Christmas 2018

December 26, 2018

Today, Christ is born in Bethlehem 2,018 years ago.  It is today that we celebrate the birth on earth of the true Son of God.  With his birth completes the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

A Holy and Merry Christmas to one and all.  Let this day be a day of prayer for the coming new year; that our country be blessed with peace, prosperity, tranquility and success.

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This is the first Christmas we are celebrating in our family compound without the ancestral home of our late parents.  The tragedy we are suffering from is more than anybody can imagine.

In the past Christmases, though we no longer have our beloved parents with us, we could at least feel them around the ancestral home and the big garden they loved so much.  Just being near the ancestral home filled our spirits like when we had them around with us.  There was something in the air on Christmas Eve that made me feel that both our mother and father had something to look down to from heaven that we were together even in their absence.  But we won’t ever have that again for their house, their mementos and the old familiar chairs they sat in, the table we all ate together and the comfort of their being around in the most familiar places have all been gone, more than a fire could do for nothing, absolutely nothing was left of our ancestral home to feel their spirits hovering around.

It’s worst than the tragedy of Marawi where families could still at least recognize what was left of their homes.  In our case, even the very foundation of the huge 6 bedroom 70-year-old home was backhoed and left us with a big hollow and muddy hole on the ground, about 15 meters deep.  All the trees planted by my father are gone as well as the flowers my mother loved so much.

One of my nephews picked in the excavation site a piece of white marble that was once part of the huge living room; gave it to me and said: “Tio, keep this piece in the memory of my grandparents, your father and mother.  That’s all I could pick up from the site.  I had to ask permission from the guards if I could have the piece of the marble flooring”.

Please allow me to recover.  This Christmas is no Christmas to me and my siblings with me.  My sister Elvira (next to me) said the other night: “Manoling, que triste va ser nuestros navidades.  (Manoling, how sad this Christmas will be for us).  She is in her 80s as well.  I pretended to be strong enough to tell her: We will do our best to be a little happy; to see our staff and all those who work with us happy should be enough for us to share a bit of their happiness.  That should be enough.  Their happiness should be enough for us to be happy – even a little.  We could never bring back the happiness we had before.

On my part, I am happy to see our 20 plus employees with us with their families happy as we all made them happy every year for decades.  It’s a commitment all these years and nothing should stop us from continuing what we started to do even in the lifetime of Mama and Papa.

To all my friends: please excuse me for not being able to get any gift for anyone for this Christmas was further bungled up by a fiscal in court here in Quezon City to submit our answers with December 25 as its deadline.  Have you seen a more morbid and intentional scheduling than that?  For days and nights, I have had my nephews and household helps xeroxing numerous documents, 15 rims of legal long bond papers consumed for 22 sets required by the court, plus annexes.

Fiscal, next time, please have a heart. You pleased the other side by being cruel to us; never heard us in court and made a one-sided decision.  No hearing was accorded to our side, but heard only the other side of the Belmontes with my youngest brother on their side – to add insult to injury.

We understand despite of it all.

On Christmas Eve, we will light green candles around the excavation site which was once our Ancestral home to remind us of all the loving memories, care, security, attention, comfort and togetherness we have had before.

What happened to us, I would not wish it on anyone.  On the contrary, I wish all human beings the best this Christmas and all the Christmases to come.  As Christians, we must not wish ill on anyone.  Let the Lord decide.

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