Kids once again experienced the joy of Christmas during the unveiling of SM City Baliwag’s latest Holiday attraction, the Christmas Fantasy town. Photo from SM Baliwag

Urban and mountain children welcome ease restriction with early Christmas smiles

By Anton Luis Reyes Catindig 

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan–Children in the mountainous tribe community in this town and in the cities had their shares of early Christmas smiles and joy just after an ease in quarantine restrictions allowed them to go outside of their homes.

While Dumagat tribe children living in Angat Dam watershed areas in this town and adjacent Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) within the Sierra Madre mointain ranges live in COVID-19 free environment, they don’t have toys to play and cheer them up. 

Children in the lowland cities and municipalities on the other hand have toys and computer gadgets, yet, still, they were confided inside their homes for nearly two years and were not allowed to go out to the malls, parks and playgrounds because of the stroct pandemic restrictions.

Recently, just a couple of days after Bulacan has been placed under Alert Level 2 wherein 18 years old and below even unvaccinated can now step their feet in malls and parks, children flock the malls to breathe and experience what they have longed for in months. 

At SM mall in Baliwag, the kids were welcomed with an early bright and shining Christmas with the unveiling of a 30 feet Christmas tree perfectly installed in a marvelous 10-by-13 meter venue inspired by Christmas fantasy town.

“We are on to our second year of celebrating yuletide in the midst of a pandemic, yet the spirit of Christmas never ceases to amaze us. This year is extra special as we are finally given the chance to celebrate it with kids at the mall. That alone gives us hope, that while things may still be different from normal, we are finally gearing towards brighter days, carefully, little by little” shares SM City Baliwag Mall Manager Rodora Tolentino.  

Personnel of PNP Reg. 3 Regional Mobile Force Command under Col. Fitz Macariola during their office early Christmas gift giving to Dumagat tribe members in Sitio Dike, Barangay San Lorenzo, Norzagaray. At the background is the Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s 97% source of water. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

In Sitio Dike, Angat Dam in Barangay San Lorenzo this town and adjacent Sitio Iyak in DRT which is within the Sierra Madre mountain range, Dumagat tribe children received toys, slippers, bags, etc. while their parents received food packs from Col. Fitz Macariola and his troop in the PNP Region 3 egional Mobile Force Battalion.

Macariola and his men and women in the battalion also brought with them a motorized speed boat to bring solar lamps to the Iyak community. 

Macariola told NEWS CORE it is the second time they held a gift giving in the Dumagat communities through the Barangayanihan Legacy Project of President Duterte and its sponsors and partners.