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BULLETIN HEADLINE STORY: MY NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS DEALING WITH GREAT LOSS AT A TIME OF FESTIVITIES
[WATCH: FROM THE MANILA BULLITIN: Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas]
DECEMBER 24 -The author's mother spending time with her grandchild She was the only one I had. My Dad died when I was six and growing up I only had my mom. We lived at home just me and her watching horror movies, listening to her Connie Francis and Carpenters CDs. I slept beside her even throughout college. We’d laugh ourselves to sleep, at times she’d kiss and sniff my hands then hold them against her cheeks before closing her eyes. READ MORE...RELATED, WATCH: FROM THE MANILA BULLITIN: Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas...
ALSO: Stormy Christmas Day feared over Metro Manila, Bicol, Samar [RELATED DEC 25 UPDATE: Nina strands thousands]
DECEMBER 24 -The weather bureau is monitoring a low pressure area which is still not visible on this satellite photo from Pagasa. The LPA may turn into a storm and affect the Bicol-Samar area on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. It may affect Metro Manila and other parts of the Southern Luzon region on Christmas Day. PAGASA PHOTO It may be a rainy Christmas in parts of the country due to a low pressure area (LPA) that’s expected to intensify into a tropical cyclone. The state weather bureau said the LPA was last spotted 1,800 kilometers east of Mindanao, still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). In a press briefing on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the LPA was expected to enter PAR on Thursday evening, when it would be locally called “Nina.” READ MORE...RELATED, Nina strands thousands...
ALSO: THREE AREAS UNDER SIGNAL 4; Nina makes second landfall over Sagă‘ay, Camarines Sur
DECEMBER 25 -Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-ten) made landfall for the second time over Sagă‘ay, Camarines Sur, after earlier landing on and crossing Catanduanes, weather service PAGASA reported in a Sunday night bulletin. At 10 p.m., Nina was in the vicinity of Buhi, Camarines Sur, with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 290 kph. Estimated rainfall amount within the typhoon's 400 km diameter was from moderate to heavy. Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal 4 was raised over: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and southern Quezon. PAGASA warned of a possible storm surge of two to three meters along coastal areas under Signal 4, with open sea wave heights to be greater than 14 meters. READ MORE...
ALSO: Clowning around Manila spreads Xmas cheer, magic in hospitals[MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL: What Pope Francis urges us to focus on this Christmas]
(VIDEO: CHRISTMAS MASS 2016 WITH THE POPE)
DECEMBER 24 -The spirit of giving was truly felt last weekend, as one magical day brought some Disney princesses, superheroes, and Jedi Knights into the pediatric wards of some of Metro Manila’s hospitals. Veteran party specialists Clowning Around Manila partnered up with non-profit organizations Ohana MNL and the Kythe Foundation to bring a little light to the holiday season for children who can’t make it to the comfort of their homes this Christmas. Clowning Around Manila brought in their team of actors, singers, and dancers to visit the kids at three hospitals—Wards 9 and 11 at the Philippine General Hospital, the Pediatric Ward of the Philippine Orthopedic Center, and the 9th and 10th floors of Medical City.READ MORE...RELATED, TIMES EDITORIAL - What Pope Francis urges us to focus on this Christmas...
ALSO MMDA: Traffic in Metro Manila lighter since Xmas break began [FROM THE SENATE: Senators share views on the country's state in Christmas messages]
DECEMBER 24 -The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday said it has monitored a reduction of traffic in the metropolis since the Christmas vacation of schools started. "Maraming dahilan kung bakit nitong araw ay talagang ramdam nating less congested ang EDSA. Una rito, nasa Christmas break din halos lahat ng mga estudyante," MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a report by Tina Panganiban-Perez on Balitanghali. Pialago also credited the "nose in, nose out" traffic policy of the MMDA for provincial bus terminals in Cubao, which took effect on December 15, for the lighter traffic situation in the metropolis recently. READ MORE...Senators share views on the country's state in Christmas messages...
