I have always been a “city girl.” Katipunan Road, to be exact. I lived along Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge ever since the day baby me was allowed to go home from the hospital after my mom gave birth to me. I studied at Miriam / Maryknoll College for preschool, elementary, and high school; then took up BS Communications Technology Management at the Ateneo de Manila Universityâ€”schools situated along Katipunan Avenue. The schools I went to were just less than five minutes away, so I never really had the need to stay in a dormitory. Simply put, I’ve been rooted to Katipunan Avenue for as long as I could remember.
It’s hard to believe that this year, we just spent Christmas in the suburbs of Antipolo.
We never really thought we’d be having Christmas in a new home, but here we are. After living for so long in a neighborhood where your closest neighbor is a bank and an ATM machine (not to mention the large house and lots separated by towering fire walls), we were a bit surprised by how Christmas is celebrated here.
There was a series of Christmas activities held at the clubhouse for the entire month of December, culminating with a Christmas party. Tahanang Walang Hagdan even visited us (with a TV crew in tow) for a round of Christmas carols. That was a great changeâ€”the Christmas “carols” we received before at our old house were from rugby-sniffing kids hoping to raise cash for their vice. If you ignored their drunken rendition of “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” you could expect stones thrown at your gate. Lucky for us, our old house was protected by two gates and a long driveway so it really didn’t matter what the rugby kids did.
We don’t have that anymore here in the suburbs. We can even leave plants and Christmas decors outside without worrying about them getting stolen. Our new neighborhood is very peaceful, though a bit too quiet at times (don’t mind me, I’ve been brought up along a noisy main road, quiet neighborhoods take time to be used to). But that’s not what surprised us about this new neighborhoodâ€”it’s the people; our neighbors.
You see, our family isn’t used to having people for neighbors, so we never really experienced the hospitality and camaraderie felt during the holidays. A lot of our neighbors gave us a little something for Christmasâ€”pies, cookies, bibingka, etc. We were so not used to it that Dad had to do last-minute shopping to return the favor 😛
Though we still did our usual holiday family visitsâ€”having lunch at Caloocan then dinner in Alabangâ€”we were pleased that for once, Christmas season in our own neighborhood was satisfying. We didn’t have to go somewhere else just to be able to feel the spirit of Christmasâ€”the Christmas spirit was already in our own neighborhood.
Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