IN the spirit of the Christmas Season, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has opened the Malacanang Palace grounds to the Filipino people, including the ordinary citizens.
Outright, the people, particularly the Catholics and other Christians, applauded and rejoiced, describing the decision of the President from Ilocos Norte as a “welcome development.”
Without doubt, allowing the general public to view the giant “Malacanang Christmas Tree” and the multi-colored “parols” (lanterns) is a move in the right direction, according to mediamen.
Visitors may also attend the traditional nine-day “Simbang Gabi,” which is held from 4:30 a.m. in front of the Mabini Hall.
“Simbang Gabi” or “Misa de Gallo,” which is one of the most distinctive traditons of Christmas in the Philippines, started on December 16 (Friday) and ends on December 24 (Christmas Eve).
Originally, the “Dawn Masses” were held in Roman Catholic churces in various parts of the country to enable the poor farmers and fishermen to attend mass before going to work.
It is a well-known belief among Catholics that if a devotee is able to complete all the nine days of “Simbang Gabi,” his/her wishes made as part of the novena may be granted.
As announced by President Marcos during last Friday’s Christmas Party for employees of the Office of the President (OPS), visitors may enter Malacanang through Gate No. 6.
Early this month, the Ilocano Chief Executive led the lighting of the giant “Malacanang Christmas Tree” and then spearheaded the gift-giving event in front of the Palace.
Opening Malacanang to the public is ample proof that President Marcos wants to bring the government closer to the Filipino people, including the ordinary citizens.