ALSO REPOSTING: MMDA unveils Xmas, airport loops to avoid holiday traffic jams
DECEMBER 2 -With Metro Manila's roads expected to be heavily congested during the holiday season, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has unveiled Christmas and Airport Loops that bypass traffic-jammed thoroughfares. There are four airport loops and four Christmas loops, GMA 7 news program "24 Oras" reported Tuesday. The Christmas oops are: CONTINUE READING
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My nightmare before Christmas Dealing with great loss at a time of festivities
The author's mother spending time with her grandchild
MANILA, DECEMBER 26, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) Published December 24, 2016, 12:07 AM By Loraine Balita-Centeno - She was the only one I had.
My Dad died when I was six and growing up I only had my mom. We lived at home just me and her watching horror movies, listening to her Connie Francis and Carpenters CDs. I slept beside her even throughout college. We’d laugh ourselves to sleep, at times she’d kiss and sniff my hands then hold them against her cheeks before closing her eyes.
nightmare before christmas mb4
We celebrated many a Christmas Eve without a fuss. Whenever we were too lazy to cook and wash the dishes we’d eat out and stay out ‘till 12 midnight. This was the kind of mom she was—low maintenance, never demanding, didn’t fuss over small things, but focused more on being happy and having fun. Life was a party with her and we were always together.
When I wasn’t with her I was on the phone talking to her.
Everytime she’d see how much I was growing so attached to her she’d ask me if I’d cry when she dies. She was worried about how I’ll cope because she knew that she was the only parent I had and that I was so close to her.
You see our mothers’ love goes beyond their lifetime. They worry about us 24/7, they worry about what will become of us when they’re gone.
She asked me to be ready because she was getting old.
But Mama no one will ever be ready to lose a parent …ever.
I thought I was. A year ago she started getting sick. Since her first confinement she spent the year checking in and out of the hospital. I saw her health deteriorate. While I was praying for her to get better I knew at the back of my mind that I was losing my best friend. For a year I would cry in the shower, while driving to work, in the middle of the night while every one was asleep.
There were times when I tried to avoid seeing her because I was denying the fact that I was losing her. The chubby jolly lady who was so strong and feisty was getting frail and weak. I would spend nights alone in the office bawling in front of the computer.
The author's mother was a woman full of laughter and positivity The author’s mother was a woman full of laughter and positivity
I thought I was all out of tears I thought I have cried all my anger, my anguish, my sadness out but the day I saw her exhale her last breath as if her soul escaped her body I knew I was wrong.
A few weeks before Christmas I saw her condition go from bad to hopeless. That afternoon I watched her fight for her life, I cried and held her feet on my lap. “Mama do you still love me? Bakit ayaw mo magpagaling, mahal mo pa ba ako ma? (Why don’t you want to get better?)” I cried. And she mustered all the strength she had left to respond by nudging me with her feet.
I held her hand and told her, “You are going to be okay Mama, you will get better then we will go home soon.”
And then it happened. Now I know those scenes in movies where the mother would sigh her last breath and then she’ll stop moving, then the child will be shaking the parent while calling out ‘Mama!’ That happens in real life.
While they were reviving her I kept calling “mama, mama” as if I was a five-year-old crying for her mother.
They revived her, she got her pulse back but only for a little while. As if she just wanted to hear what I had to say before she left. I got to spend 10 minutes with her while she was in a comma, begged her not to leave until I heard the weird sound from the machine again.
The author’s mother spending time with her grandchild
With the beeps slowing down I knew I was losing her. The numbers dropping meant I was losing the most important woman of my life. I won’t forget the moment her heart stopped.
I felt my heart break like there was some dark force clutching my insides and twisting them. I wanted to jump out of a window, I wanted to follow her to the other side and get her back. I was crying and screaming but there was no sound coming out, the pain was even worse than I had imagined.
And just like that, she left this world.
I remember when she was alive that the thought of not seeing my children grow old saddened her. “Pag binata na si Mon wala na ako sa mundo (When Mon becomes a man, I would not be around anymore),” she said sadly.
In my head: How can you say that mama when you are my world?
The night she died I was scared to step out of the hospital. I dreaded stepping out into a world that did not include my Mom anymore. This is a world I did not want to be a part of, where my mom doesn’t exist.
I sometimes dream about her. She’s alive dancing, being her usual jolly self. And then reality drags me back and I wake up. Each morning I have to face the reality of living in a world where she has ceased to exist.
