WHILE the holiday season is gradually going back to normal for many this year, for the country’s frontliners, they have their own ways of keeping the Christmas spirit alive even on duty.

Thomasian nurse Rhia Alvarez said noche buena with her family will still push through despite having a shift at the UST Hospital emergency room on Christmas Eve.

“Lahat tayo gusto makasama ang family during Christmas and holiday season, kaya lang it’s our call of duty din po,” she said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

“Mag pe-prepare na po ng pang noche buena para sa bahay bago pumasok ng duty then baon po ng konti para may pag[sa]saluhan kami sa work habang naka duty po,” she added.

For Alvarez, it is her commitment as a frontliner even if it requires her to significantly reduce the time she will be spending with her family.

But she will still be celebrating the holidays with loved ones as she considers her UST Hospital co-workers as her “second family.”

She will also push through with her own family’s long-standing tradition of going to mass on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, for Thomasian nurse Bangie Agay-yong, her Christmas will be spent taking care of patients in the Sta. Rosa ward of the UST Hospital.

Agay-Yong, who is from the Mountain Province, said that due to poor internet service, she and her family will have to settle with text messages to greet each other a “Merry Christmas” and to make up for their absence.

“Ever since na nag-work na ako dito sa Manila, di na ko nakakasama sa pamilya ko mag-celebrate,” she told the Varsitarian.

“Nagsesend lang ako ng message ‘pag mareceive nila kasi ang province ko ay Mt. Province [at] wala kasing signal dun,” she added.

While both Alvarez and Agay-yong may have to work during the busiest time of the year, the promise of home and celebrating Christmas with family makes the 8-hour shifts worth it.

For Alvarez, her family eagerly awaits for her to come home after her shift ends. And for Agay-yong, despite the long distance, she still finds ways to wish her loved ones a merry holiday even virtually.

Together, along with other frontliners, their commitment to their jobs has allowed for Filipinos to finally enjoy the Christmas season normally once more.

Alvarez has been serving as a nursing assistant for 15 years at the UST Hospital while Agay-yong has been a staff nurse for four years. Faith Nicole S. Gelacio


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