Here we are, less than a month before Christmas Day. But I still don’t feel like celebrating. How could I, when a kilo of onions reaches P350 in the traditional market? Nakakaiyak ang sibuyas.
We always have that image in our head, proliferated by the mainstream media and the marketing industry, on how holidays are supposed to be – sprucing up their living spaces with colorful decors, planning the menu for Noche Buena, exchanging gifts, attending parties and what have you.
Not to be Mr. Grinch, but that does put a certain pressure to put on that happy face and be jolly throughout the season. No matter where we turn, it feels like everything is trying to force us to imbibe the Christmas spirit.
Even with all the reasons not to feel blue, not everyone is looking forward to celebrating. Some have to work on this supposedly happiest day of the year; they probably have to miss this occasion to put bread on the table.
Others don’t have family or friends to spend it with, especially those living away from their loved ones. There are some people who have yet to come to terms with losing someone they love, whether through death or breakups.
Sometimes, the more we try to be happy, the more anxious and stressed we feel. The idea is to acknowledge these emotions rather than sweep them under the rug.
Feeling sad during the most joyous season is okay. And yes, it is okay to let the Christmas spirit pass us by and just literally sleep on it.
While the Christmas season is the most joyous occasion for most Filipinos, it is also the busiest days – from tree lighting events in almost every hotel and establishment to taking advantage of sale promos in every mall and shopping outlet, checking out travel and staycation opportunities and down to enjoying endless company parties.
Even in the artistic community, holidays seem to be the busiest time; which is good in a way. At the Cultural Center of the Philippines, we have a wide variety of engaging performances and programs for just about every artistic preference this December.
We have the all-Filipino Christmas ballet, Puso ng Pasko, on December 2 to 4, 8:00 p.m., with matinee shows at 3:00 p.m., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). It is like a sequel to Tuloy Ang Pasko, the dance production we premiered in 2020. Lolo Val, the main protagonist who now lives in California, reminisces about how he and his barkada would celebrate Christmas in the most Filipino way in the 1970s. Puso ng Pasko put the spotlight on the Yuletide festivities and traditions from the different regions of the Philippines.
A ground-breaking work, Ronelson Yadao, artistic director of Alice Reyes Dance Philippines (ARDP) choreographs the Filipino version of Nutcracker, with musical arrangements by National Artist for Music Ryan Rayabyab.
The annual CCP Light and Sound show returns on a grander scale, featuring the Christmas façade décor dubbed “Binurda,” to be launched on December 15, 7:00 p.m., at the CCP Façade and Front Lawn. The CCP holiday decorations are inspired by the Callado embroidery on piña jusi textile with sampaguita design. A light and sound show compliments the façade décor. During the launch, the Bayanihan National Dance Company, The Nightingales, Male Ensemble of the Philippines (MEP), and surprise performers bring the magic of the season and instill the warm spirit that Paskong Pinoy is known for.
Watch selected films that feature family-oriented stories that inspire and give hope in Cinema Under the Stars (CUTS) on December 14 to 16, at the CCP Front Lawn. CUTS is an open-air, hybrid outdoor cinema to encourage moviegoers to walk-in, bike-in or drive-in. This is free to the public.
On December 16, 8:00 p.m., the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah, the greatest classical holiday musical treat. Under the baton of conductor Mark Anthony Carpio, the PPO will perform alongside a 200-member grand chorus.
Ballet Philippines brings back the well-loved Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker, on December 17, 8:00 p.m., and December 18, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. The ballet production follows the adventures and misadventures of a young girl on Christmas Eve, in a magical land where every child’s dream comes true.
The CCP Arts Education Department will launch Vamos A Belen: Sama Samang Paggunita and Pagdiriwang, a Pastores dance competition, on December 21. This event is a platform for dancers and dance groups to showcase their skills in interpreting dance literature focusing on Pastores piece. This is in preparation for the 50th anniversary production of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group in September 2023.
CCP continues its long-established tradition of Simbang Gabi, in partnership with Our Lady of Sorrows Parish and other hermanas, with on-site celebrations on December 16 to 24, 5:00 a.m., at the CCP Main Ramp. The Misa de Aguinaldo will be on December 24, 8:00 p.m., at the CCP Main Theater, with a pre-mass program featuring the Panunuluyan.
For the third year, the CCP will also have a virtual Simbang Gabi, in partnership with various parishes from the different regions of the country to celebrate anticipated masses. The Anticipated Mass from the Regions runs from December 15 to 23, 9:00 p.m., and will be streamed simultaneously on the CCP Facebook Page.
As the popular Kdrama puts it, “it’s okay to not be okay.” No one is forcing you to be happy all the time, even if it is Christmas. No one is really having the perfect holiday season, and if all you want for Christmas is a nap, then go and take that much-needed rest.