By Jay Bolusa

December 18, 2007 — SIMBANG GABI has started and tonight, I’ll meet some friends for the Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado here at Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York, which is a yearly event sponsored by the different Filipino-American Associations here in New York. Tonight the United Mindoro International Association sponsors the Simbang Gabi led by its very energetic President Juliet Payabyab.

My friends from Palawan, Yolene Palanca, Jeckjeck Bautista and Gelgel Bautista Paras will be there. It will be nice to spend Simbang Gabi with them, especially with Gelgel as she reminds me of Christmas parties at DBP in Puerto Princesa. Back then, we yearly have our Christmas parties with our families included.

Celeste Formoso was one of those kids who were always there because her father Toying belongs to our DBP family. Those were the times we feel the family together, the laughter of the kids playing all those parlor games and their excitement upon winning games: Memories that linger on and on and they come back more often when the cold temperature creeps in here in the states, because back home we never had cold Christmas.

I guess times have changed but feeling never did.

New York is teeming with tourists. I could hardly walk in Manhattan, whether it’s Madison or Fifth Avenues. It is that time of the year that window displays at big department stores are tourist attractions and people would line up just to see them.

There is also the Rockefeller Christmas tree where thousands of people visit yearly and the skating rink down below, where I remember I taught my grandson, Diego, how to ice skate.

Tonight, after the Simbang Gabi, I’ll suggest to my friends if they want me to teach them ice skating. I’ll be glad to do that. At least for the photo-op, they can show their friends when they get back home. That would be a nice remembrance from NYC.

In one of my tsika-tsika with Gelgel, I told her that when I go home for good in Puerto, I’ll go back to teach again in college. She suggested that instead of teaching at my former school, why don’t I just build one and assured me she’ll help me with the mechanics of establishing one. I told her, I don’t want to concern myself about running a school; I just want to teach because I love to teach and I believe there is something I can do about molding the future of our youths. When I go home, I’ll consider myself retired. I just would like to teach for the love of it. That’s it, no business dealings. I just want to be able to do things I love to do that will make me happy. I believe when one comes to a point in life that he can choose what to do and do it anytime at his one pace, THAT IS HAPPINESS. Truly, I want that life when I go back home. C’est la vie! Ciao and God bless!

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