Early Christmas Celebration with the Kids of Sitio Linao
IT’S CHRISTMAS season again! I am sure that most of the people I know are expecting to receive gifts and bonuses and to attend parties where food and booze overflow. But there are communities where Christmas just comes and goes unnoticed, except maybe for the addition of pancit (noodles) on the dinner table on Christmas eve. Yesterday we went to one such community for an early Christmas celebration they will never forget.
I got invited to join the XPPH (X Photographers Philippines) GenSan chapter’s Christmas outreach at Sitio Linao, Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani Province. XPPH is a community of hobbyist photographers who are using the X-Series cameras of Fujifilm. Although I am a Nikon user, I still joined them. Giving doesn’t require qualifications, anyway.
Sitio Linao is about a 30-minute drive from General Santos. It is a small fishing village composed of families of the Tausug tribe, B’laans, and Christians. The houses in the community stand on stilts and one has to walk through a wobbly wooden footbridge connecting the homes within the community. At the far end of the community, above the seawater, is a multipurpose hall, where we gathered the kids and their parents, too!
The community were not informed of our arrival. I noticed their curious stares when they saw us walking towards the hall, carrying packages, and toting our cameras.
If our presence surprised them, I couldn’t describe their reaction when they saw who else we brought to add more fun to our visit.
Another thing that made the visit a very memorable one for us and for the people in the community is that the memories of our coming together were solidified in photographs, those we stored in our cameras and those we left to them. That was made possible by Instax Cameras — that produce hard copies of photos. Each one of them — both young and old — had photos of themselves.
What I really liked about our visit at Sitio Linao is the spontaneity of it all and the sincerity of the people who organized it. I only met most of those people that day and I found out that they are leaders in their respective communities. You know, they are big people and yet they act with utter humility. If there is some air of pride that I felt in them, it is their pride for their cameras and what they do with it.