Christmas gift memorial lot Christmas gift memorial lot
Why did you have to go before Christmas, Ma?
My mama loved bright lights, loud music, and lots of people. Her laughter and positivity was infectious. In parties she’d go from crowd to crowd like a butterfly. How then do you celebrate the biggest party of the year without your favorite party girl?
Now I’m forced to celebrate my first Christmas without her. Tough.
But my children keep me functioning. My daughter often calls me “Mama, mama” the same way I called for my mom when she died.
It’s a constant reminder that my Mom wants me to carry on with my life. That there’s a little version of me who will love me the way I loved my mom. Who will sing to me when I’m old, who’ll hold my hand when I’m sick.
Three days before Mom died she whispered to me behind her oxygen mask. “Mahal kita, yakapin mo ako (I love you, hug me.).” As if she knew that she was running out of time and she wanted me to know before death robs her off her chance to remind me that she loves me.
Now I tell my daughter “Mahal kita” and I savor the feeling of hugging her while I say it. That must have been how my mom felt that night.
To those like me who are suffering great loss at a time of festivities.
It’s okay to be sad.
I know Mom would have wanted me to snap out of it and focus on my kids. I can hear her in my head going, “Get over it, may mga anak ka unahin mo sila (you have children you need to take care of),” just like the strong independent no non-sense woman she was—exactly how she got her kids through college all by herself.
But as much as we have to be strong even amid such great loss, we have to cry when we feel like crying.
What I’ve learned is that it’s okay not to be okay for as long as you want. Your grief, your pain is the love you have for that person pouring out. And that’s okay.
Even the anger and hatred you feel about what happened is equivalent to the love for the person you lost.
Aside from the extreme pain, I feel anger. For my mother’s two caregivers who got lazy and at times left my mother soaking in urine because they were busy flirting with the nurses. For the hospital staff who didn’t have the sense of urgency and I felt left my mom there to die. For the hospital and the doctors who I think failed to explain what was happening. Anger at what had happened, anger at the way things turned out.
I often ask people: When will I stop crying? When will I stop being mad?
Will I ever be be happy again? The night before she died did she hear me singing Carpenters songs to her? Did she know that it was me with her? Did she hear me calling mama?
I don’t know the answers to these questions now and I don’t know when I will find the answers to them and I think that’s okay.
Losing someone you love before Christmas feels both like a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because you are constantly surrounded by people in parties and reunions. People who will offer a hug when you feel like crying. So to those suffering loss at a time of festivities, go out there and will yourself to attend the gatherings. Surround yourself with people who love you.
Remind yourself that you are not really alone, look around you. When the pain started to subside I started to appreciate the loved ones I have left, a loving husband, two kids who my mom loved dearly. Aunts, in laws, and tons of cousins, and friends who held my hand and helped me through it.
I know it feels like it sometimes but you are not alone.
But understand that it could feel like a curse too, each Christmas song is a reminder that everyone else is merry, everything is bright save for that painful void inside you’ve been carrying. Who knew watching fireworks can make people cry? I cry because it’s so beautiful but my mom won’t get to see it anymore.
To those who still have their moms
Go and get that ticket. Visit her while you still can. There’s no ticket I can buy now that will take me to where my Mom is. No trip can ever let me see her again.
Talk to her and listen to her while you can still hear her voice. I used to make fun of mom’s garish voice; now I miss her call my name from afar.
Hold her hand while you can still feel the warmth of her touch, the comfort of her skin against your cheeks. Before they lowered her down the ground I held my mom’s hand one last time because I knew I wont be able to hold her ever again.
Buy her the most expensive gift you can afford while she’s still there to see it. While you can still see her smile. No matter how much money I save up for a gift now my mom won’t be able to receive it anymore. No matter how expensive, no matter how beautiful.
This experience forced me to grow up and made me realize that moms are angels we borrow from heaven. They’re with us only temporarily but time will come when God will call them back. So savor every moment with her because you don’t know when she’ll be called back by the big boss up there.
Today I will celebrate Christmas without my Dad as usual but for the first time also without my Mom. I’ll be alright, I know because she wants me to be alright. No fuss, no drama.
