Saturday, 17th February 2018


Capiceños observe Christmas, New Year after Yolanda

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Ralph John Mijares

By Ralph John Mijares




Despite the devastation of Supertyphoon Yolanda in the province of Capiz, life goes on for Capiceños.

It is not reasonable for them to stop celebrating Christmas and New Year.

“Christmas is Christmas. It must go on,” Jaybrielle Gallegos said, seeing the destruction brought by the disaster as a blessing in disguise.

“It make[s] us stronger. I treat it as a challenge and doon ko nalaman on how strong I am [sic]. (It makes us stronger. I treat it as a challenge. That’s when I found out how strong I am)”, he said. Gallegos also said that it made him appreciate the value of life.

“For better or worse, celebrate gihapon Christmas [sic] (For better or for worse, we must still celebrate Christmas)”, Mira Loyola Florentino says.

For Florentino, “It’s still time for family gatherings and reunion. Go for traditional Christmas Eve Mass and after that kainan, bisan ang handa not the same as last year. Still [the] spirit of Christmas [indi] matawaran. (Still, it is time for family gatherings and reunions. I still go to the traditional Christmas Eve Mass. And after that, have noche buena even if the food is not the same as last year. Still, nothing compares to the spirit of Christmas).”

For Maria Geraldine E. Elizares-Isip, “We celebrated it simply. We attended Mass then ate and opened gifts. [I am] hoping that my family back home in Dao, may handa sila tanan miskan simple din. (I am hoping that my family back home in Dao had noche buena—all of them celebrated; even a simple feast would do).”

For Kizelle Calicdan, the disaster would not stop people from celebrating but it is not as enjoyable as it was in the past. “Pero syempre indi kasing-sadya like before kay ang iban, kulang na ang pamilya kay may mga napatay kag wasak balay. Wala pang handa [sa noche Buena] (But of course, it is not as fun like before because some lost their relatives and their homes to the typhoon. They also don’t have feast on Christmas Eve).”

“The Christmas spirit lives on because of the Filipino’s resiliency. But still the spirit of Christmas indi gid na madula. Filipinos are strong enough even though wala kwarta. Masadya gihapon sila. They keep smiling [sic] (But the spirit of Christmas is still there. Filipinos are strong enough even if they don’t have money. They are still happy and smiling).”

For Calicdan, while the calamity serves as a challenge for the people to strengthen their faith, New Year is a chance to move forward.

Calicdan who is now pursuing her studies in Australia, said that Yolanda victims are not alone in facing the challenges: Even the Filipinos here abroad are still thinking about those who were affected by the typhoon. Even the people here gahatag gihapon sang mga donations nila (Even the people here also give their donations).”

Some of them shared what the real meaning of Christmas.

“Christmas is not only about gifts. It’s about the birth of our Savior and giving love to others,” Calicdan said.

For John Andrew Gayamat, “Ara man na sa tawo kung mapa-apekto ka sa natabo. Ang pag celebrar sang paskwa, indi lang na sa ginabutang ta sa lamesa. Indi lang na sa regalo nga mabaton ta. Ang paskwa ara gid na sa aton tagipusuon, ara ina sa aton pamilya kung sa diin kita ga celebrar sang kapanganakan sang aton Ginuo nga ululupod kita. Amo man sa pag celebrar ta sang bagong tuig.

(It depends on the people if they will let the typhoon’s devastation destroy them as well. The celebration of Christmas is not about the food on the table and the gifts we receive. It is in our hearts and our families. It is about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The same goes with the New Year).”

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