Early Christmas Gifts (And a Late Thank You Post)

I always look forward to Christmas when I was a child. It is the day to receive gifts and money from generous ninongs and ninangs, and aunts and uncles. Even my grandfather gives gifts to all of his grandchildren.

My ampao is full of money back then. I had new toys. I had new shirts. I even enjoyed the Christmas feast with my relatives. But things changed when I grew older. I’m now the giver instead of the recipient of the gifts.

That’s why I’m pleased when I received some unexpected gifts from my friends.

Mortar and pestle from Romblon

The first gift that I got came from the rocky island of Romblon. It is a mortar and pestle made of Romblon’s marble (marmol). I don’t know if my Beloved and I will use it in the future.

Souvenir from Romblon

Well, at least I already have a souvenir from Romblon even though I haven’t visited the place.

Another gift that I got came from a pro-life friend. It came from a more distant land.

Rosary from Bethlehem and necklace from the Sea of Galilee

It was a rosary from the birth-place of Jesus Christ and a necklace from a lake that is also connected to Him.

I also got an item from CD-R King during a Christmas party in the office. It is a very useful item, which allows me to charge my electronic devices on the go.

CDR King Solar Power Bank

A very good friend gave yummy mango float as her Christmas gift during my recent trip to Davao. Masarap gumawa ng mango float, pwede na mag-asawa. ;-)

Christmas message from a friend

The mango float is gone. What was left is her message.

But the best gift that I got this Christmas is...

2013 Nativity scene (Belen) of Binondo Church
Belen in Binondo Church.

...the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

No one can top this.

I just want to say: THANK YOU for all of the people who gave these Christmas presents. May the Lord bless you always and my you receive the best gift of all.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Nativity Scene

The Holy Child is here.


For all of my blogger friends who keep on visiting my blog and all the readers, MERRY CHRISTMAS to each and everyone of you.

May you receive Jesus Christ in your hearts.



Image Source: WikiCommons

Christmas Wonderland in the 3rd Kahayag Festival

I just returned from a very short visit to my Beloved's parents somewhere in Davao del Norte. It is a visit that I truly enjoyed, not only because of the good care that was given to me by my future-in-laws, but also because of the few places that we visited during the trip.

One of those places is the town of Carmen and their Kahayag Festival.

Kahayag Festival of Carmen, Davao del Norte

I didn't expect to see anything grand in Carmen. But I was glad that I was wrong. Lights filled the town plaza in front of the municipal hall.

Giant Christmas trees in Kahayag Festival
Towering Christmas trees of Carmen.

Kahayag Festival is a joint activity of the municipal government of Carmen and the private sector. Barangays of Carmen, schools and businesses in the town made their own Christmas trees, belens and lanterns. The result is a sight to behold.

Christmas trees in Kahayag Festival

It was my first time to see so many Christmas trees in one place!

I believe that Kahayag Festival is a good idea. People Carmen have something to enjoy every night at the plaza. The competition for the best Christmas decor brought out the creativity of the people and that’s another plus point.

One notable belen (Nativity scene) is this one, located in the middle of the plaza:

Belen in Kahayag Festival

The three kings are present. Mama Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are also present. Sheeps and a cow were there too. Everything seems normal until I saw an elf in Santa costume pumping water.

Mystery elf in nativity scene in Kahayag Festival

I didn’t know that there’s an elf when Jesus was born.

Kidding aside, the Christmas decors in Kahayag Festival looked great. Here are some Christmas “scenes” that I saw:

Swans in Kahayag Festival

Simbang gabi scene in Kahayag Festival

Belen entry of Sto. Nino Elementary School


Even Jose Rizal’s monument was well lighted. The national hero looks fab. :-P

Jose Rizal under lights in Kahayag Festival

We checked every Christmas tree in Kahayag Festival and the tree that got our vote is this tree:

Green Christmas tree in Kahayag Festival

And I think this is my best shot:

My best shot in Kahayag Festival

So if you are in Davao del Norte this Christmas Season, I suggest that you visit Kahayag Festival.

The giant Christmas trees and other decors are located in front of the municipal hall. It can be reached, from Davao City, by riding any Tagum-bound bus. Alight at Carmen bus terminal and the municipal hall is just a short walk away.

Let Us Not Forget the Yolanda and Earthquake Victims

Christmas  is a happy season. People think of shopping spree, plenty of parties and unlimited food. Who wouldn't want to be happy? It is the celebration of Jesus Christ's birthday anyway. It is natural to be so merry.