I don’t know when I will stop crying when I see fireworks or hear Christmas songs though. But I will take it one day at a time, one Christmas eve at a time.
In two days, it’ll be my first month without her.
I made it Mama! One month down, a whole lifetime without you to go.
RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN
VIDEO: Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas 0 SHARES Share it! Published December 25, 2016, 12:11 AM by Aa Patawaran
Today, as the whole nation celebrates the birth of Christ, let us put behind our differences and conflicts and embrace true meaning of Christmas: Love, faith, peace, hope.
In the spirit of generosity and goodness, MB Lifestyle gathered Christmas greetings and the warmest wishes from artists, celebrities, senators, Cabinet officials, and personalities that, with hope, will inspire happiness and cheer in everyone.
Tags: birth of Christ, Christmas, Christmas greetings, Let’s embrace the true meaning of Christmas, Manila Bulletin, MB Lifestyle, mb.com.ph, News today
Stormy Christmas Day feared over Metro Manila, Bicol, Samar By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net / 12:30 PM December 21, 2016
The weather bureau is monitoring a low pressure area which is still not visible on this satellite photo from Pagasa. The LPA may turn into a storm and affect the Bicol-Samar area on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. It may affect Metro Manila and other parts of the Southern Luzon region on Christmas Day. PAGASA PHOTO
It may be a rainy Christmas in parts of the country due to a low pressure area (LPA) that’s expected to intensify into a tropical cyclone.
The state weather bureau said the LPA was last spotted 1,800 kilometers east of Mindanao, still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).
In a press briefing on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the LPA was expected to enter PAR on Thursday evening, when it would be locally called “Nina.”
The LPA is forecast to affect the Southern Luzon and may make landfall over the Bicol-Samar area by Saturday or Sunday as a tropical storm.
The storm is expected to bring moderate to heavy rain along its path and may trigger flashfloods or landslides.
Metro Manila is also expected to be affected by rain.
Pagasa said sea travel would be risky over the northern seaboard of Northern and Central Luzon due to the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.
The storm is expected to exit the PAR by Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
As of Wednesday, the weather disturbance still had no direct effect on the country. CBB
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
Nina strands thousands By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0
Philippine Coast Guard personnel ready their equipment to be deployed to areas affected by Typhoon Nina at the PCG headquarters in Manila yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES
MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of stranded passengers prepared to spend Christmas Eve in the ports while thousands of residents celebrated Noche Buena in evacuation centers in the Bicol region yesterday as Typhoon Nina moved closer to the country.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, at least 5,723 passengers were stranded in different ports in Bicol and Eastern Visayas as the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) prevented ships from operating because of rough sea conditions caused by the typhoon.
Passengers were stranded in ports in Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Masbate, Camarines Sur and in Allen, Samar.
The provincial government of Bicol, meanwhile, evacuated residents in villages surrounding Mayon Volcano, coastlines and areas prone to landslide, flood and storm surge.
Disaster officials warned residents that two-meter high storm surges are expected.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised storm warning signals in 10 provinces yesterday.
Placed under Signal No. 1 are southern Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Island, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
PAGASA weather forecaster Benison Estareja said Nina is expected to make landfall in Catanduanes this evening, and will pass through the Bicol region and southern Luzon tomorrow.
The PCG headquarters deployed three additional m35 trucks, one small truck, 15 rubber boats and seven teams of special operations group to Bicol region yesterday afternoon.
“We already pre-positioned our land and water assets that would be mobilized as they are needed in any eventuality,” said Raffy Alejandro, director of Office of Civil Defense-Bicol.
Commodore Joel Garcia, officer-in-charge of PCG, said the PCG would also set aside either the BRP Tubbataha or the BRP Pampanga to transport relief goods to Bicol.
Garcia called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned organizations to bring relief goods for Bicol to the PCG headquarters.
“The DSWD could coordinate with our Action Center if they have relief goods to send to Bicol to bring them over to our office as soon as possible instead of waiting for the aftermath of the typhoon, wherein the delivery would be a day late,” he added.
