Ads & Ends
Nanette Franco-Diyco

OVER THE WEEKEND, my daughter and I went around the metropolis savoring a little of Christmas “before the real Christmas rush thoroughly dissipates one’s energies.”

We started with a very late lunch at Wildflour in Makati City that extended to the late afternoon. It was an altogether pleasant surprise for a favorite adman, Raul Castro, president of McCann Global, to hop to our table while we were having our gallons of coffee and Wildflour’s wildly scrumptuous desserts. That afternoon, Raul displayed a lovely, self-deprecating sense of humor.

Before we gulped down our nth cup of coffee, Ariel Comia, a long lost friend, now president and chairman of PC&V Communications, popped in, recently arriving from a four-day Christmas vacation with his entire agency in Japan. Both Raul and Ariel were thoroughly relaxed and joyful, their “slow-down-refocus period” for sure.

Here, let me extol the virtues of just passing by.

Passing the nearby Don Bosco Church for a quick visit, just in the nick of time, we chanced upon its giant Christmas tree about to be lit, the many parols signifying varied donations from its community. We caught sight of little angelic girls all costumed in pink because the Sunday Mass the next day was Advent’s pink Sunday. Christmas carols filled the air, singers harmonizing with gusto right in the parking lot!

We drove out of the Makati area, past all of the glimmering awesome red lights of the Ayala Triangle, with the subdued white designs of little churches all lit amid capiz white flowers along the main streets. I found Bonifacio Global City’s giant red ribbons all lit up on its islands and the traffic lights turning on and off with meticulously designed little pine trees and the symbolic star. Very clever!

We couldn’t pass the Taguig area without a long stopover at Aura, my own personal favorite of all malls. We literally closed the mall, but ‘twas well worth it.

I actually went home with all of my Christmas gifts selected, purchased, Christmas-wrapped, and all readied for delivery! Eat your heart out!

You cannot possibly allow Christmas to come and go without spending a few minutes visiting a belen. A belen is, of course, the Nativity scene of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in a manger. A belen can have shepherds with their lambs, the Three Kings with their 3 camels, and horses, and cows in the stable where our savior was born.

I strongly recommend that you go out of your way to Escriva Street in Ortigas and visit an astonishingly beautiful and inspiring belen in the Stella Orientis Church, at the back of the University of Asia & the Pacific. While you’re there, you can grab the opportunity to go to confession for Christmas. Priests alternate in the confessional from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays.

I caught a couple of Christmas TV commercials produced by McCann and immediately saw a traditional church highlighted as a backdrop to two of the series. Call it a fusion of a good drink and a great inspiration.

They’re good reminders to visit designated jubilee churches up to November 2016 as part of Pope Francis’ declaration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Within the nearby cities are the Manila Cathedral, the Immaculate Conception Basilica in Cubao, the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati, Santuario de Santo Cristo in San Juan City, the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Mandaluyong City, and Our Lady of Sorows Parish Church in Pasay City.

Call it the best way to have a happy and holy Christmas and New Year!

Nanette Franco-Diyco ended her 15th year advertising career as Vice-President of JWT, segueing into the world of academe, currently teaching communications at the Ateneo de Manila University.