It's November in Lianga and it cannot be denied that there is indeed the smell of Christmas in the air.
One can smell it in the crispness of the chilly early morning air before the searing heat of the day comes and in the occasional breath of cool wind that flows down from the mountains in the late afternoon and early evenings.
These also a certain sense of urgency that one can pick up as one goes around the town. That sense of nostalgia that conjures up happy images and memories of Christmases past.
That the times now are difficult is clear and unequivocal but there is something in the coming holidays that conjures up the best and the most generous in the human heart. Perhaps as the year dies and the seasons grow cold, as they are supposed to do, man returns with a longing to the themes of family, home and hearth. And in the case of the Filipino, that means not only the immediate family but the members of the clan, close friends and acquaintances.
There is also a special remembrance for those family members gone and those in far away places, whose absence will greatly missed.
There are many who say that Christmas is only for kids and the young. That may be so but I still look forward to the Yuletide holidays with no small anticipation. One can disdain the shallow materialism and commercialization of the original Christmas spirit. But despite that, it is still really about family and friends. For that reason alone, I will continue to celebrate it.