by: Miguel Luis Ignacio
Originally published on December 22, 2017
With the long-anticipated arrival of the Christmas break and the end of a harrowing semester, Ateneo Gabay’s Caroling season began as the semester drew to a close. As the primary fundraiser of the Organization, it’s from this project that funds for other future Gabay efforts are taken.
The project, which is under the Finance Office of Gabay, aims to earn a net revenue of 100,000.00 pesos total, and according to the current Finance Officer, John Paul Sabio, the current earnings of the project are at 111,223.37 pesos and a net revenue of 101,080.12, exceeding the target by more than 1,000.00 pesos.
The project itself is comprised of two main branches: the voice team and the logistics team. A rotating roster of around 20 Gabayanos, the voice team, headed by Kai Bartolome and her Deputy Mariah Salazar, is tasked with performing for the different caroling contacts. According to Mariah, the voice team had a few mishaps this year. “Medyo late na kami nagstart magpractice. Nakakakaba pa kasi onti lang sumali ng caroling this year,” she said.
The logistics team, headed by Jose Anadia and his deputies Louise Dimalanta and Angelo Silverio, is a small group of volunteers tasked with contacting individuals and departments who are willing to let the Voice Team perform for them. Not unlike the voice team, the logistics team also had a few mishaps. “Wala ako masyado experience sa paghahanap ng contacts so there’s that. Plus we had a problem with regards to coordination with carolers sa simula,” Jose said.
This 2017, the logistics team was able to find 26 contacts total, comprised of mostly faculty offices and departments and offices in Ateneo, as well as Gabayano members and Alumni. The performance selection featured classic caroling songs like “Carol of The Bells” and “Pasko Na”, along with Gabay Caroling classics like “Himig ng Hangin” and “Seasons of Love”.
Aside from being a fundraiser, there are still parts of the project that try to give it a more community-building aspect. The project culminates with the Caroling Dawn, a gathering of the caroling team after a night of singing, where they rest, eat, and hear final words and messages from the caroling heads as well as hand out awards for the outstanding carolers, both in singing and deeds. The event would end at sunrise when the carolers gather and sing songs until the sun comes up.
Moreover, the caroling project has always had a different side. Many carolers have their own different takes and experiences with the project, making it more than a fundraising project for them. Many long-time carolers have sentiments from their time as part of the project, and every new season gives something to take away.
Niña Gochy, a Senior and a long-time member of the voice team, says, “More than a fundraiser, isang tradisyong nagcoconnect sa past, present, & future ng Gabay ang caroling. Makikita ito habang nagkukwentuhan ang alumni at carolers kung ano ang Gabay noon at ngayon. Makikita ito sa samahang nabubuo ng mga current carolers. Makikita ito sa kagustuhan ng past at present carolers na matuloy pa ito sa hinaharap.”
Anfernee Bonifacio, a supersenior, says, “For me chance din siya para makilala yung mga alumni, saka yung mga faculty. Nakakatuwa kapag may mga kinarolingan na alumni na excited magshare ng mga time nila sa Gabay, tapos nagbibigay ng mga advice. Tapos siyempre sa mga faculty din. Parang normally stern sila pag inaapproach, pero nakakausap ko na sila pagnagcacaroling.
“The best pa rin pag pumupunta kina Sir Manny D kasi parang yun talaga yung highlight ng lagi natin sinasabi sa caroling na hindi lang funds ang habol natin, kundi para makapagshare din ng saya,” Anfernee adds.
Ateneo Gabay has always had its members as one of its major sectors. Community building is evident in many of its projects, especially caroling. Many of the caroling contacts have become familiar faces over the years, especially the Gabay alumni. The caroling community extends further than just the voice and logistics team, acting in unison and spreading the Christmas spirit as the semester comes to a close as one big family.
“Parang pamilya talaga tayong lahat, nagkakainan, nagtatawanan,” Anfernee adds. Many long-time carolers find happy, sentimental moments during the duration of the project, and always find something new to take home every season, to look forward to for the next, and to remember when they leave.