Passengers stranded at ports as Typhoon Nina approaches on Christmas Day GMANEWS NETWORK FILE PHOTO
As of 10 a.m. yesterday, Nina was located 480 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes. It is moving west-northwest at the speed of 15 km per hour.
The typhoon is expected to be at the vicinity of Gumaca, Quezon tomorrow morning and at 200 km southwest of Iba, Zambales on Tuesday.
It was forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday.
Nina slightly intensified and was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph.
PAGASA said the typhoon may further intensify before landfall, and then weaken as it barrels through landmass.
While not expected to reach super typhoon levels, the weather bureau reminded the public not to be complacent with the moderate to heavy rainfall that it would bring within its 400-km diameter.
In addition to Nina, other parts of the country are also expected to experience thunderstorms with isolated rainshowers due to the northeast monsoon.
“Cloudy skies with light rains is expected over the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon,” PAGASA said.
“Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over Luzon and coming from the northeast to north over the Visayas,” it added.
Bracing for Nina Nina is also expected to dump rains over areas of Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog region.
Since the typhoon is expected to hit Cavite and Metro Manila, Garcia said the PCG would leave 15 disaster teams in Manila to respond to floods and rescue operations.
The Angat Dam in Bulacan had also been releasing water in the last five days starting Dec. 20 to maintain its stability and drawdown the reservoir elevation to safe levels during the typhoon, the National Power Corp. said.
Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) advised airlines and airport officials that a runway closure in Ninoy Aquino International Airport could be implemented if Nina’s wind speed hits 50 knots.
NAIA Expressway 'Christmas lane - A new portion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway will open to the public on Wednesday in anticipation of the holiday rush, ...ABS-CBN FILE PHOTO
MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said that in the event of runway closure, MIAA would suspend its daily runway maintenance works to give way to recovery flights.
CAAP director general Jim Sydiongco said that with the path of Typhoon Nina in Luzon, Clark airport is not an option for relocation or diversion. Airports down south, like those in Cebu and Puerto Princesa, can serve as evacuation sites for aircraft.
Free text alerts Sen. Grace Poe, meanwhile, reminded telecommunications companies to send out text alerts to its subscribers to inform them about the coming storm and the precautions they need to take.
Poe, one of the authors of the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, has repeatedly called the attention of telcos to comply with the law after receiving feedback from the public that they are not receiving any text alert whenever there are storms.
“May I remind the telcos of their obligation under the law to send out message alerts to properly warn subscribers who live within the areas that will be affected by Typhoon Nina of the dangers and the precautions they need to take,” Poe said.
“Finally, I urge our people who might be affected to please heed the text alerts for their safety and well-being,” she added.
Poe earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 211 seeking explanation from implementing agencies and telcos on possible lapses even if the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act and its implementing rules and regulations are already in place.
Under the law, any telco that fails to observe the law will be fined P1 million to P10 million and/or face suspension or revocation of its legislative franchise.
Any person who gives false or misleading data or information or willfully or through gross negligence, conceals or falsifies a material fact, in any investigation, inquiry, study or other proceeding pursuant to the Act face imprisonment of two months to six months and a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000.
If the offender is a corporation, the penalties may range from a fine of P1 million to P10 million and/or face suspension or revocation of its legislative franchise and other permits and licenses issued by the National Telecommunications Commission. – Jaime Laude, Cet Dematera, Celso Amo, Rudy Santos, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Marvin Sy , Francis Elevado
GMA NEWS NETWORK
THREE AREAS UNDER SIGNAL 4 Nina makes second landfall over Sagă‘ay, Camarines Sur Published December 25, 2016 10:55pm
Typhoon Nina (international name Nock-ten) made landfall for the second time over Sagă‘ay, Camarines Sur, after earlier landing on and crossing Catanduanes, weather service PAGASA reported in a Sunday night bulletin.
At 10 p.m., Nina was in the vicinity of Buhi, Camarines Sur, with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 290 kph. Estimated rainfall amount within the typhoon's 400 km diameter was from moderate to heavy.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal 4 was raised over:
Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and southern Quezon. PAGASA warned of a possible storm surge of two to three meters along coastal areas under Signal 4, with open sea wave heights to be greater than 14 meters.
