Paskong Cagayano, A Celebration of Resiliency

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Wonderful Christmas, Cagayanos! Glowing Christmas lights dangling through the Christmas tree, the brightest star, flaunting its magical and inspiring presence. Like Cagayanos, no matter how much falls on them, keep plowing ahead: it’s the only way to keep the road clear. Such attitude molded Cagayanos today as manifested by his resiliency gelled by a strong family ties, then and now. Such display of oneness among family members is reflected this Christmas season at the building of the Provincial Tourism Office and the Provincial Office for People Empowerment at the Capitol grounds. The building is adorned with various materials symbolic of who the Cagayano is and will always be as we celebrate a Paskong Cagayano.

STAR: While the christmas lantern commonly known as ‘star’ speaks of guidance, enlightenment and a vision, it captures the totality of the season. For the Cagayano, the Star reflects their hope and inspiration for the rest of the year. It likewise denotes festivity.

SANTA in KALESA: The world over, what is Christmas without a Santa? At the Tourism building, Santa comes not with his usual sled of Reindeers but on a horse-drawn rig locally known as Kalesa. The Kalesa speaks of the adventurous spirit of the Cagayano and Santa, as imagined is the father figure of our Governor the Hon. Manuel N. Mamba leading us to the golden years of the Province, packed with his vision and his undaunting, gritty and superfluous experience, out to always look after his flock and represents him and his programs such as – No Barangay left behind (NBLB) and No town left behind (NTLB), Magsakabataan Club Numero Uno, scholarships and a lot more.

Seven imagery completed the entirety of the Christmas adornment namely Caggu ( a bivalve delicacy), coconut, bamboo, Sinabalu, Palay, Corn and Peanut, the last three being the major crops of the province.

CAGGU and COCONUT: Caggu is a natural heritage and represents the endless water resources of the province and a kaleidoscope of bounties from the sea, the mighty Cagayan River and its tributaries. The Cagayano is sturdy and will always be a provider for his family. The coconut shell symbolizes as well our people at the grassroot level belonging to different and diversified ethnic groups. They become the Agkaykaysa, thus, united and one for a cause. Like the coconut where nearly all parts are utilized, so is the Cagayano spirit in times of need; sturdy, unshakeable, unparalled.

SINABALU: Sinabalu is an iconic rice cake of Cagayan and can best represent the Cagayano’s attitude towards family. The bamboos where the rice cake is cooked over slow fire represents the Cagayano home and the cake itself, the family. They stick together, they glue together and go where their hearts are. The Cagayano sees family life as the Sinabalu that eases friction, the cement that speaks of oneness , binding closer together and the music that brings harmony. They become the precious threads.

BAMBOO and CROPS: The Cagayano capacity for burden is represented by the bamboo, far more flexible, pliant than you’d ever imagine. He believes that he had to fight a battle more than once to win it. Palay, corn and peanut are three of the main agricultural crops of the province, a mainstay. It symbolizes the Cagayan spirit of hard work, diligence, patience and determination. Such traits of the Cagayano are embedded in the production of these crops. Prone to natural calamities, like the Cagayano themselves, they always rise to rebuild stronger whatever is lost.

For the Cagayano, let this celebration become a reminder that no matter where we roam, whatever we have been through, the hurdles we have tackled, the failures we have triumph, the difficulties we have championed, every bit and pieces of our hard work, our patience to bear these, the perseverance that goes with it spells the bounty and the beauty we all reap. Because a Cagayano has an unwavering spirit to conquer his hurdles and succeed in every endeavor he ventures himself with. I am a Cagayano… standing firm and tall.. Let our Christmas draw us closer to those we love and pull our hearts home, our Province of Cagayan. Buckle up , we are ready to take off and experience endless fun here in Cagayan! From the Cagayan Tourism Office and the Provincial Office for People Empowerment, isang makabuluhan at maligayang Paskong Cagayano!

Written by: Sally Vitug