CHRISTMAS is the time to be merry.
But for people struggling to feel the merriment amid the challenges of adulthood, it's a challenge.
Jigs, a freelancer for various online jobs, said that he used to look forward to every "Ber" month as it meant he could already feel the Christmas spirit.
But for this year, he decided to work on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
This would be the first Christmas he would be away from his family.
"I have to work on these special days because these days dakong sweldo ana nga adlaw," Jigs said in an online interview.
He admitted that celebrating Christmas this year is very hard for him and his family as this would be the first year they won't get to celebrate completely as a family. This, after his father passed away due to stroke this year.
"Medyo di pa nako feel nga mag-Pasko tungod sab nga di na namo kauban si papa. Wa pa ko naka-move on sa iyang pagpanaw," Jigs emotionally said.
But what keeps him away from the celebration mode is the bills and debt he had to pay following his father's passing.
His mother is also suffering from an undisclosed medical condition, and he is contributing to her medication and maintenance.
"Lisod mag-celebrate knowing na daghan kaayo ta'g ginapag-ipunan (It hard to celebrate knowing that you have several dues to be paid)," he said.
Anne Rizada, a business process outsourcing (BPO) worker for four years, also decided to work on Christmas Day.
Luckily, they were given the option to either work on Christmas or New Year's Day by their company.
Rizada always looked forward to every Christmas since she would be attending various parties and out-of-town road trips with her friends and family.
But things changed when she became a single mother.
"Nalahi ako Christmas spirit since nahimo kong inahan. Di man totally nawala. Medyo nausab ra since kinahanglan nimo magtrabaho para sa imong anak," Rizada said.
"My daughter is a blessing that's why I work non-stop to provide for her needs. It's hard since you're doing it all by yourself. Pero bisan pa mausab na ako pag-celebrate sa Pasko (But even if my celebration for Christmas changed) this year, I still thank God that he gave me a special blessing," she added.
Rizada would be far away from her family in Butuan City this year. Luckily, she would still be able to communicate with them through online.
Jigs and Rizada hold the same view that celebrating Christmas this year is quite difficult considering the rising prices of basic commodities.
"Usahay tungod sa kadaghan nako ginaisip na problema, makalimot ko usahay na Pasko na diay (Sometimes due to several problems occupying my mind, I forgot that it’s already Christmas)," he said. "Maka-miss tong times... Simple times nga wala pa ta gina-shoulder na responsibilities (I miss those times, simple times when we haven’t shouldered any responsibilities)."
Rizada, however, is still positive that whatever problems she may be facing right now, she believes it's only temporary.
"May gani karon kay makagawas na tang tanan. Dili parehas atong 2020 ug 2021 nga grabe ang restrictions ni Covid-19 ato nga panahon (It’s fortunate not that we all can go out, unlike in 2022 and 2021, where restrictions for Covid-19 were too stringent)," she said.
"Ingon sila Pasko kay para sa mga bata. Pero for us, struggling to make ends meet, mas dapat nato ma-appreciate ang essence sa (They say Christmas is for children, but for us, struggling to make ends meet, we should appreciate the essence of) Christmas, and that is everyday is a blessing, and we must celebrate it," she added. RGL