Celebrating Christmas in my native land, the Philippines, has always been at home. It is during this time of the year that we are taking a step back and enjoying some much needed time with our families. All roads lead home at the Feast of Lights after all.
This time around, however, the family took on a different perspective. I was really surprised. Defying tradition that has been there for ages…embraced…until that day.
I actually wanted to relive the experience of the holidays’ celebration after four straight years of not being in the home country during this season. Upon learning from my elder siblings that we are going on a road trip and the beach for the holidays, I hesitated. Instead, I suggested to go for something traditional. That was on our way to my sister’s house subsequent to fetching me at the airport.
Everyone agreed upon but me until democracy took over. So in the early morning of the 24th, December, armed with two new beetles, we zoomed off to Zambales for a very mobile kind of Christmas.
We spent a total of three hours on the road before we got to my brother-in-law’s place (a military quarters) which is just opposite the beach resorts with white sand.
We settled down for a few minutes and then cooked lunch. All of the home-cooked meals (pansit Cabagan, adobong kalabaw, and their “bavi” viands) were devoured.
The lack of rooms paved the way for us to set up a tent in front of the quarters after lunchtime. (The tent eventually became our sleeping haven in the night.)
A drinking session with my father and brothers for about three hours ensued. My appetite for those bottles kept on increasing ever since I joined the OFW league. The regular long period of sobriety explains why. It was a lot of fun and full of catching up stories!
At exactly 4:30 PM, we all went to the beach at Driftwood’s for a quick turned long dip.
Aside from the health benefits we got from swimming in the sea and walking along the beach barefooted, we got to witness that favourite star slowly descending below the distant horizon. I could not help but exclaimed: What a gift, aside from the family’s reunion!
We stayed there for a few more minutes to revel in the nature spectacle dancing in front.
What a superb way to cap the day off.
An hour later, we had dinner and then went on a family stroll through the urban jungles of Olongapo. The malls were already closed though by the time we got there. We ended up enjoying live music with bottles of beer at Pier One Bar and Grill until midnight.
The concert was refreshing. The last time I experienced it was during college days. It was past 1:00 AM by the time we got back to the quarters. We ended the night with a chit-chat over a cup of coffee.
We partook in another home-made breakfast before we left in the morning of the 25th for Manila, with a side trip to this part of Subic. The view was invigorating!
Spending the holidays away from home may not sound as fun as having relatives over to our house for some special rice cakes and other traditional food but we made the most of it by following where the road led us.
Celebrating Christmas on a beach, road, and in a bar is far better than not celebrating it at all.
Celebrating Christmas in Bali 2017 (villa-bali.com)
Christmas Fun 2017- Road Trip! (nshoremove.com)