Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas is coming...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while but I've been caught with everything that's happening here. The Advent and Christmas season is a really busy time here and I've already attended three Christmas parties. The first was KADSA: that's the organisation that brings together all of the Catholic schools in our diocese: Kalookan. This was held at San Jose Academy. They had hoped to hold it outside but the sky was threatening heavy rain so it was too risky. Outside it was nice and warm but inside were we were there were 10 air conditioning units which together made the room into an ice box. Otherwise it was very enjoyable with nice food and a fun gift exchange and raffle. I came home with two gifts.
Wednesday night was the Christmas party of St. James' Academy which is run by the Dominican sisters of Siena. Their congregation is so kind and generous: they took out all of the school staff, nearly 200 people and paid for a buffet dinner for them in a Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant was in a mall called Eastwood in Eastwood City, a new development close to Mandaluyong City, a new financial district in Metro Manila. I'd never tried Vietnamese before so I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed it, it was a very different taste from anything I've ever had.
This morning was the beginning of the Simbang Gabi, a tradition here where mass is said at 4am for the nine days before Christmas. So we all got up at 3:30am and headed into the church. I was amazed to see that it was packed to the rafters and I had no choice but to sit in the choir area right next to the drums and electric guitars played by members of El Shaddai, a Charismatic movement here. I actually got caught up in the spirit of it all quite easily. The enthusiasm was rather infectious and my recently purchased missal doesn't hurt either: I actually understand the readings now, LOL.
I hope everyone is having a happy and holy Advent season,
Keep in touch,
In Christ through Mary,
Daniel