Kissing Baby Jesus out in a humble farm
It can’t fit among the rich highlights of the holiday season. The simple annual gift-giving for farm families in Barangay Pangao, Lipa City, on Wednesday may not carry the glitter and glow of great Christmas feasts. There’ll be no banquet, no carols galore.
Last year, the Dec. 27 affair, initiated by civic leader Nandy Charvet of Mandaluyong City and the late Olympian Ciso Bernardo a decade and a half ago, had to be moved two days later after a storm bore down on the area at midday.
There was an emergency, a last-minute pull out. But, mind you, the annual affair, postponed for the first time, was delivered and completed gloriously.
Today, Dr. Bobby Magsino of the Mediatrix Medical Center, perennial Santa Claus, again plays power forward and captain ball for the selfless team that toils year after year in bringing joy to simple farm folks, children mostly.
Zeny Luna of La Puente, California, has sent a trunk-full of toys. Much ahead, my brother Jim from the Foothill Ranch in Orange County, cabled his cash donation. Trader Lucio “Luchi” Yan has again chipped in grandly.
Nick Lantin, a favorite son of Lipa who lent a big hand in saving last year’s affair, will check in with multiawarded lensman Floy Reyes before lunchtime with a usual hoard of assorted gifts, poultry products. Sportsman Bambi Rivilla and Lipa folk favorite Bart Mayo have brought in canned goods in boxes.
For this year, the gift-giving will be done earlier at 10:30 a.m. Just like before, farm-family members will start descending on a simple tree-lined farmhouse with cogon grass for a roof in Purok 4. They gather under a macopa tree to pray before a glowing framed image of the Mother of Perpetual Help.
Rene and Tess del Monte will preside, together with church mainstays Mar Maralit and Gerry Mayor. Dr. Ruel Reyes of San Pablo, traditional mainstay, will try to squeeze out of a tight schedule to catch up, so will my dear friend Joebing Malabanan.
Quiet joy blooms as assorted goodies and cash in envelops are handed out. Christmas is love. This is an affair of the heart.
There will be gladness all over, but deeper and more precisely among those who never tire to care and share in completing this solemn gesture of kissing the Child Jesus in praise and thanksgiving.
Merry Christmas to all. Maraming Salamat po.
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