In the Philippines, we celebrate Christmas as early as possible. As early as September, some shops set aside a corner for Christmas decorations and possible gift options. By October, some people are already slowly taking out the holiday trimmings out of the box and getting it ready. Some homes have their decors up already halfway through November.
With a less than a month to go before Christmas, it would be impossible to miss it. Except for two or three stories on Instagram and one actual post in a store all decked out with boughs and holly, it surely doesn’t feel like Christmas.
Isn’t this the last day of November? We should be hearing Christmas songs in the malls and I wouldn’t know if they’ve been playing it since I haven’t been to the mall. I’ve been home and I’ve been following the news.
Nothing at all about Christmas on social media. Today, on Bonifacio day — a national holiday celebrating the birth (I think) of one of our heroes who led a revolution against the Spanish colonizers who ruled the country for three hundred and thirty three years — a large section of the population are at public places and rallying and protesting the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes).
Instead of Christmas songs, we are singing songs of protest.
They are probably not singing a song by The Pretenders but it’s one of my favorite songs about the topic. It’s how I feel right now. I’m thinking of joining the rally later when all the movements of the car are done and it’s free to use. I am still wary of my health to go through the full range of protest action. It would have been great to have been since 3pm but I’m reserving my strength. I’ll go tonight and I will, unfortunately, be bringing my parent’s driver and I think my brother will accompany me, just so that I have support.
I feel fine and I know I’m fine and my arm is healing well and much faster than I expected but I don’t want to overdo it either. But I do want to be there. I do want to be present and counted. I want to take pictures and document and share it online, just so that people know it happened and that there’s a lot of record of what happened here today.
Because they are revising history as we speak. They say that burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani does not take away the fact that he was dictator. But you do not put a former dictator — someone who faked his army records, stole billions from the country, and imprisoned and killed activists, students, dissidents, artists, journalists, and so many more — in a cemetery that was reserved for the men and women who gave their lives for the betterment of this country.
A whole generation of Filipinos, some of them lived through those times, have chosen to forget the horrors that people lived through during those times and are eager to just let the family who benefitted from all this get away with it clean.
No, I don’t think it’s right.
No, it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.
We can’t just wait for the old guard to die
Before we can make a new start
Bring on the revolution
(keep the pressure on)
— Revolution, The Pretenders