On Christmas Eve, the whole family feasted on food that could last us for a week and handed out gifts wrapped in pretty gift wrapping paper. There were no carolers outside, considering it was 12 midnight but we could hear the children lining up.
Christmas in Mauban will always and forever be FUN, plus some other MIXED EMOTIONS to complete the baggage. Since 1988, the Lim family has been giving a one-time dole outs to people who are not so blessed in life. An apple, an ABL shipping shirt, and money (they started with P10 in 1988 and escalated—a new word in my vocab, I intend to use this in everyday conversations, get ready IPE!—to P50 this year). Almost 2,600 people—children, grandparents, and parents, lined up outside our house this year for toys, old clothes and toys, an apple, P50, an ABL (credit: Albert B. Lim, my Kong-kong) shipping or a Skippy shirt for the little ones, which is truly bongga (the Skippy shirts, I mean)! Kidding aside, these kids will work their way through the crowd, fight danger even—climbing up the pointed rails of our home in sheer desperation just to get what, fifty-bucks. While I was busy, giving plastics to the kids whose smell I wouldn’t usually let pass (thanks to my colds, I got absolved from it, but that’s not my point), it got me thinking how much pride parents, especially fathers would have to put down while watching their hopeful children accept these things, when in truth, (or just what I know of) they should be the one providing these things. I mean, in the world that I know, or choose to know, these are just things that are handed to us, these things are complained about, “just 50 pesos? Anong bibilin ko, candy?” or “ayoko yan, hindi branded!”
Reality bites. Hard. And as much of a cliché the saying is, it is true. Go to Mauban on holidays. Hear the children cry in agony because others are stepping on their feet. See the grandparents faint because of the stampede that the children caused.
The gates do not open until 8:00 am.