bonelos dagu dancing (Photo: Cid Caser/Pacific Daily News)
Editor’s note: This poem, by content coach Duane M. George and reporter Jojo Santo Tomas, was first published Dec. 24, 2000, in the Pacific Daily News. Here it is again.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all over the isle,
The stores were jampacked, lines as long as a mile.
Midnight Masses were done, some as early as 10,
Then it was back to the house, to make kelaguen.
The kids watched wrestling, should have been in their beds,
While visions of boñelos dagu cha-cha-cha’d through their heads.
My five dogs were all barking, as midnight came near,
And Santa came calling, but with carabao, not reindeer.
He landed on the roof with such a bump and a shake
That I jumped up and ran, thinking, “Laña! Earthquake!”
To the window I flew, then I cursed and I muttered,
Because it, like the rest, was still typhoon-shuttered.
So I ran out of the house to our kitchen outdoors,
As the coconut trees swayed along white sandy shores,
Tun Nick and his carabao (Photo: Cid Caser/Pacific Daily News)
When what before my wondering eyes did appear now,
But a miniature bullcart and eight miniature carabao,
With a little manamko’ driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment that it had to be Tun Nick.
With a clatter of big hooves, his carabao they came,
He said “Sst, hoy!” and then called them by name;
Now Junior! Now Nene! Now Tita and Ding!
Hafa Ko! Hafa Doll! Hafa ‘Sus and Ping!
To the top of the pickup! To the top of the tin!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away again!
jingle-belled zori (Photo: Cid Caser/Pacific Daily News)
Tun Nick landed his own sled, right there on our roof,
So I looked for a Polaroid, so I would have proof.
He was dressed all in red, from his foot to his head,
He didn’t wear boots, but jingle-belled zori instead.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
And his nose was red as cheesecake with cherries.
He came down the roof, wondering where he should go to,
And his big bushy beard was as white as some potu.
He had a broad face and a little round tummy,
Which he rubbed happily as he ate guyuria so yummy.
Machete and pugua-cutters (Photo: Cid Caser/Pacific Daily News)
He spoke not a word as he put presents under the tree,
A seven-day bracelet for the wife, a new machete for me.
The kids got scooters, betel nut cutters for Tun Ben,
Then he turned to go and almost knocked over the belen.
Ai adai, it was plenty hot, so he loosened his collar,
Then sprang to the roof and to his team gave a holler.
The carabao flew off, carrying Santa over the sea,
And he yelled out: “Felis Pasgua! And to all, esta ki!”
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