Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Carolers

The Carolers
(click image to enlarge)

It was Saturday, the 13th. I arrived, with my husband, at my cousin's place half an hour early. In fact, we were there an hour and a half early. The carolers I was told were to be there at 3:00 PM; they, however, called to let the hosts know that they will be there at 4:00 PM. To pass the time away, I helped my cousin's wife set up the buffet. She works full time as a nurse, and did not have the time to prepare all the food. To make it easy for her she ordered most of them, and they were all in styro containers. I put them in platters, bowls and trays. We shoved some in the oven to keep them warm while we waited for the group to arrive.

A little past 4:00 PM they came in droves. Some were lost on the way to her house and they were really late. We had dinner before the group began their caroling concert. As usual we had lumpia, pansit, steamed shrimps (which the hostess cooked), roast beef (cooked by her niece), puto, fruit salad, cake (2 kinds), ham, and more. It was a feast. When every one had their fill, the performers lined up in the living room and sang their songs. They had a short skit before their last song. It was a good performance by all of the members - young and old alike.

There was one song that almost brought me to tears. I tried so hard to hold back my tears. "Silent Night" tugged at my heart; it brought me back home, back to the old country where Christmas was always felt wherever we were.

I remember the celebration of this Holiday back there...back in the Philippines. Preparations were made way ahead of time, some do it months ahead. Those, of course, are the people who are well prepared, well organized. Unlike me, I am a procrastinator, and I always do my Christmas shopping at the 11th hour. So I brave the crowd at the department stores; the traffic jams; the pickpockets; the din and cacophony of the big city. Better be prepared even at the last minute, otherwise, the nieces, nephews, and godchildren will be disappointed.

The day comes, right after the masses, they come in droves. The godchildren dressed in their Sunday's best to pay a visit to their godmothers and godfathers expecting a present from each of them. At that point the streets would be filled with these children, coming and going. It would be like a fiesta.

Then at the end of the day, all the wrapped presents have all been handed out and that's when I flop on a chair and say, "Whew, thank God it's all over."

Not really. It would not be over until after having Christmas dinner with all the members of my family: my mom, my brother, his brood of six children and his lovely wife. That's Christmas back home, and I missed that and I missed all of them...my family.


ev said...

when was your last visit here in the Philippines? I wish you can come back someday for a visit Mari. Christmas in our country is really a lot special esp. when you see your entire family celebrating the holiday together. But it's good though that you also have your counsins there, somehow you'll less feel the homesickness by having their presence.

happy holidays Mari and to your family!take care!:)

Nance said...

Christmas is my favorite holiday but at the same time it makes me sad because I longed for those happy memories with my parents (deceased) and siblings. "I'll
Be Home for Christmas" is one that gives me lump in my throat.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mari!

niar said...

dear Marry,
christmas less than ten days, and I can feel what you felt. I hope that this chrismas can give you a happiness.I'm grateful if in that day you can celebrate with your family in Philippines, but if you cant meet them, you can make that day so special by celebrate it with your close friends and grateful with everything that God has granted to you in this year...may happiness always follow you

Photo Cache said...

we all miss someone or something during this time. i miss the way we celebrate christmas in the philippines. :(

Nona said...

This is the holiday season where most of us were looking forward to be with our family back home.It's always fun sharing the big table with them, our traditional holiday feast. Couldn't wait to get back and hear those children caroling in our house.
Merry Christmas Mari,wishing you all the best! *hugs*

Dennis Villegas said...

I can feel your homesickness, Mari. Iba talaga pag nasa sarili kang bansa lalo na ngayong Pasko. Haaay. I will post some images in my blog later so all Pinoys abroad can also feel the Philippine Christmas.

Sexy Mom said...

i am sure you will be fine this Christmas. gifts are secondary, primary is the intention--to share. merry christmas!

Hi! I'm Grace said...

Oh, how I wish there are carolers here in Michgan, too.
In the Philippines, carolers are all over and on every night. It has been the part of the tradition of Christmas. I miss them, it makes me miss home. :(

Mari said...

ev, my last visit was in 2002 when I buried my brother. It was a sad journey back home. I had planned to go back the following year, but I couldn't. I missed very much our Christmas celebration.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.

Mari said...

Nance, songs that remind us of fond memories back home give us that darn lump in our throat always.

Merry Christmas!

Mari said...

niar, yes, I will celebrate with friends and be thankful for the good graces that God has given me.

Happy Holidays to you.

Mari said...

photo cache, me, too.

Happy Holidays to you.

Mari said...

Nona, I wish I could be there like you. Have fun kiddo.

Maligayang Pasko.

Mari said...

Dennis, it was your Christmas blog that brought me back home...virtually. Quiapo was my old stumping ground when I was in college and I savored all the pictures you posted then. I'll be looking forward to your Christmas post.

Merry Christmas!

Mari said...

sexy mom, I'll be fine. I won't be home, but through your blog and the others' I'll feel the spirit of Christmas there.

Merry Christmas!

Mari said...

Grace, Christmas caroling here is by appointment; and it's done indoors. LOL It's not like what we have back home, however, it's close enough.

Merry Christmas!

dodong flores said...

Hi, Mari!
I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year for 2009 and for the next years to come...

Mari said...


Happy New Year and Happy New Life! May you and Jovy have a lasting union.

Dreamer Jean said...

HI Mari, nakakamiss talaga ang Pasko sa atin. I miss my caroling days. I miss those days when i was younger, i used to sit in front of the tree when everyone else was sleeping. I would stare at the tree, its lights, and wish.

Mari said...

Those were the days, Jeannie.

Have a Happy New Year!