Well, it certainly has been an eventful holiday season. Grace Poe is fighting an ongoing battle to legitimize her claim of being a natural born Filipino as well as a qualified presidential candidate. Ms Philippines was also able to bring home the title of Ms. Universe to the delight of millions of Filipinos. The NBA has been full of story lines from Golden State's dominance to Kobe's retirement tour. While PBA playoffs have been really exciting lately.
Whether you're a follower of everything politics or sports or beauty pageants, which should encompass most Filipinos, I'm sure you can label your holiday season as "eventful" or "exciting". As for me, it's been rather different.
For the past few holiday seasons, I just simply did my thing. My birthday falls within the season and I have multiple Christmas parties to which I usually look forward. Getting drunk and adding to my already burgeoning waistline was the norm.
This particular holiday season has been anything but normal though. Never mind that a couple of my close friends got married. It's been different because of one name: Nona.
Typhoon Nona really packed a punch. Though it did not affect us here in Laguna, it really did a number on my parents' home province of Oriental Mindoro. My relatives in Calapan live in well-built homes and were relatively safe. It's my mother's town of Victoria that really felt the power of Nona.
Typhoon Nona's winds ripped away roofs of the kubos of Victoria. It left trees bent and plants uprooted. Power lines were devastated leading to a power outage that has lasted until today, around ten days later. Crops were destroyed and animals were exposed to crippling weather. My aunt and uncles' small farm suffered quite a bit as their trees were destroyed. They lost a few ducks, chickens and a couple of piglets. Those are pretty substantial loses considering they only operate at a small scale. But then again, their luckier than most who lost all their livestock and crops not to mention a relative or two.
Typhoon Nona was really strong. It may not have been as strong as Yolanda or Sendong but it was strong nonetheless. My aunt, a former cop, relayed information that the town of Baco is withholding their true death toll which according to her reached the hundreds. The mayor of Victoria which is a distant relative apparently won't accept help from NGO's in an attempt to save face for the elections. Hopefully, she received wrong information and Baco is safe. Hopefully, my distant relatives are doing what's best for the town of Victoria even if it goes against what my family sees of that clan.
Nona has turned my family's holiday season upside down. Because of the destruction in Victoria, my aunt and two uncles there celebrated their Christmas here in Laguna. I had to help out as our helper was given the holiday off. One of my aunts came home from Vietnam and my sister came from Singapore to celebrate with us along with my other relatives here in Laguna. It was fun. It's not what we usually do for Christmas but fun nonetheless.
Today, my uncles and aunt return to Victoria as they attempt to get their lives back to the way it was. Their eight hour travel time won't come close to the journey they are going to take back to normalcy. But hey, they've done this their whole lives. We, as Filipinos, have done this our whole lives.
This may have been an unconventional holiday for me personally. But in the sense of being Filipino, what is a conventional holiday season? We got hit by Yolanda, Ruby and Sendong near the holidays. Some of us lost loved ones during the Christmas tsunamis a few years back. Remember the Rizal Day bombings? If Nona didn't hit, I'd be treating a hang over right now after a long night of drinking with my brothers and sister or my friends. But sometimes, more often here in the Philippines, the holiday season is as much about vacations, consuming or loving each other as it is just getting through life.
Happy holidays everyone