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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Peña: Christmas 2100

IT'S a dark Christmas day. The air is filled with the usual smog. Solar and wind powered decorative lights are hardly unrecognizable amidst the thick smoke. With near zero visibility, Santa Claus will almost surely get lost without his radar-equipped sleigh. Reindeers are now extinct but he named his jet-powered sleigh Rudolph, in memory of the ancient animal.

Billions of Filipinos had their Misa de Gallo via the internet. It is dangerous to go out in the open and breathe the dirty air. Besides, the huge population can no longer be accommodated in Church buildings. And another thing, it’s an awful sight to see people in gas masks hearing mass. How can they join in the singing? For this reason too, Caroling is only via the internet.

For Noche Buena, laboratory-grown chicken meat and synthetic rice are served for this special occasion. A break from the usual multi-flavored food pills. This time of the year too, the ration of bottled water, recycled from the town’s wastewater plant, is doubled. No chocolates and candies for children, since sugar cane and cacao trees have been erased forever from the planet.

Pictures of bibingka, puto bumbong, kalamay and suman bulagta are constantly flashed in TV screens, cable and internet. The government wants to remind the nation about the old Filipino tradition of celebrating Christmas. It’s unfortunate that there are no more coconut trees to produce these native delicacies.

The main attraction at the Malacañang palace is the lighting of a Christmas tree in the middle of the garden. It’s a big event, since the tree they used is one of only ten surviving species around the world. There are no more plastic Christmas trees. Oil, the raw material for plastic, has run out decades ago.

At the Philippine Museum, a bamboo lantern which was recently bought by the government from a private collector at P20 billion, will be lighted for 1 hour under heavy security. The President has agreed to show this national treasure to the public to add cheers to the holidays.

Meanwhile, the old tradition of giving aguinaldo to inaanak is still alive. The sad thing though is that ninong and inaanak hardly meet after the drive-through baptism ceremony. So ninongs and ninangs make sure that this time of the year they visit their inaanak’s website to send their aguinaldo.

Christmas is for the children, so they say centuries ago. Thus children look forward to this day for the annual replacement of their wash-free, all weather clothes. Demand for recycled synthetic fiber has soared tremendously due to the depletion of all the earth’s minerals. The invention of the all purpose cloth was a welcome relief especially to middle class families.

In the United States, children and adults alike brave the smoggy air to build figures of snow man from sand and rocks. Snow has ceased falling about 20 years ago due to global warming. It’s a cold Christmas alright, but not enough to form ice. Ski lovers now have to line up in resorts and pay a fortune for artificial snow.

Oh by the way, the American flag has recently been redesigned to have 49 stars since the State of Hawaii has been erased from the map. Melting glaciers, also an effect of global warming, have caused sea level to rise by 50 feet. This phenomenon has also reduced the Philippine’s 7,100 islands to just 4,024.

This is Christmas 2100. Had mankind heeded the true spirit of Christmas long time ago, the celebration should have been merrier. Tsk…tsk...tsk…
(This column came out in 2013. I am having it reprinted as a reminder that we should take care of our environment before it’s too late. Merry Christmas!)

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