Christmas greetings from my family to yours! Merry Christmas, everyone.


“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” – George Bernard Shaw

With the holidays over, I can’t help but reflect on the blessing of family. You see, it’s tradi-tion that extended family on my mom’s side gather together every Christmas. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember and I can’t thank God enough for this grace.

It’s funny to see how much the second generation, that’s my cousins and I, have grown yet in more ways than one, we still are kids at heart. Yes, we all have our own lives to live. Most of us are already married, have begun our own families, and moved elsewhere, both here and abroad. And yet, our compound in Sibulan is the destination every Christmastime. Without a doubt, here is what we will always consider as our collective home.

It can’t be denied that the bond my cousins and I have is a direct reflection of how close my mom and her siblings are. They all share an inspiring story — that of overcoming poverty and consequently enjoying the fruits of all the hard work they put in through the years. My mom and two aunts now own schools of their own. Still another aunt holds a top position at USAID. Two of my uncles have their own companies. This is testament to two beliefs that I hold dear: one, we can always change our stars should we put our heart and soul into it; and two, adversity, when handled right, empower us and strengthen our relationships.

While my cousins and I already live relatively comfortable lives, we constantly look up to those who come before us. We’ve got HUGE shoes to fill so we better start putting in the work as early as now, if only to deserve the title Meon and Laling Remata’s next generation.

I look at the little ones and I can only hope that they, too, will enjoy the kind of love and happiness that we experience whenever we’re all together. We laugh over the simplest things. We take pictures like millennials (well, some of us still are) and constantly populate our respective social media spaces with said images, much to the annoyance of our followers, I bet. We bond over food and more food with countless stories to last a lifetime. Truly, this blessing of family is but an earlier heaven.

The first generation of Meon and Laling Remata with their respective life (and love) partners.

To everyone, I pray that you had a meaningful celebration of Christmas. And to those who long for the love of family, please know that family goes beyond blood. There are people in our lives who may not be biologically linked with us, but in so many ways, they’ve become an indispensable part of our lives. I pray for you love, healing, forgiveness.

To 2020 and beyond!