Signal 3 was meanwhile up over:
Catanduanes, Laguna, Batangas, Marinduque, Albay, and the rest of Quezon. Albay may experience a 2.5 meter storm surge, while the other provinces under Signal 3 may experience a meter high surge. Open sea wave heights along these provinces will be around 14 meters.
Signal 2 was also raised over:
Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Sorsogon, and Burias Island. A meter high storm surge over these areas, while open sea wave heights would be from 4.1 to 14 meters.
Signal 1 was up over:
Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, Masbate including Ticao Island, and Northern Samar. Open sea wave heights along areas under Signal 1 would be from 1.25 to four meters.
Aside from the possible storm surges, PAGASA also warned that sea travel over Luzon's seaboards would be risky.
With Nina moving westwards at 20 kph, it is expected to traverse of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, southern Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite.
Specifically, PAGASA projected that Nina would be:
150 kms west-southwest of Sangley Point, Cavite by Monday evening, 480 kms west of Subic, Olongapo by Tuesday evening, and 190 kms worthwest of Pagasa Island, Palawan and outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Wednesday evening.
— DVM, GMA News
GMA NEWS NETWORK
Clowning Around Manila spreads Christmas cheer and magic in 3 hospitals
Published December 23, 2016 11:34am
WATCH VIDEO ON FACEBOOK
The spirit of giving was truly felt last weekend, as one magical day brought some Disney princesses, superheroes, and Jedi Knights into the pediatric wards of some of Metro Manila’s hospitals.
Veteran party specialists Clowning Around Manila partnered up with non-profit organizations Ohana MNL and the Kythe Foundation to bring a little light to the holiday season for children who can’t make it to the comfort of their homes this Christmas.
Clowning Around Manila brought in their team of actors, singers, and dancers to visit the kids at three hospitals—Wards 9 and 11 at the Philippine General Hospital, the Pediatric Ward of the Philippine Orthopedic Center, and the 9th and 10th floors of Medical City.
Gifts were handed around to the children personally by favorites like Elsa and Anna, Snow White, Wonder Woman, Rapunzel, Cinderella, as well as some Jedi from the Star Wars saga. The Clowning Around team also gave a few live Christmas carols, singing some Disney songs for the families, nurses and doctors at the wards.
Ohana MNL and the Kythe Foundation both do charity work for children in need, particularly those with chronic illnesses.
Clowning Around Manila has been throwing a variety of themed party events since 1987.
A video from Ohana MNL shows highlights from the day’s heart-warming moments, encouraging people to share love this Christmas, “no matter how simple.” — BM / AT, GMA News
MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL
What Pope Francis urges us to focus on this Christmas BY THE MANILA TIMES ON DECEMBER 24, 2016 EDITORIAL
WE won’t know till tonight what the Holy Father will tell in his Christmas message.
But his last Angelus catechesis before Christmas (on Wednesday December 21) should have served as our guide since then.
He encouraged pilgrims who watched and listened at St. Peter’s Square to spend time reflecting on what it was like for Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. He asked us to imagine “the path, the fatigue, but also the joy, the emotion and then anxiety of finding a place, the worry” and many other wonders the praying mind could see.
As other sages, like St. Josemaria Escriva, have taught, Pope Francis urges us to contemplate the Nativity scene to keep focused on he what Christmas is about. Focusing on the Nativity, he hoped, would enable us to realize what Christmas truly means, that it is Jesus coming close to us and being Immanuel, “God with us.”
He said: “The grace of Christmas is one of love, humility and tenderness. And he prayed that all of us would receive this grace “with openness and confidence in God.”
Pope Francis focused his Angelus reflection on the figures of Mary and Joseph in the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew. In this reading, Joseph had at first decided to divorce Mary quietly (because he did not want to cause a scandal and punish his betrothed) after finding out about her being pregnant. But he changes his mind and takes her as his wife after the angel Gabriel appeared to him in a dream, telling him not to fear—because Mary’s child is that of God the Holy Spirit.
In becoming man, said the Pope, “God draws near to the human being taking the flesh of a woman,” noting that God also draws near to us, but in a different way.
Francis explained that “Through his grace, God enters our lives and offers his own Son as a gift, and this, the Pope said, makes us ask ourselves: “What do we do? Do we welcome him, or reject him, kicking him out?”
