Thursday, December 09, 2010

When I think about Christmas, I think of home

There's no place like home, especially during Christmas.

It’s winter and cold. Christmas is different here in the US. I miss the warm Christmas back home.

In the Philippines, Christmas is the longest and most celebrated holiday.

I miss the Simbang Gabi which I used to go to with my childhood friends back in the province and with Reiner ever since we got together. We would wake up at the crack of dawn, braving the morning chill to go to church. This Simbang Gabi or pre-dawn Masses starts on December 16 and culminate in the Misa de Gallo on Christmas Eve. It was so much fun walking to church with the other church goers at dawn.

Christmas is very quiet here. I miss the carolers back home. Our Christmas in my country is not complete without music, and the season is celebrated by Filipinos through caroling. In every neighborhood, a group of kids would form together as amateur carolers and visit houses every night. Rae would gladly give them candies or as reward for singing Christmas songs. They even sang out of tune but that was ok. They were creative in using tin cans, plastic containers, and bamboos as their musical instruments. Now I miss the pleasing noise that these carolers made!

Now, we still share a sumptuous meal by twelve midnight on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena). But this doesn’t come anymore after the Misa de Gallo. As much as possible we still make our traditional hot “lugaw” or arroz caldo and a few more Filipino foods on our dining table. We still make it festive with the lighting of candles and the advent wreath.

This tradition is worth passing on to my children, and my children's children. The memory of Christmas – the family togetherness, the feasting, the gift-giving, the birth of the Christ Child that gives it all meaning – will linger in our hearts every Christmas time forever.
 
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By the way, do you want to help with our outreach project of gift giving this Holidays?
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Our students at Jefferson Middle School are donating books to their counterpart in the Philippines. We welcome sponsors for the boxes that need to be shipped. Please email me: solangala@yahoo.com. Thanks to all those who already emailed and called me to pledge their support. My aunt, Tita Neng, initiated this project and we are now extending this project to our DCPS community.

Here's how to help: How do I sponsor a box of books?

Here's our video:

video

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maria, I will help in any way that I can...as a retired teacher or as a friend. Tell me how to help.
Where are you on the weekends?
We could meet at a coffee house or a McDonald's or some place we can just sit for a few minutes and converse.

We will stay in touch and work for children...that's who I've always worked for.

Take care,
LA

Anonymous said...

From working with you, I know that you are different from the others. You use your special talents to serve the common good. You let your actions be motivated by commitment to charity and justice. You are compassionate, unselfish, kind, and considerate. Always be blessed.

pgcps pinoy teacher said...

I am with you, Marisol. Hang in there. There are many people behind you, not just in DC but also here in PG. We will pull this through.

Malaking tulong ito para sa ating mga kabataan na may malayong pangarap ngunit nahihirapan matupad dahil sa kahirapan. Maraming salamat sa mga gurong katulad mo, isang magandang ehemplo.

-PGCPS Pinoy Educator

Anonymous said...

Have you asked the Philippine Embassy how they can help with this efforts? I am amazed how you can turn a mishap into something good, and for the mishap there are people who will fight behind you. You are a generous, unselfish person, always walk the path of the righteous.

dcps retired teacher said...

How much per box of books?

I'll send out a request for donations to the retirees.

We will get together as soon as you are up to it!!!!

Take care of yourself...there is lots of work to be done but,
you have to be able to feel good, too.

Promethean Planet

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The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.

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