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A Merry Christmas, after all

          Today, November 30, is Bonifacio Day in the Philippines, and is one of our  most popular holidays. It celebrates the birth date of one of our most revered heroes, one who had given his life for the cause of  liberty  for our country. Andres Bonifacio, unlike Jose Rizal, came from the masa, he was not  a learned scholar, unlike Rizal who had the opportunity to study abroad and was even a linguist. Bonifacio came from a poor family but his love for his country was not in any way less than Rizal’s. Our youth today could get inspiration from his life, too.

***

          In our family, Andres Bonifacio had a special meaning, not only because of his heroism, but because we had a brother born on the same date he was. My brother, Andres, was born on November 30, too. I recall vividly that our family was gathered at a room in the Negros Occidental Hospital where we watched the Bonifacio Day parade. My mother was still resting then, but we pulled her bed nearer the window so she, too could see the parade. We, then seven other children, kept running back to the nursery to take another look at our new brother, a husky baby and a good-looking one, at that!

***

          Our grandmother, the late Pilar V. Ramos, had a penchant for giving names and nicknames, and upon hearing that the new baby was born on National Heroes Day, promptly called him “Baganihan”, which means “hero”, and he got stuck with it. Later, our cousins and friends shortened that to “Nihan”, which he liked more. Alas, Nihan passed away at a young age, a few years after his beloved wife, Meg Lacson, also died of cancer. But the Lord was kind to their children, Carlo, Johann, Kitkat and Miko, who have their own families now.

***

          Well, those thoughts came to me because of National Heroes Day and also made me wonder if we have been having more heroes lately. Villains, we certainly have plenty, but I guess there are less opportunities for people to perform heroic deeds now. I am certain, though, that we have many who are, however, unrecognized and, are, as quoted in a poem, “unwept, unhonored and unsung”.

***

          Meanwhile, things seem to be easing into normalcy despite the still unvanguished COVID, as shown by the  increasing number of people travelling lately. Me, if I have to travel out of necessity, flying would be my last choice for transport. Why, I can’t imagine being in an enclosed space with a lot of people who may be carrying the virus not only in their bodies, but maybe on their clothes and luggage. Call me paranoid, but that’s the way I think. Maybe almost eight months of quarantine has done that to me.

***

          The other thought that occupies my mind involves vaccines. We have heard a lot of news about them but, so far, I don’t think our country has acquired one that has proven its efficacy. I also heard that our President is planning to purchase two million  doses of the most popular one, but only two million? Who will be the chosen ones who will benefit from that? Are we going to draw lots to choose the beneficiaries?

***

          For the first time in several months, I went to the STAR office yesterday for a meeting, and realized that I have missed the hustle and bustle of office life so  much. But I was also gladdened by the fact that the few faithful ones  who kept faith with the DAILY STAR are still as involved and gung-ho as ever. The spirit that has kept it shining is still there, and it was so gratifying to note. Oh yes, some have moved on to what they consider greener pastures, but the spirit that has kept it shining all these 38 years is still there. To God be the Glory!              

                                                               ***

          How many more days are left before  Christmas? Despite the COVID scares,  I believe the Christmas spirit is too strong to be fazed. So we hear, and see people ignoring warnings and flocking to shopping centers and malls to do their shopping. Anyway, there seems to be signs that the virus is weakening, and our people are quite compliant with precautionary measures. If we all pray together, and implore our Good Lord to spare us and remove this bad virus, we may all have a Merry Christmas, after all!*

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