Christmas Midnight Mass with Pope Francis 2016 HD Catholic Sat Catholic Sat Subscribe10,769 Add to Share More 4,067 views 116 3 Published on Dec 24, 2016 Papal Midnight Mass on Christmas, the Solemnity of the Lord’s Birth, presided by Pope Francis, from St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
The Pope said that just as Mary allowed God to “change the destiny of mankind” by opening herself freely to him, we must also try to seek Jesus and to follow his will every day. If we do this, we will be able to cooperate “in his plan of salvation for us and for the world.”
He said, “Mary appears to us, then, as a model to look to and support on whom we count in our search for God and in our commitment to building a civilization of love.”
Of St. Joseph, Pope Francis said that as shown in the Gospel, on his own he couldn’t give comprehend and explain what he sees unfolding before him. But then, it is precisely in that moment that God draws near to him through the angel, revealing the true nature of Mary’s mysterious pregnancy.
Responding positively to God’s word, spoken to him through the angel, he no longer wants to “repudiate his bride, but takes her with him,” Pope Francis said, explaining that Joseph welcomed Mary with full knowledge and love for “he who in her was conceived by the marvelous work of God, for whom nothing is impossible.”
“Joseph, a humble and just man, teaches us to always trust in God, to let ourselves be guided by him with willing obedience,” said the Pope.
He concluded his Christmas Angelus meditation with the point that truly it is Mary and Joseph who introduce us “to the mystery of Christmas.” That “Mary helps us to put ourselves in an attitude of availability to welcome the Son of God in our concrete lives, in our flesh.”
And that “Joseph spurs us to always seek the will of God and to follow it with full trust.”
GMA NEWS NETWORK
MMDA: Traffic in Metro Manila lighter since Christmas break began Published December 21, 2016 2:20pm
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday said it has monitored a reduction of traffic in the metropolis since the Christmas vacation of schools started.
"Maraming dahilan kung bakit nitong araw ay talagang ramdam nating less congested ang EDSA. Una rito, nasa Christmas break din halos lahat ng mga estudyante," MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a report by Tina Panganiban-Perez on Balitanghali.
Pialago also credited the "nose in, nose out" traffic policy of the MMDA for provincial bus terminals in Cubao, which took effect on December 15, for the lighter traffic situation in the metropolis recently.
"Siguro isa na rin dito yung hindi pagbalandra ng mga provincial buses, at yung iba rin nating kababayan ay maaaring nakapagbakasyon na," she said.
Under the traffic policy, provincial buses are prohibited from entering and exiting their terminals from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Buses are only allowed access to their terminals through Denver and Maryland Streets in Cubao, and other side streets surrounding Timog Avenue in Quezon City.
Taxis and private vehicles are also not allowed to disembark passengers along EDSA under the "nose in, nose out" policy. — Joseph Tristan Roxas/VVP, GMA News
GMA NEWS --CHRISTMAS MESSAGES FOR THE SENATE
Senators share views on the country's state in Christmas messages Published December 25, 2016 12:59am
Senators on Christmas Eve posted their holiday messages and took the opportunity to either celebrate the progress made by the Duterte administration or give voice to their concerns over the government's policies.
Senate President Koko Pimentel's message of solidarity with President Rodrigo Duterte's calls for peace declared his support for the unilateral ceasefire with "rebel forces."
"At no time in four decades has our nation been closer to long-lasting peace than now. Let us pray that we achieve this in 2017," Pimentel declared.
Pimentel also characterized the signing of the General Appropriations Act 2017 as a holiday gift and encouraged people to be thankful for the "Budget for Change."
"In this budget we are sharing the nation’s blessings to all our countrymen in the form of free tuition in State Universities and Colleges, free irrigation for farmers, and free health insurance coverage for all, and well distributed strategic infrastructure works, among others," wrote the Senate president.
"We have a lot planned for next year. We need to prepare our bodies, hearts, and minds for the hard and challenging work ahead. So let us all take this time to recharge our batteries with courage, fortitude, and steadfastness," Pimentel added.
