Simple Christmas revelry

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013


THIS year's Christmas celebration will not be grand, what with the successive catastrophes that make it less festive for 2013.

But even during the most despairing of situations, Dabawenyos always have something up in their sleeves to celebrate the birth of Christ in the simplest way possible.

In Davao City, the spirit of Christmas thrives on with the "Pasko Fiesta".

The people of Davao welcomed the Yuletide season with "Dan-ag Dabaw," a lighting ceremony, on December 9, 2013 at the Rizal Park, which marked the opening of the month-long "Pasko Fiesta".

The Osmeña Park, Rizal Park, and Quezon Park now came with life as the Christmas decorations that adorned the trees and lined the pathways were all lighted up.

This has become a nightly attraction, drawing in a number of people who make their way to the City Hall just to have their photos taken with the historical edifice amid the crowd.

Joseph Manligis, 30, a street vendor, said this year is the saddest Christmas to date, especially with the recent super typhoon Yolanda that wrought havoc some regions in Central Visayas.

Earlier, there was also conflict in Zamboanga City that enveloped the residents there with fear; bombings in Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, and Davao City; and the earthquake that struck in Bohol and Cebu.

These call people to have a simple Christmas.

"Dapat dili lang imong sariling kalipay dapat tagaan pud nato sila og gamayng kalipay (We should also be considerate enough to also mind other's happiness, not only ours)," he said.

Manligis is peddling toys to the children visiting the parks, which has become his yearly routine when Christmas time comes nearer.

For him, "Pasko Fiesta" is almost complete, except for one that is missing -- the free carousel, which was put in place at the Rizal Park last year for the delight of the children.

"Nindot ang decorations, carousel na lang gyud ang kulang (The decorations are impressive, what's lacking is only the carousel)," he said.

Manligis said he and his family will hear the mass on the 25th of December. For them, that's the least they can do to sympathize with families who suffer in these trying times.

Even if most of the streets in downtown Davao are stripped of Christmas decors, Dabawenyos can at least feel the season of merrymaking with the activities in the "Pasko Fiesta," many of them are held at the Rizal Park.

Among the activities lined up for the month-long celebration are; the "12th RRD Elderlympics 2013," held from December 6 to 7; "Hulagway sa Pasko" (photography competition), which runs from December 6 to December 26; "Kasadya" (Barangay Competition) from December 7 to 18; "Hudyakaan," comprised of Foods and Crafts Fiesta from December 18 to 31, and "Tugtugan" from December 24, 28 to 30; and "Koro sa Pasko" (choir competition) from December 16 to 17.

Other activities include; "Siyan ka Kadlawon" on December 16 to 24; "Kadasig finals" on December 18; "Kasadya finals," comprised of Children and Youth Dance on December 19 and Adult Dance and Panayegon on December 20; "Kahayag" (Parolan sa Barangay finals) on December 20; "Banda Dasig"(street band competition) on December 22; "Dasig Sayaw" (cheerdance competition) on December 23; "Bituon sa Banag-Banag" (senior citizens search finals) on December 23; "Misa Dabawenyo"(prayer of harmony) on December 25; "Rodanlsayawit" on December 25; "Ganti't Pasalamat" on December 26 to 27; and Hundred Voice in Praise on January 1, 2014.

There will also be a Torotot Festival on December 31, which seeks to gather a total of 10,000 Dabawenyo torotot blowers, hoping to break Japan’s record of 6,900 in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Event organizers are also positioning Davao City as among the safest places in the Philippines to welcome New Year.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 18, 2013.

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