Fuente Christmas Tree in the eyes of passersby

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 30,2021 - 08:30 AM

The still unfinished Christmas Tree inside the Fuente Osmena Circle.    | Pegeen Maise Sararana

CEBU CITY, Philippines — In this busy and frenetic place where people and cars pass by, was there a time that one was able to contemplate what does that Christmas tree shimmering with decors inside the circle means?

A Christmas tree, in most cases, symbolizes new life. In this second year since the pandemic stalled most of the public’s activities, was there a new life for everyone? There might be but this comes differently.

Here are some stories of people who in one way or another find hope and relevance in the Fuente Osmena Christmas Tree.

Lady guard living her dream life

Ritchelle Cole, 29, a lady guard from Tabuelan town but currently residing in barangay Banilad here, has been a security guard for eight months now but has only been assigned guarding the giant Christmas Tree since November 17, 2021. She works 12 hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Who would have thought that her resignation from a previous job would lead her to her long-time dream? Yes, she dreamed to be a lady guard. Serving the people was what she wanted ever since. Cole is a breadwinner.

“Nangandoy gyud ko nga mahimong lady guard dugay na unya naa man opportunity so gi grab gyud nako. Since highschool, mao jod na akoa. Ganahan jod ko mag lady guard, police, or military pero di man nato makaya so kani usa,” Cole added.

(I long dreamed to become a lady guard and since an opportunity came, I immediately grabbed it. Since high school, I already knew that this is what I wanted, to be a lady guard, police, or to be in the military but since I still can’t afford the latter, I will have to live with this first.)

Cole said that if there is any chance that she will be given the opportunity to pursue her dreams either in the police or military service, she will take it immediately. However, as she has responsibilities at home, she is content with what she has for now and will just make the most out of it. Cole considers her present job as an early Christmas gift.

([Early pinaskuhan] oh, maka-ana gyud ko kay ngano kay ganahan gyud kaayo ko ani. Love gyud nako bisag dili kaayo ingun nga dako gyud ang sweldo pero ganahan kaayo ko. Ganahan ko mu serve ug mutabang og mga tawo. Labi na og makakita gali ko og kanang gustong mulabang nga mga tawo, kinahanglan nga atoa sad na nga tabangan,” she said.

([This is an early Christmas gift], I can really say it because this is what I really wanted since I was young. I love this job even if the take-home pay isn’t that big. I like to serve and help people, for example, those who wanted to cross the road, I always have the urge to help them out.)

As she takes charge of everything attached and surrounding the Christmas tree, this also reminds her of how beautiful life is even if it is full of challenges. Despite the storms she encountered, Cole said she is living the life she dreamed she would have.

Motorcycle riders

Motorcycle drivers are among those who are frequently seen on the streets. So what does a motorcycle driver have in mind when he sees the looming Christmas Tree inside the Fuente Circle?


This was what comes to Richard Legarte’s mind when he sees the giant tree in the Fuente Osmena Circle.

Legarte of Mandaue City and an Angkas driver said he is filled with hope every time he sees Cebu’s towering Christmas icon as he passes by the area onboard his motorcycle.

Legarte was among the drivers who were forced to stop driving because of the pandemic. He has shifted as a food delivery man to survive. But since Angkas drivers are now allowed to operate, Legarte is back bringing customers to their destinations.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has tested everyone’s faith, trust, accountability, among other human traits. However, as time justifies faith and trust, almost two years have passed and people are still fighting the unseen enemy in order to survive.

“Mao nay timailhan nga naa pa tay pag-asa. Makahinumdum ko nga naa gihapoy [paglaum] di gyud mawala. Padayon lang gihapon ta bisag mao ni ato naagian, kalisod, pandemic, padayun gihapon ta,” Legarte said.

(That tree is proof that we still have a chance. We must be reminded to be hopeful at all times. We continue despite the hardships we face, such as this pandemic. We must continue and strive on. )

For Legarte, time is proof that everyone can surpass everything. Looking back on those times when the pandemic was at its peak, Legarte said it was like being confronted with a steep and dangerous mountain. With patience, prayers, and hope, he said the people can surmount all their battles and obstacles.

How about you?


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TAGS: Christmas 2021, Christmas season, Fuente Circle Christmas Tree, interpretation

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