There is the tendency for the people to focus on the happy things this Season. All the negative vibes are placed to the sidelines because we are supposed to be merry. Sadly, one thing that was placed to the sidelines are the double tragedies that occurred in the Visayas region. It seems like that the people suddenly forget the plight of our kababayans affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda and Bohol earthquake starting December 1.

For instance, right now in the media it is the word war between Tacloban City Mayor and Romualdez and Mar “Palengkero” Roxas that is hogging the limelight. Last week, it is the bickering of two old politicians and earlier than that it is the fight between Pacquiao and the BIR that buried the Yolanda tragedy.

Mayor of Tacloban crying during Congressional hearing
The political teledrama is on.

I hope that I'm wrong. I hope that people are still helping, albeit silently, our kababayans in Visayas. I hope against hope that the Government is doing its responsibility to the people of Yolanda-hit and earthquake affected areas.

But the reality is bleak. Hoarding of relief goods is happening. Corrupt people sell relief goods that are intended for Yolanda victims. It is sad that some people used the tragedy as money generating scheme.

A friend of mine, who has siblings and relatives in Ormoc, informed me of the hardships that the citizens of that city are experiencing. People who are ill line up in a public hospital despite the fact that all the equipments and medicines were wiped out by the typhoon. As if to confirm Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez' report, my friend said that politicians only help those who voted for them. Tacloban is still stinking because of yet-to-be-recorded corpses.

Good thing that private individuals are working together to help Yolanda survivors. One example is the Oplan Trabaho that will be conducted to provide job for the survivors. What they're doing is good but not enough because the magnitude of destruction wrought by the two calamities. More people should answer the call and bring more aid.

Yolanda survivors still faithful to God
(Source: Inquirer Global Nation)

Yolanda victims are still firm on their Faith in the Lord. They are calling to Him amidst the destruction. And His answer to them will be their fellow-Filipinos who have the resources to help. God is asking us, calling us, to help.

Let us then answer this call. Let us not forget them especially this Christmas Season. As our Lord has said, “as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”


The source of the first image is InterAksyon.com

Frenzy Christmas Shopping in Divisoria

The Christmas Season is on. The people are frantic in shopping for gifts and Christmas decors. Divisoria, that area in Manila known for cheap products, are filled to the brim with these frantic shoppers.

Crowded Recto Avenue in Divisoria
People, people everywhere at Recto Avenue, Divisoria.

My Beloved and I are unfortunate because some of our suppliers for the wedding are located in Divisoria. We were forced to dive in Divisoria's sea of humanity everytime we visit the place.

Last week, we visited our mananahi for the second fitting of my Beloved's wedding gown. We took the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.

Earrings for sale in 168 Mall, Divisoria

My Beloved made the first buy. She bought earrings for her nieces and goddaughters in a stall in 168 Mall. Each earring costs 35 pesos but we got them in wholesale price of 20 pesos because we bought 7 pieces.

Cheap earring bought from Divisoria

The earrings are definitely cheap but they look elegant enough. I bet that my Beloved's nieces and goddaughters will like them.

Divisoria is the place to go to for cheap Christmas items. People know this that's why they flock to 168 Mall, 999 Mall and the streets of Divisoria. It is so crowded that I got irritated because we couldn't get a seat in McDonalds. We waited for a long time before we got a space to eat in that fastfood joint.

My Beloved enjoyed our many trips to Divisoria despite the crowd. There are so many things that she can buy cheaply. I think that Divisoria has the power to unleash the shopaholic tendencies of my Beloved. She always have something to bring home everytime we visit Divisoria.

Another item that she bought is a bag that costs 50 pesos.

Cheap bags for sale in Divisoria

Since we are going to Divisoria, my Mom asked us to buy a Christmas tree and Christmas lanterns. Well, we did what she commanded. We bought her Christmas trees and lanterns and of course some Christmas decors like balls and lights.

Christmas decors from Divisoria

The Christmas tree costs 350 pesos. The big balls are 100 pesos for 20 pieces while the small balls are 25 pesos for 12 pieces. 5-meter long LED Christmas lights costs 120 pesos. The star costs 25 pesos. All in all, we spent 620 pesos which is cheap especially if it is compared with the prices in the malls.

If your going to Divisoria to buy Christmas gifts, I suggest that you increase your patience because you will experience colliding with many people or will be crushed by the crowd or your feet trampled upon or talking to exhausted (ill-tempered) vendors.

Night market in Juan Luna Street, Divisoria

There is no respite even in the evening. Hordes of shoppers flock Divisoria for the night market.

Divisoria is so crowded this Christmas Season so be prepared when you go to Divisoria. Increase your patience, be alert to the pickpockets, hone your haggling skills and then dive to the sea of shoppers. Of course, don't forget to enjoy Christmas shopping in Divisoria.