A Christmas miracle
DE LIMA- 'President Duterte to wake up on Christmas day with "full control of his faculties"
'Senator Leila De Lima, who had spent the year in a vicious conflict with the president, called on the government to respect human rights in her Christmas message.
Hoping for a miracle, De Lima said that she wished for President Duterte to wake up on Christmas day with "full control of his faculties" and give the gift of the nativity by "respecting every Filipino's right to live as they were born in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ."
De Lima further stated that her wish was "for a Christmas miracle, where the President orders an end to all summary executions, whether by the police or by the death squads roaming our streets, especially during this season of hope and salvation with the coming of our Savior to our home and to our families."
She also hoped that the "Holy Spirit and the Son and the Father" visit President Duterte to bless him and his family "with the gift of life and the grace of kindness and compassion to their fellow human beings."
LP SENATORS - MORE NEUTRAL
Senators Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, and Bam Aquino were more neutral in their tone.
HONTIVEROS SHARED VIDEO ON FACEBOOK
Hontiveros released a video in praise of OFWs and a call for "pause muna, peace muna", while Pangilinan shared a video of the lights on their Christmas tree twinkling to music.
Meanwhile, Aquino and his staff gave a simply greeting to all Filipinos. — Aya Tantiangco Miura/DVM, GMA News
GMA NEWS NETWORK (A REPOST)
MMDA unveils Christmas, airport loops that avoid the holiday traffic jams Published December 2, 2014 11:49pm
GMA NEWS VIDEO
With Metro Manila's roads expected to be heavily congested during the holiday season, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has unveiled Christmas and Airport Loops that bypass traffic-jammed thoroughfares.
There are four airport loops and four Christmas loops, GMA 7 news program "24 Oras" reported Tuesday.
The Christmas loops are:
Brown Loop, from SLEX to MOA SLEX, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Kabihasnan, Coastal Road, Pacific Avenue, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, EDSA, SM MOA
Orange Loop: SLEX to MOA SLEX-Skyway, Dońa Soledad Avenue, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Kaingin Road, Multinational Avenue, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Kabihasnan, Coastal Road, Pacific Avenue, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, EDSA, SM MOA
Red Loop: Makati to Quezon City northbound Estrella, Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Barangka Drive, Nueve de Pebrero, S. Laurel St., A. Mabini, Wilson Street, Ortigas Avenue, N. Domingo, Dońa M. Hemady, Scout Tobias, Scout Borromeo, Panay Avenue, EDSA QC
Blue Loop: Makati to Quezon City southbound EDSA, Scout Borromeo, Scout, Tuazon, Scout Ralios, Mother Ignacia, Scout Reyes, Gmamela Bridge, Broadway, N. Domingo, Pinaglabanan, P. Guevara, Arellano Street, Shaw Blvd., Acacia Lane, F. Ortigas SAt., Primo Cruz, Blumentritt, Coronado, Makati-Mandaluyong Bridg
The four airport loops are:
Maroon Loop: SLEX to Domestic Airport SLEX, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Kabihasnan, Coastal Road or Dongalo Service Road, MIA/NAIA Road, Domestic Road to Airport
Violet Loop: Manila/Makati to Domestic Airport Roxas Boulevard, Airport Road, Domestic Road
Green Loop: Manila/Makati to Domestic Airport SLEX/Skyway, Dońa Soledad Avenue, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Kaingin Road, Multinational Avenue, Ninoy Aquino Avenue, NAIA Road, Domestic Road to airport
Gold Loop: Manila/Makati to Terminal 1 and 2 SLEX/Skyway, Dońa Soledad Avenue, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Kaingin Road, Multinational Avenue, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Ninoy Aquino Avenue, Terminals 1 and 2
GMA News tested the alternate routes Tuesday night and found that it took an hour to get from Quezon City to Makati City using the loops.
Meanwhile, Other measures the MMDA had taken to ease traffic included:
the 11-to-11 mall operating hours Pasig River Ferry System's extended operating hours moratorium on reblocking moratorium on road repair starting Dec. 15 posting of traffic enforcers in major malls on EDSA heightened MMDA visibility during the Christmas season Roxas Boulevard bicycle lane EDSA Christmas shuttle Airport shuttle — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News
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