moments in time were rekindled once again. In songs that only lasted minutes, I experienced the everlasting joys and comfort as a child inside the nurturing embrace of my parents, relived years growing up as a young boy under their guidance and caring eyes, and felt their never-ending love that still embraces my heart as a young man today. It is this unconditional love that reminds us of timeless and unforgettable moments with the people we care most about. It is this unconditional love that causes powerful emotions that transcends understanding. It is this unconditional love that causes tears to suddenly fall without one's awareness and has us wishing we could go back in time to relive such undying memories together with our loved ones once again.

Barangay Camachile, Baraca, Subic, Zambales Pictures / Photos:


















21 comments:

Anonymous said...

David,
I feel you, man!
It must be tough being so far away from family. All for the glory of that one perfect coconut!!!

>Sigh<

Gary

SassyMe said...

Merry Christmas. May you find the peace and happiness you've been looking for in life.

Anonymous said...

Im glad your Xmas went well. More power to you David. Well thats all for now. Have a safe journey... :)

death_of_gabriel@yahoo.com

chantal said...

merry christmas to you :) I've seen the Subic Bay Christmas Festival, and it seems that they really are prepared. Did you call your parents?

Anonymous said...

merry christmas coconuter. :) - dante

Anonymous said...

so hard celebrating christmas with few people around you. especially in the absence of loved ones and when you're in the verge of hardships. reminiscence is your resort at times like this. which i believe will be one's foundation to be strong in facing future challenges.

Nhel Amable said...

Dear David Eric,

Belated Merry Christmas to you David and may the upcoming new year will give you a chance to experience how Filipinos celebrate the New Years eve with full of wishes & happines in their heart as they welcoming another challenging year. God Bless you on your endeavor. From Nhel Amable, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. E-mail: nelryamable@yahoo.com

len said...

Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year!!! Mas masaya pasko dito sa Pinas dahil maingay dahil maraming kamag-anak unlike in the US kasi sari sarili dun. Though may mga Pinoy communities, di rin ganong nakakatuwang pumunta dahil puro payabangan lang ang nangyayare. More power to you David!

dianne roselle said...

hi david! haay, mejo malungkot nga ang pasko kapag malayo ka sa pamilya mo.. pareho lang tayo ng sitwasyon.. pero alam ko naman magiging masaya ka kasama ng bagong pamilyang binuo mo.. u deserve to be happy.. ingat ka plagi..

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Dear. Hey David do me a little favor. When the audiotion for Pinoy Big Brother has already opened, try to join ok? Being on it is a one great way for you spread the word about coconuter...

Alyssa

Anonymous said...

This is based on what I understand from your article now, you have a hope and longingness that someday you will be with your parents and a sister together in one home, I'm not pretty sure if here in the Philippines or in the U.S.(you never mentioned about it). Because of the 'UNCONDITIONAL LOVE' which you repeated it 3 times, I strongly believe this will gonna happen. You will be in one home. Just hope for the best and trust.

Unconditional love of our parents is far outweight those any material things we got from them. From this we learned to love others unconditionally too. Always tell to your parents "I love you." without condition. Notice the period after the word 'you', there is a period after that word, not 'I love you because' there is a condition anymore. Just say as simple as is it, "I love you.".

God bless us all and may the spirit of love be with us all through the year of 2007.

almazanse(:

Anonymous said...

hi david

I just read your blog a week ago, I was amazed about your personality that put you in that good place. I just hope that we can meet sometime and i have so many questions to you. Im a IT student here in our place, and i want to exchange ideas about Information and communication technology. Hope we can talk and chit chat sometime in realtime,(hope so)(sa dami ba naman ngmemesage sayo mapapansin mo pa kaya to')lol. incase kuya, email me intuition_maker@yahoo.com. Great day!!

Anonymous said...

hi david, ive bin reading ur blog since the time i saw u on tv. ngyn lng me ngpost ng comment kc ngyn lng me ngkatym...hehe.niwey, i was really inspired by your story,ang galing mo!kaya mo yan!As long as nanjan Siya sa puso mo ay magagawa mo lahat ng gusto mo.By the way Maligayang Pasko nga pla sanyo.And advance hapi new yr nrin.:) sna mging healthy ang mggng baby nyo!:) - bibi

Anonymous said...

Fave ko yang kanta ni Gary V na Pasko na Sinta ko. Such a lonely song.

Anonymous said...

Nice read David! Here's hoping you'll have a more meaningful year ahead. May the good Lord continue to guide your journey through life. Happy New Year bro!

Anonymous said...

hi david. merry christmas and a happy new year to you.

lucky said...

hey david u are so amazing

Raul said...

heloo david,
Kaya mo yan. Matapang ka but gentle. I really do admire you. Sana makita mo iyong sinasabi mong dreams mo dyan sa Pinas. Pinaiyak mo ko sa story mo. Bihira ang katulad mo na may tapang na sundin ang sarili niyang decision. Someday, malalaman mo rin kung ano ang gusto mo sa buhay at makikita mo rin ang hinahanap mong dreams.

Pag wala ka ng pera dyan, mag-artista ka na lang, maraming susuporta sa iyo. Di ba? Tawa naman dyan.

Ingat ka lagi. You are in my prayers.

Goodluck and God bless you!

JAY said...

I feel you man! You put tears in my eyes. It's true that being away from your family is one of the hardest moments in our lives. I've been away from my family for quite awhile now, and when Christmas comes that's when I miss them the most. I miss our "Noche Buena" together exchanging of gifts and their laughters. I remember when I was still in the Philippines, my Dad and his friends used to play Christmas carols with their guitar and harmonica and everybody is singing along. I miss those days I really do.

Anonymous said...

Iba talaga ang Christmas sa Pinas... Alang katulad..

matet said...

maayong pasko!! :D gkan sa cebu

Post a Comment