25 December 2013

How Corny is a Hot Christmas Day in Lipa

I am so old school that each year as the festive season approaches, I pray to the good Lord that Christmas Day would be at least cool if not cold. I just find few things cornier than a hot Christmas Day.

Of course, those living in the southern hemisphere will have a thing or two to say about this point of view; and not that I really care. Christmas Day, in case you didn’t know, just happens to be at the height of summer Down Undah.

But you have to understand where I am coming from. Although I was born in the late fifties, in many ways I am still also a relic of the American occupation.

As the holiday season approached, the airwaves were inundated with festive songs of which Bing Crosby’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” was fairly frequently played. Even as a young boy, I quickly made a connection between that White Christmas and snow.


Once upon a time in this city, it was more or less accepted that December would be cold; but January would be so much colder. How did it come to be that in December, one does not even know if the cold would come?
Nobody could have failed to make that connection as, indeed, snow was in the Christmas cards, in the Christmas television specials and the Christmas movies. It was an era when American-made things were still pretty much preponderant.

Then again, the holiday season in Lipa back in the sixties when I was a little boy was also really cold, at least by tropical standards. One sort of learned as one grew up that it would never snow; but one also knew that it would still be cold.

Those days were long before anyone talked about this thing called global warming. While Lipa was already a city, it was also still largely agrarian in nature. There were so many more trees and so much less concrete.

Thus, as soon as the trade winds started to change, one also started to get a whiff of Christmas. Out went the hot sticky winds and in came the pleasant cool ones from the north that by association made one think of the coming holiday season.

When these winds blew briskly, they would whistle like a thousand harpies frolicking. Behind our house inside the Base where there was a golf course, the winds could really run freely and sound really menacing as they did.

Look how things have changed.

We had a family reunion at an ecological resort in Mataas-na-Kahoy on the 23rd and the biggest regret was that nobody had brought swimwear for the pools. While it was not necessarily summer weather, it was a long way from being Christmas weather, too. In fact, I had on a sleeveless shirt and was sweating.

The onset of cool weather as early as October augured well for the holiday season; but, of all things, the hot spell just had to come just as Christmas neared. Christmas Day itself, as everyone who lives here knows, was bright sunshine with hardly a breeze blowing.

How corny is that?

The last significant and prolonged cold spell that I can recall was back in 1994. The northeasterly winds started blowing as early as October; and the cold persisted all the way to late March or early April of 1995.

I distinctly remember this because the city was due to host the Southern Tagalog Regional Athletic Association meet or STRAA. As I prepared my team, the boys dreaded being asked to strip off their shirts for late afternoon shirts-versus-skins scrimmage because of the cold.

The winds were so brisk that the goalkeeper’s kicks were being blown back. It was also disadvantageous to the side that had to play against the wind when attacking.

Of course, when the STRAA came around early the next year, it was comical to see delegates from seaside divisions like Palawan, Romblon, Marinduque and Batangas City suffering from the cold. We had no sympathies for them.

My teams always used to suffer a disadvantage when the STRAA was being hosted by seaside cities and municipalities. In 1995, the shoe was in the other foot.

Once upon a time in this city, it was more or less accepted that December would be cold; but January would be so much colder. How did it come to be that in December, one does not even know if the cold will come?

And while January can still be typically cold, these days it is seldom even like the old days when the cold was really – well – colder!

So, how corny is a hot Christmas Day in Lipa? I cannot even begin to tell you…

Acknowledgment: Top photo from http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com/.

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