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By Mahar Mangahas
In the fourth quarter of each year, Social Weather Stations surveys Filipino adults nationwide with the question, “Ang darating na taon ba ay inyong sasalubungin na may pag-asa o pangamba?” (“Will you meet the coming year with hope or with fear?”) Hope versus fear. The question is borrowed from Allensbach Institute, the pioneering German [...]
“Merry Christmas!” This is the greeting I have received most this season from people I met. Each time I hear those words, the more I love Christmas here in the Philippines. In this country, families gather in their homes to celebrate Christmas not for the food but to be with their loved ones.
Christine Joy Sarsosa, a “Yolanda” survivor from Leyte, turned 14 yesterday, in a tent shelter in Cebu City. By contemporary standards, it was an austere birthday and a bleak Christmas. Her aunt, a single mother of three, told Inquirer correspondent Carmel Loise Matus they would use the food packs distributed by donors as their noche buena, the traditional hearty meal Filipino families prepare on Christmas Eve. A simple meal at an evacuation center: This was what Christmas amounted to for the Sarsosa family—and tens of thousands of families affected by the major calamities that struck the country in the last four months of the year.
By Belinda A. Aquino
The old Liberty House in Honolulu, which has become Macy’s, was an iconic department store that was especially popular during the Christmas season.
In November, when the Vatican released “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), the first official “apostolic exhortation” by Pope Francis, the document immediately caused a sensation. In it, the Argentine Pontiff who had immediately won the hearts of people everywhere with his simple ways and caring words confirmed in writing that the change in tone and temperament he was bringing to the Catholic Church was not for show. He meant business, and he had very specific ideas about the changes he wanted to see in the Church.
By Ambeth R. Ocampo
When I think beyond carolers and inaanak collecting their gifts with the greeting “Maligayang Pasko,” I often wonder: How would we celebrate Christmas if Spain did not come to our shores in the 16th century? How different would Christmas be if Spain ceded the Philippines to Portugal in accordance with the 1493 papal bull Inter caetera that cut the world in half like an orange, and provided Spain and Portugal with rights over areas of the world unknown to them that each would “discover”? (The Philippines lay on the Portuguese side of the world.)
By Michael L. Tan
Some time back I wrote about how difficult it seems to translate “Silent Night” into Filipino or other local languages because Christmas in the Philippines is always so festive, filled with fanfare, and rarely, well, silent.
By Rina Jimenez-David
Christmas is always special, but this year’s celebration will be extra special because, at least for my family, it will be a homecoming of sorts.
By Conrado de Quiros
It was a minor story on TV a few weeks ago. A 7-year-old boy thought of giving away the gifts he got that day, his birthday, to the kids in Tacloban. Not all of them were toys, some were useful items. But whatever they were, he figured the kids of Tacloban had a better use for them. It was a nice gesture and gave off a nice glow.
By John Nery
Before you listen to tonight’s Christmas Eve homily, you may want to prepare for the ordeal with the following joke. “We know… that both [the faithful] and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them!”
By Juan L. Mercado
“Raul” tops our Christmas Eve checklist. He’s a 55-year-old who collects empty bottles and scrap for a living. He looks 80 from having had one “altanghap” too many. That’s jargon for almusal (breakfast), tanghalian (lunch) and hapunan(dinner) crammed into one meal.
By Rina Jimenez-David
It’s enough to make you cry. When they paid a visit to Tacloban, about two weeks after the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” “macho men” Manny Pacquiao and Chavit Singson broke down in tears, related Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.