After the merrymaking

By Penelope A. Domogo, MD

“ Aside from cleaning our surroundings, we need to clean ourselves. ”

We just had the longest holidays this time. I hope everybody found meaning in the activities. For us office workers, we started the holidays in December 21, 2018 which was a working day. I mean, office working day. I would say it was a working day for everybody – whether it was tilling the farm, weaving baskets, cooking in a restaurant, selling goods or home work. For some students, it’s still vacation time. The change of school calendar to coincide with that of schools abroad seems like a good move as this Christmas break is also semestral break so people now have more time for vacation.
I noticed a lot of vehicles roaming the Cordillera this holiday season. Could it be because of the slash in prices of gasoline? Anyway, motorized travel eases mobility of people and goods. I remember when I was younger, we only celebrated Christmas on December 25. Celebration then didn’t mean lechon or cake or coke or excessive eating but going to Christmas mass as a family and receiving poprice and some candies after the mass. Poprice then was not individually wrapped so we would just hold it in our hand and eat. After that we would go caroling house to house in the village and usually we would be invited inside to eat diket or they give candies or sometimes coins. Cash then was very valuable and one centavo could buy five pieces of candy. Yes, 5 pieces. Those were the days. We spent the whole day walking around the village and the whole Christmas break was spent in the village. Stores were closed during the day before Christmas, on Christmas Day, on December 31 and January 1.
Now, during holidays, people are able to roam, not just the village, but the world. With more cash and ease of transportation, people could be in California the other day, Baguio yesterday, Sagada this morning and Besao in the afternoon. Cars make it convenient for families to travel. Cars make it convenient for families to bring goods, especially food, with them as they travel. Especially Filipinos. How we love food! People from the cities would bring all the city food to their country relatives. Even if we are travelling in a bus or a commuter van or commuter jeep, you can be sure we have tons of food as baggage. Yaw iman, ta ramanan da nan macaroni salad. And because macaroni salad has become an icon of better living, stores are now open even during Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, for those whose relatives didn’t bring the ingredients.
All the ingredients of macaroni salad are imported. Whether they are from China or Manila, what I am saying is that these ingredients are not from the Cordillera. Macaroni, mayonnaise, cream, condensed milk, raisins, fruit cocktail, cheese, etc. And if they are imported, therefore, they have to be packed, meaning they are wrapped in a non-edible material. We don’t eat foil, do we? So you can imagine the waste generated by just having macaroni salad as a special dish this Christmas. What about the bags of bread, wrapped in plastic? The bags of candy, again wrapped in plastic, a big one and many tiny ones? And am talking about one family only. Multiply that with how many families in the Cordillera and soon our mountains would be covered with trash, not trees. Even if we just say half of the families, that’s still a problem. A big problem.
How will we clean up after the merrymaking? For those who don’t know about climate change or who simply don’t care for others, they would just burn the packaging. Just burn them out of sight and never mind the toxins generated for everybody to inhale. Or simply dump them around for the dogs and cats and rats to feast on. Vehicles also make it easy for garbage to travel. I noticed a dump of Styrofoam packaging, leftover food and some other mess below the road near our house one morning. It took effort not to let that sight spoil my day. There’s a law prohibiting dumping of garbage along highways, right? And didn’t the Jesus, whose birthday we are celebrating on Christmas Day, say “Love your neighbor as yourself.”?
We have to clean up properly. Some students are still on vacation so they can do this job of segregating and recycling at home. I also suggest the manufacturers of all these packaged foods go on a redemption campaign – they give incentives to those who give back the packaging. Some companies did these in the past so I was able to collect a set of dinnerware in exchange for empty Tide boxes. Mind you, these were paper boxes.
Aside from cleaning our surroundings, we need to clean ourselves. Lucky for those who just celebrated with organic foods, they have less garbage in the outside and in the inside. But for those who feasted on too much sweets, alcohol and hotdogs, adobo, candies, cakes and macaroni salad, it is wise to detox. We don’t have to reinvent nature. We have natural detox mechanisms in our bodies and natural detoxifying agents around us. Physical activities, still, is a must for cleansing our bodies. There’s nothing like making your blood flow faster in your blood vessels- it’s a law of nature. Blood is the cleanser, cleansing those excessive food energies into your urine, breath and sweat. Okay, for those who don’t feel like moving their joints, they can go to a spa and heat up and sweat it out. For others, they would have a good massage. I advise, though, that the person doing the massage should be “cleaner” than you. Meaning, he or she should be eating better than you, otherwise, you will be the one to absorb his or her toxins.
For more detox, eat vegetables and vegetables. Oh my, there are still parties to attend. Well, you can eat anything but in small portions. Taste taste lang. Then you can also take vegetable capsules. These are available already in the Philippines- ampalaya, malunggay, turmeric, mangosteen, etc. Buy from a credible source. Cheers to a blessed New Year!**
Teach us delight in simple things, and mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done, and love to all men ‘neath the sun.” Hymn 506 (1940)

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