Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Magic

One of the saddest things about growing up as a child is coming to the age when one suddenly and disconcertingly realizes that much of what one has believed as wonderfully magical and enchantingly special about Christmas is actually mostly hype and largely sheer nonsense.

It is not only just about losing faith in Santa Claus, his elves, his reindeer and his flying sleigh and his squeezing of his corpulent bulk into tight chimneys on Christmas Eve.  It is not just about learning the hard way that Christmas is not really about pine trees with icicles, snow covered landscapes, white-capped mountains and Frosty the Snowman with his black top hat and all the other rubbish that seeks to implant in our Filipino culture and consciousness the ridiculous traditions and belief systems of cultures from far distant climes and locations.

It is not just even about having one's eyes being suddenly opened to the crass commercialization of the whole Christmas idea, the insidious propagation of the delusion that holiday happiness and festive cheer can be purchasable like most instant goodies prepackaged in a box and ready to be unleashed and used at one's choosing anytime and anywhere.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still Lucky

Note:  This post was supposed to be published last December 5 but mobile communication and internet services were cut off in the wake of Typhoon Pablo.  It took Smart Communications fourteen days to fix everything and restore internet connectivity to all of Lianga.


On the early morning of December 4, Typhoon Pablo (International name: Bopha) made landfall near the many remote coastal communities that rim the borders of the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces.  In the hours that followed it carved a wide swath of death and destruction inland which, in the frenzy of media reporting following the event, have seared the names of towns and villages like Cateel, Baganga and New Bataan into the national consciousness.

Lianga is only a little further north of the primary disaster zone and was spared the full brunt of Pablo's fury but even it got caught in the northern edge of the violent storm system and was still given a beating that locals will be remembering for many decades to come.

The southern and northern edges of the town where most of residential houses are built close to the seashore or are actually built on stilts over the high tide mark got the worst of it as gusting winds topping 170 kph caved in walls and ripped off roofs while huge waves made more savage by the double whammy of a storm surge on top of high tide seawater levels smashed the frail wooden structures into pieces forcing more than a hundred families to flee to safer ground, many of them escaping only with the clothes on their backs.