I am still in a festive mind-frame that I can’t just let Christmas go without sharing to you how Filipinos in Muladdah have come to celebrate the holiday season. In this little town about 116kms away from the urban capital of Muscat, there’s a growing “Pinoy” community of lively, united, and free-spirited people that we even consider each other as one family.
For most Overseas Foreign Workers, which called ourselves as OFWs, it’s pretty typical to find your own fellow countrymen in the foreign land, to flock together, and then evolved into a community. The people you find most comfortable within the group will eventually compose your so-called circle of friends. I guess my readers and anyone working abroad will agree with me. It was my first experience to work abroad and I came to Oman all by myself. I felt alone, isolated, and lonely. But I was grateful for this bunch of nice people that I was able to survive and eventually had a comfortable life until my husband and son followed a year after.
The Filipino Community that my family belongs to was composed of staff working in a ministry college as lecturers or technicians. Over the years, the group expanded when some staff brought their wives, kids, and family. Most of us were neighbors, living in the same block, and our houses were located 15 minutes walk from the college. Normally, after office hours, we visited each other’s home and occupied idle hours with some activities to get rid of boredom and homesickness like playing basketball and badminton, watching movies, or chitchat over a potluck dinner. This way, we became close as a family and united as a community.
Since 2007, we never failed to celebrate Christmas because we believe in the essence of the festivity and it’s our own way to express our gratefulness to Jesus Christ of His goodness to us all. We hosted gatherings and everyone was involved from venue preparation to food assignment. Since most of us were sharing an accommodation to cut cost on rent (but my family occupies a flat on our own), we were grouped by households and were given assignments. This year my family was tasked for the buffet table arrangement. I used our table satin clothes of red and ivory color. My sister and I did a simple table skirting and decorating.
My younger sister and I were so glad that the buffet table was filled with sumptuous homemade cuisines by each households. I brought creamy chicken broccoli and ice-box cake. The party was scheduled on the 30th, five days after Christmas Day, and a short program started at 8 o’clock in the evening. To add enjoyment in the celebration, there were party games like charades, egg relay, apple eating contest, and “videoke singing competition” and each household members were in their assigned team colors. My family was wearing purple, my fave color by the way. Each team was required to deliver a performance by which my sister sang a song “You to me are everything”. Then there was gift-giving to small kids in the community. During the Bingo Game, my friend Sophia won an 8-GB flashdisk while my husband got the grand prize of portable speaker that he attached to the desktop computer at home.
The party ended at midnight after the prizes were awarded to the team winners. It was really a happy and fun party. We all felt revived and recharged despite the fact that we truly wished to celebrate Christmas in Philippines. The gathering only proves that whenever we are in the world, there’s always a reason to celebrate Christmas and we are bless to be surrounded with people who love and care for us as well.