Evacuees in quake-hit areas in Davao del Sur will celebrate the traditional noche buena or Christmas Eve feast even as aftershocks continue to rock the area.
But in place of the usual noche buena fare, many quake victims will be celebrating Christmas Eve using relief goods. And instead of gathering in their homes, many will be holding the Christmas Eve feast in evacuation centers.
Laynie Aying, an evacuee, will make do with the relief goods they received in an evacuation site in the town of Magsaysay.
She and many of the 200 families from the B'laan tribe were prohibited from cultivating their farms in Barangay Tagaytay, as landslides threatened the area.
Despite this, she remains thankful.
"Nagpapasalamat kami sa Panginoon dahil iniligtas niya kami," she said.
(We thank God because He saved us.)
Many of the evacuees in Matanao town will also spend the holidays in tents, including Monaliza Habuhab, who is cooking Adobo for Noche Buena.
"Nangutang lang kami ng karne tapos loaf bread. Iba talaga sa mga nagdaang Pasko na wala pang lindol," Habuhab said.
(We loaned meat and loaf bread. It's really different from previous Christmasses before the quakes.)
Evacuees are all praying for the earthquakes to stop.
An aftershock was felt in Kiblawan town Tuesday noon, while evacuees were grilling pork and other dishes for noche buena. They said they have become used to ground shaking. But sometimes the tremors can be quite strong.
"Masaya kami dati, nagtitipon-tipon kami. Pero iba talaga ngayon dahil sa takot na aming nararanasan," evacuee Irish Mae Calago said.
(We were happy before, we would gather. But it's really different now because of the fear we feel.)
Despite fears of aftershocks and worries about their situation, evacuees said they are still happy to celebrate Christmas.
The evacuees hope that people and the government will continue to help them until they recover and rebuild their homes.