2017 December Foreword

A Christmas Reflection

Christmas brings back a lot of nostalgic memories of my youth: the Latin Pastorel songs in the the dawn masses at our parish church in Calinog, Iloilo, the inexpensive exchange gifts bought from the Chinese store near the town plaza, the Ray Conniff Christmas songs played loudly on Akai quadrosonic stereos of the well-to-do, the carollings in private homes heralded by the song: “O Señor Tagbalay…” an Ilonggo version of the plight of St. Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin pleading for the generosity of the homeowner, our family’s simple Christmas meal, and our individual gifts from our parents sealed in white envelopes as our share in the annual coffee farm produce.

Those were the days when malls were a thousand of miles away, when cellphones and gadgets were unheard of, the internet and wi-fi were not the norm, and children’s toys were merely small imitation wooden trucks, and plastic guns/dolls. We did not have the present-day comforts and conveniences of millennials, yet we enjoyed Christmas and celebrated it simply and meaningfully.

In my opinion, the best message of Christmas is its simplicity.

Let’s consider the case of the Holy Family when Jesus was born: they had no electricity, yet the angel of the Lord provided them a very bright light; they had nothing with them, but the Magi gave them gold, frankincense, and myrrh; they had neither friends nor relatives around, but the shepherds, the Magi, the animals, and the angel kept them company and were privileged to be the first worshippers of the baby Jesus.

Simplicity brings us back to the basic things in life and makes us disregard the unnecessary. It forces us to make-do and cling to God for His love, mercy, and compassion.

At the end of it all, Christmas is simply a proof that God loves us all and will provide for our needs.

Anju Castigador
"Fray Anju" is the youngest of six children of the Spouses Juan Castigador and Paz Concepcion of Calinog, Iloilo. After his high school graduation from Mary Immaculate Academy of the OP-Molo in 1976, he joined the Dominican Order and was sent to Aquinas University in Legaspi City for his postulancy. On May 12 of the following year, he received the Dominican habit in Iloilo City where he received his novitiate formation. On May 13, 1978, he took his simple profession in Santo Domingo Church where he stayed as a student-brother. After his college graduation from the Dominican House of Studies and upon the expiration of his vows, he left the religious life and studied law at the Ateneo de Manila University. His professional exposure includes working at the Office of the Solicitor General, being General Counsel of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc., managing partner at the Alpaño Angeles & Castigador Law Offices, Customs collector, Vice President Legal Group of Philsteel Holdings Corp., and currently Chairman of the Board of Pacific-Atlantic Business Management Consulting, Inc. In January 2017, he assumed the presidency of Filii Sancti Dominici Philippinensis, Inc. Anju is happily married to Dr. Ma. Corazon Mendoza-Castigador with whom he has two children.

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