A cherished Filipino tradition

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By Fe San Juan Hidalgo

Citizen Fe

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


EVERY Filipino eagerly anticipated the tradition of going back to her/his old hometown come Christmas time. All bus stations and airports are crowded with families eager to see loved ones and celebrate life with them. After surviving a heart attack last February 14, 2011, my visit to my old hometown was unforgettable. Much love, joy, thanksgiving, reunion, and parties were the order of the season. My only daughter prepared her condo at Eastwood City in E. Rodriguez Avenue, Q.C. as my temporary residence and a place to relax for almost two months. From quiet Davao it was sort of a "culture shock" for me. I lived in the 9th storey, unit G of a 40- storey edifice called Eastwood Parkview Tower One. This city is found in "Libis" which years ago were the mountainous out-of-town area of Pasig where action film shootings were held. Now, it is a metropolis in itself. The first cybercenter in the country was built here. I coined a word for this designating the city of the future as the "ecumenopolis" an ultra modern city in my book, Sustainable Development of a Country.

Eastwood City has wonderful sights, some fourteen skyscrapers, hotels, condos, supermarts, banks, parks, promenades amusement and game facilities. They have the holiday season, there were fireworks displays every Saturday and Sunday climaxed with the famous "New Year Countdown Festival" with a 15-minute spectacular fireworks viewed from my condo's French windows. It was breathtaking. The Eastwood complex is owned and managed by the Megaworld Group of Companies.

From my condo, my daughter brought me to all scheduled family and kin reunions and anniversaries. My clan composed of my big family in Pasig gathered on Christmas Day and there I enjoyed with five generations of my family tree. At present, I am the eldest at age 82 and the youngest is a baby boy born to one of my numerous nieces on December 26, 2012. It took time to trace the family tree vividly. It starts with my parents born 1900 and 1910. We are seven siblings in the family. The second generation has 7 families; the 3rd has 7 families, too; the 4th has 14 families, and the 5th represented by 2 young great, great grandchildren. I had fun tracing them by name, sex, age, accomplishments, honors, and awards. Try doing this with your own family tree. Your filial love will be strengthened.

The most significant of the clan's celebrations this year is the golden wedding anniversary of my younger sister, on January 2, 2013. Mine was last August 26, 2012 but I had to celebrate it with my husband already in heaven. He died in 1999, Golden anniversary is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone. There was a grand, grand celebration with the renewal of the marriage vows and a banquet where the clan gathered once more.

One sister lives in San Pedro, Laguna. We drove to the province to celebrate on November 30 with them. Love, fun, foods, and reminiscences marked the day. There were "balikbayan" relatives to relish the feast. Yes, relatives from different parts of the world come back home for the reunions.

I had a reunion with my H.S. classmates class 1948 from our school in Pasig. Only 9 managed to come, all girls, 4 are widows, 2 still married, 1 in single blessedness. We are all in our '80s but still looking youthful and happy. This was a joyful reunion in spite of the dwindling attendance.

My immediate family is composed of eleven members only. The smallest in the clan. I have my only son, Francis, his wife Cecile managing their office Hidalgo Architects and their only daughter, Noelle, a scholar in Phil. Science High School, Davao. I live with them here in Davao. My only daughter, Hattie is married to Noli Pili. Hattie is with Eastwood as Sales Executive and Noli manages his trucking business. They have five children, 4 sons and, 1 daughter. Two sons are professionals and three are still in school. They live in Fairview, Q.C. We were together to greet New Year 2013 in our condo.

With all these happy events, my Davao family is alarmed because of typhoon Pablo and the damages it caused in Mindanao. The bright note, though, is our home is safe and the city being free from no fireworks, firecrackers and observing the gun ban, local decrees of past Mayor Duterte. In Metro Manila about 900 persons were victims of firecrackers incidents. There are victims of stray bullets. Garbage strewn everywhere after the New Year revelry is a perennial problem. When will our people understand the word, discipline and obey the laws concerning them.

January 6, 2013 we flew back home to Davao. We had still to reckon with the LPA ushering the second storm of the year. My holiday celebration year 2012 is one to remember and cherish. In the Philippines we have the longest period to celebrate from the first of September, the "ber" months to the feast of the Epiphany, January 6. I hope year, 2013 will be a peaceful and prosperous year for all of us notwithstanding the omen usually associated with the number 13. It is predicted that the year will be a progressive year for our country and its citizens. God bless us all.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 22, 2013.

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