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How to Celebrate Christmas During Covid-19

The Philippine government has implemented travel restrictions in random areas to curb the spread of the Covid-19. In effect, Filipinos are unable to travel to visit relatives during the coming holiday and even shopping options are limited. While shopping online is convenient, it does not have the same experience as going out with friends and family. Likewise, the coming Christmas season is going to be difficult to observe. Thankfully, the internet is allowing people to still meet up and socialize through the use of social media platforms like Facebook or Zoom.

Filipinos celebrate Christmas as early September, it starts small until it reaches a crescendo on Christmas eve. Celebrations are primarily composed of singing, dancing, eating, and exchanges of gifts. The tradition remains strong so how are some Filipinos coping or what plans are in store at the end of the year.

To paraphrase 22-year-old media relations specialist Hermie Ansay-Rivera, it’s a great thing that Filipinos are already knowledgeable in the use of Zoom as this app will allow her to hold virtual reunions with relatives from Nueva Ecija.

“I think it is a great thing that we are already oriented in the use of Zoom when conducting conferences as you could connect with your family even if they are abroad. You can do virtual reunions with them,” she stated.

She stated that before this whole mess she would typically just take a bus to get to her home province for the Christmas season. But due to the pandemic, brought about by the Coronavirus, she has no choice but to do things virtually such as holding a virtual “Noche Buena” while she stays in her place in Sampaloc.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patient Tony Velasco of Paranaque has a similar plan as Hermie. He plans to hold virtual celebrations via Facebook and Zoom. At least for him, he really won’t be alone as he still has his siblings, nephews, and grandchildren with him.

Meanwhile, in the city of Malabon, digital payment platforms will serve as a means to deliver cash gifts to her godchildren for Mike Soliven. According to her, social media platforms like Facebook are her go-to solution when trying to communicate with relatives since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“Simbang Gabi” is a tradition where Catholic Filipinos attend 12 masses in the evening, 12 days (1 evening mass per day) before the eve of Christmas. Unfortunately, mass gatherings of people are not allowed, regardless of the nature of the said gathering. But this hasn’t stopped Walter Lopez of Malabon from improvising. The nightly masses are being broadcast on television and he plans to just set up a sound system at home to allow the mass to be heard, on top of the shutting of the lights to focus on the mass. Now, this is something he would only do if crowd gatherings won’t still be allowed by the time those 12 days roll in.

Lastly, Jeca Marie Alejo Curammeng, also from the city of Malabon, states that she will remain at home to observe the minimum health protocols, meet with relatives via social media, and still cook some traditional Christmas meals even with no guests to expect.

The Christmas season is coming in just a few months, despite the fear and hardship brought about by the pandemic is bad enough so, for some Filipinos, it still not enough to stop the celebration even if jobs are unstable right now or even outright gone, many Filipinos have opted to look for alternative means to earn. But even so, there may still not be enough to fund a small celebration. Celebrating Christmas does not have to be one grand party. If you are by yourself or with just a few relatives, small cash is more than enough.

One way to obtain the cash is by a small loan. Robocash is a Philippine service that allows individuals to emergency loans philippines. The requirements are not strict compared to a bank and so anyone can apply for a loan.

For Filipinos, this is a great solution to cover celebration costs so what are the requirements exactly?

Some of the requirements are as follows.

  1.   The applicant must be of legal age from 18 but must not be above 70 before the end of the loan term.
  2.   For individuals who are employed, a government-issued ID or ID issued by the employee or company is required like a driver’s license or passport. For people running a business, a photocopy of their DTI certificate is required.
  3.   A valid phone number or mobile number.
  4.   The applicant must create an online account on the Robocash website.

How much money can be borrowed? First-time borrowers can take out cash from PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 10,000.00 without interest and only after this initial loan has been paid off can the borrower borrow higher amounts from PHP 10,000.00 to PHP 25,000.00. This is for short term loans that last from 7 to 30 days. But to be safe, remember to practice proper financial management. Borrow only what is necessary. We know this pandemic has made things more stressful than it already is so the last thing we need is to be buried in debt. What matters is that we make the most of the tiny blessings we receive every day even if it comes in the form of a quick loan.