AS CHRISTENDOM greets the advent of December for the blessings, joy and hope it brings, our elderly cabalen look forward to two Yuletide events. One is the symbolic gift-giving courtesy of Pagcor under the chairmanship of our very own Andrea Domingo which was held last December 8 at the Pampanga High School Auditorium. The other is the Christmas party on December 20 to be held at the SM Pampanga Event Center free of charge. See you there!
By the way, I wish to express my gratitude to SM Patriarch Henry Sy for his kindness way back in 1964 when I had the privilege to shine his shoes as a booth black combing Chinatown’s neighborhood, including Carriedo and Binondo Streets. The cost of shine, then, was P.10 for a pair of shoes.
Sir Henry usually gives me P.30 for regularly polishing his two pairs of black shoes on Saturdays at his Shoemart Carriedo. At that time, I was a freshman in the College of Business at the University of the East-Recto at which doorsteps the First Quarter Storm later sizzled to topple a Conjugal Dictatorship. Surely, the patronage of Sir Henry and other Ongpin-based parkianos helped me weather the most trying chapter of my educational ambition.
Anyway, last year’s Christmas Party was graced by former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Also in attendance were provincial officials headed by Governor Lilia “Nanay” Pineda, Senior Citizens Partylist representative Francisco Datol and UPSCO adviser Madam Leira “Ate Lei” Buan, who was at that time the Deputy Secretary-General of HUDCC. On the spiritual dimension, Archbishop Paciano ‘Apu Ceto’ Aniceto officiated in the Holy Mass that preceded the formal opening of the golden Christmas affair.
I have yet to see the programme for this year’s affair. But certainly our senior cabalen will be most elated should the same honored guests will again deliver personally their Christmas greetings and messages, especially with regards to new welfare benefits for the elderlies.
Oh yes! The most coveted highlights of the celebration are the renditions that relive old Pampanga kundiman folksongs and poesiasreminiscent of our own home-grown poeta laureada Crisostomo Soto. Of course, the all-season adrenalin-booster tango and cha-cha tandems with their long dips and graceful swirls could certainly send moviedom’s icons Leopoldo Salcedo and Chiquito roll in the resting haven.
But make no mistake about it. Like last year’s get-together, there will be a sprinkling of modern dances that could give millennials a run for their money. I mean the gyrating hips, flexing limbs and sensual midsection will be there for the eyes to behold. With that stamina and adaptability who wants to be young again!
Yet, what makes this golden rejoicing deeply significant is the innate solicitude for genuine social justice amidst massive poverty. That is to say the equitable enjoyment by every Filipino over the fruits of our nation’s patrimony. And our senior citizens feel that they can best share their remaining years towards the realization of this vision if the long overdue working edifice for the Federation of Senior Citizens of Pampanga will soon be constructed. Together with the operation of the National Senior Citizens Commission as assured by Congressman Datol, such working edifice as envisaged under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 can effectively harness the wisdom, experience and patriotism of golden age towards nation-building.
May this Holiday Season summons the sense of duty and responsibility of our concerned public officials for causing the concretization of such vital infrastructure and social institution for the benefit of senior citizens, especially our elderly cabalen. When this happens, the years of whispering hope will become dream come true. Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019.