">When asked to judge a Philippine Festivals- themed Christmas at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), I immediately looked forward to seeing colorful, festive, indigenous and creative decorations. True enough, the Christmas lanterns, trees and belen (nativity) incorporated the gay celebrations of festivals and Christmas.
Every ward was decorated in a mix of indigenous and recycled materials. Even IV stands had colorful paper fans for the Pamaypay Festival or Dried leaves painted in gold or silver. Christmas trees were made of durian shells representing the Kadayawan Festival, corn husk for Pasko Sa Nayon and masks for the Masskara Festival.
Hallways had bunting or banteritas which made me feel I was in a middle of a town plaza during fiesta. Doctors and nurses wore headdresses, security guards and other hospital personnel had santa hats or masks according to the theme of their ward.
The Administration had a Panagbenga Festival so the hallway was littered with real and paper flowers complete with a wishing well strewn with floating gumamela (hibiscus).
Kadayawan-themed wards like the Pediatrics and the Surgery Department had representatives of the tribes dancing to agong or kulintang.
My favorite Belen (Nativity scene) was that of a Bagobo family enclosed in a big Durian fruit. The Christmas tree made of durian shells was my choice for best Christmas tree and the lantern shaped liked a big maskara was a runaway winner for me.
It was quite obvious that the hospital personnel really put their hearts into making their wards as festive and as happy as possible. Who gained from all the efforts? The patients! There was not a sad or gloomy face when we toured the wards. Even lying in their beds, the patients had smiles on their faces and welcomed us.
If they can be happy while being in the hospital during Christmas, then I say, good job SPMC! Merry Christmas!