In the Philippines, we celebrate Flores de Mayo, where we have procession or what we called "Sagala." It's like a parade of queens and princesses! There are girls in pretty gowns with beautiful flowers to be offered to Mama Mary-mother of Jesus. It was a wonderful experience that I got a chance to participate in this tradition together with my brother as my escort. But this year was different, no more parades and festivals because of the pandemic. Yet, our little town continued by having other ways to celebrate safely at home. We did virtual Santacruzan for cute little girls.
I am always excited whenever we visit our grandfather, who lives in a nearby province, because I love family gatherings! An awesome day trip with family, lots of food and stories to tell, and most of all I can play with my cousins again-Woohoo! It's going to be a lovely day! My grandpa's backyard is by the lake and has lots of trees and chickens, so we could get some shells, eggs, and fruits. The main dish would always be grilled milkfish prepared by our grandpa. Before we went home, we witnessed the pink sunset. It was special because I watched it with my loved ones.
I got curious why the patroness of our town, St. Martha de Pateros, has a crocodile under her image. Then, I found out in folklore that she saved Pateros's livelihood from a giant crocodile who attacked the ducks. We commemorate and celebrate her bravery during a fiesta in our town, but, in this time of pandemic, there are no more processions and events, such as "Tiangge," "Ati atihan," Balut Festival, and "Pagoda." The relatives of my mom are devotees of St. Martha, and they celebrate at home through dancing "Fandango" and feasting for the family. I love eating Pateros's products, like balut, penoy, itlog na maalat, fried itik, bibingka, and inutak.
One of the bright sides during quarantine is that my family as well as our neighbors started gardening by using containers for our plants. I am also grateful that our small community in the middle of the city is getting greener now. With this, we can eat some vegetables which we planted in our little garden on the rooftop. Additionally, I also love to see beautiful flying creatures around our place which I haven't seen before. I wish for them and the plants to live longer in this city and keep our air clean and fresh. It is a wonderful feeling to segregate waste and be able to use compost as our organic fertilizer.
This October, we paid tribute to our amazing teachers in celebration of World Teachers Day through a virtual presentation. It was an honor to be one of the performers who shared talents to show appreciation. I consider them as one of the real heroes today because of their hard work even during this time of pandemic; they still manage to teach us passionately in spite of the challenges in online classes. At this event, I was tasked to play my piano, and I sang a "Fight Song" for them to commemorate their love and care for us-their students. I love singing especially for the people whom I adore and love.