Christmas is the most awaited season every year. Everywhere you go, Christmas is just around the corner. From gift-giving to carol-singing, traditions are relived once the Yuletide season comes. Of course, our very own Ateneo Gabay, is not exempted from these Christmas traditions. Aside from the crowd’s favorite Caroling season, the annual Gabay Christmas party is also part of the organization’s Yuletide customs.
This year, the party’s theme was Pasko sa Barrio, an idea that has been present for the past three years and has finally materialized in 2014’s Gabay Christmas party. The program was hosted by Louie Cartagena and Shiph Belonguel, and started with a prayer led by Clarice Cortes, followed by the opening remarks of the project heads, Rianna Bautista and Kelvin Cabildo. According to them, the theme was such because it was due time to go back to our roots, at the barrio, where we can celebrate Christmas with our family and friends.
To introduce the barrio atmosphere, a group dynamics entitled Maria goes to GaBarrio was facilitated. The game was a relay, except that participants had to dress up in Filipiniana, camisa de chino for the men and baro’t saya for the women. The four Angkans competed for the game and in the end, Dikaiosyni placed first. Afterwards, GADs, Gabay’s dance group performed and taught some simple traditional dance moves.
Another piece of the organization’s traditions is the Angkan scheme. Incorporated in the Christmas party was the Angkan Talent. Just like a real beauty pageant, the Angkan couples showcased their wit and talents together with their respective Angkans. Before the anticipated Question and Answer portion, Gabayanos had their dinner, graced by a song number from GaBand’s Mika Roque, Chelai Roque, Jay-Ar Prado and Dan Soltes. Shortly after, the question and answer portion commenced. Each candidate was tasked to choose a person from the panel of judges, Eldon Mabutin, Duane Ani, and Ian Blanco, who would ask them a question. The contestants responded with witty answers that made the audience cheer at the top of their lungs.
Finally, the hour of the much-awaited Angkan Talent came. The portion kicked-off with Dynami’s heart-stopping and alluring dance number by their couple, Al Bontogon and Niña Gochy. It was followed by Dikaiosyni’s Chelai Roque and King Palmea’s rendition of Almost is Never Enough by Ariana Grande, with the accompaniment of their ukelele and guitar and Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. As for Pallikaria’s couple, Jomar Arce and Ceara Agay, they amorously interpreted the songs Baby it’s Cold Outside and Thinking Out Loud; while Synesi’s Gian Galang and Dani Carreon sang High School Musical’s Breaking Free melodiously. In the end, Dikaiosyni’s Chelai Roque and King Palmea received the Witty Couple Award and Best Photo Award. Dynami’s Al Bontogon and Niña Gochy won the Best Talent and prevailed in the Angkan Couple contest, followed by Dikaiosyni, Synesi, and Pallikaria.
The night ended with a simple exchange gift session, wherein members wrote a message to the person they wanted thank or greet this Christmas. And of course, Gabay’s Executive Committee, SURGE performed a superb dance interpretation of Shake it Off by Taylor Swift.
More than the awards and merry-making, the smiles on each Gabayano’s face, knowing that they have a family outside their family, is what’s far important. Indeed, this has been another memorable Christmas party that each member will truly treasure as they go home to their own barrios.
Article written by Zsazsa Duka, 1 AB DipIR