Christmas at Marikina Riverbanks

I drove to Marikina Riverbanks the other day because I was feeling a bit down. I thought some exposure to nature would make me happy. Well, I sat down by the river but the experience wasn’t exactly rejuvenating. Assorted garbage floated here and there. The water was murky even under the sunlight. And the sight matched the stench. I felt even more depressed. “It’s such a shame,” I thought. Marikina River must have been a wonderful river. And having some place nice to go could have been a treasure for city people like me.  It’s such a shame that more and more generations are deprived of beauty that could really have been.

But then, the place turns into something very different at night; it comes to life! I went back to Marikina Riverbanks and saw some great stuff and activities outside the mall beside the river. The place turned out to be a nice venue to spend time with friends or with a loved one without spending too much. I would even recommend that you check it out. The guard told me that the place is open every night until 12 midnight up to January 16. Here’s the place at night:

Romance and Friendships

Shopping and Bargains

Of course, I have to make special mention: Under the “shopping and bargains” category are also motorcycle stuff and riding gear.

*As mentioned in one of the captions, the helmets are locally made and bear BPS (Bureau of Product Standard) stickers. For more information about this, please refer to my other blog post ICC Stickers for Helmets to Mark the New Year, to Information on the Safety of Motorcycle Helmet by DTI, and Manila Standard Today‘s report about DTI’s requirements.

Food and Drinks

Rides and Games

What I saw in Marikina Riverbanks is the Filipino’s undying spirit— the Filipino’s undying capacity to smile in the midst of problems, to give despite hardships, to find humor in the simplest things and to celebrate life no matter how difficult life may be. The sordid state of the river has not prevented many from riding boats, dating along the banks, shopping and enjoying family time. The tiangge, the rides and all the food remind me of how we Filipinos like putting things together– as we often also do when we decorate our jeepneys, when we mix the main course with the dessert when we eat at parties, and when we prepare halo-halo. All these mark celebration.

I think this smile sums it all up.
I think this smile sums it all up.

At the end of the day; however, after January 16, when the Christmas lights have been turned off and when the decorations are once again put back in their boxes, we have to remember to clean up the river (and many other rivers). After all, Christ came into our the world on that first Christmas to change this world because God meant it to be “very good“. May our celebration remind us of a common hope for a better world and give us the strength to transform our everyday lives, hard work and, yes, even rivers into something that is always worth celebrating.