Thursday, December 24, 2009
Before I got married, I spent all my Christmases either in Sagada or in a remote barangay of Tabuk, the the capital of what was then known as Kalinga-Apayao. But, I can only remember one Christmas spent in Tabuk, whereas almost 99% of my Christmas memories have Sagada as its setting. Knowingly or unknowingly, our folks have raised us to treasure Christmas and have a sense of tradition around it. Because of this, I am now trying to do the same with my children as well. I’m listing my fondest Christmas memories in Sagada as they appear on my mind:
- Decorating a tree. It was a real pine tree that we chose for the house and we would make it stand in a can filled with stones, not an easy task.
- Decorating our rooms at school. During the later years in elementary school, a group of students would be assigned a corner of the room to decorate. The class would have a maguey tree for its Christmas tree and we’d decorate it with classroom-made decors.
- Attending the community program at the basketball court on Christmas Eve.
- Singing with the choir at the church. I attended Christmas morning service before high school but I was allowed to attend the Christmas Eve service around high school. When the collegians come home for the holidays, the singing goes to a new level. “Glo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria, in excelsis dey-ey-oooo!” is sang in four very distinct voices by the whole congregation.
- Going home after the midnight mass and eating a slice of lemon pie / chocolate cake.
- The very, very cold Sagada weather especially when going home after midnight mass. During my teen years, it wouldn’t be that cold especially when I was tipsy from an earlier drinking session.
- Opening our presents on Christmas morn. Unlike my children and most other children here in the US, we were very happy with just one gift. We’d be ecstatic with two.
- My grandfather’s grapefruit breakfast. Choosing the juiciest grapefruit is part of the fun. Not sure how many other families can relate to that.
- The cakes and pies my aunt, my cousins, and my sisters bake. The Sagada fruit salad is found nowhere else.
- Preparing for the Christmas Eve and Christmas lunch meals. The kitchen was always busy.
- Inviting friends and relatives over for Christmas lunch. I wasn’t really that fond for the dish washing that would be assigned to me after the meal.
This blog wishes you and your family a Merry, Merry Christmas.