The tail end of 2011 will always be memorable for many Kagay-anons, but for a different reason: the wrath and fury unleashed by Typhoon Sendong that killed thousands and washed away entire neighborhoods and communities. Christmas was nothing like the usual. There were still some gifts, a little merrymaking and sparkling lights and decorations; but the usual excitement was nowhere to be found. Instead, hundreds upon hundreds of Kagay-anons spent their Christmas vacation volunteering and helping out in whatever way they can.

In a way, Sendong gave birth to something that made even prouder of being a Kagay-anon. It brought out the Kagay-anons’ kind hearts. Bayanihan was reborn. Heroes were made and discovered. Christmas gained an entirely new meaning for all of us here in Cagayan de Oro.

Now, as 2011 closes its doors, I continue to hope and pray for the best, not only for mys family and for myself, but for all Kagay-anons, especially those who were at the receiving end of Sendong’s fury. I pray that 2012 will be a better one for all of us; that 2012 will bring a new beginning in every sense of the word. I pray that 2012 will be better, brighter, safer and more prosperous for all of us.

And I pray that we’ll all continue to listen and reach out to those who are still groping in the dark as they start to rebuild their lives after the horrific tragedy that befell Cagayan de Oro.

For all the wonderful memories of 2011, let us thank our God, who will always be the beginning and the end. We thank Him, too, for all the heartaches, the defeats, the pain and all the lessons learned. He has greater plans for all of us – and I believe all these wonderful plans will slowly unfold as 2012 opens its doors.

To my family, friends, fellow Kagay-anons – and to all the unsung heroes of CDO – thank you for being a part of my 2011. Let’s stay together and continue everything this 2012.

From Robert W. Service’s “The Passing of the Year”

“And so from face to face I flit, The countless eyes that stare and stare; Some are with approbation lit, And some are shadowed with despair. Some show a smile and some a frown; Some joy and hope, some pain and woe: Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down! Old weary year! it’s time to go.”

Happy new year, CDO! Bangon lang ng bangon!!!

Happy new year, World!

Hello, 2012!

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