The Municipality of Castillejos closed 2018 with a December packed with festivities that started with a solemn lighting ceremony by the entrance of San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish, and culminated in one of the most anticipated events in the town – the Search for Mr. and Ms. Castillejos Pageant.
Below are the highlights of the month in chronological order:Dec. 4 – Thanksgiving and Lighting CeremonyNights in Castillejos are muted for the greater part of the year. Illuminated only by the occasional lamp post and the few establishments that remain open at night, shades of mindnight blue shroud the silent town. In December, however, as a way of celebrating the holidays, a show of vibrant lights paint the heart of the town unveiling a side of Castillejos reserved only for truly special occasions. As such, for an event that only happens once a year, the Lighting Ceremony is considered an event in and of itself.
Held on the grounds near the entrance of San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish, the Lighting Ceremony began after the thanksgiving mass. Candles on hand, glowing in the midst of darkness, the locals and public officials of Castillejos gathered on the parish grounds and welcomed the arrival of the holiday season.
December 7 – Drum and Lyre Competition
The weeks leading to December are, for several reasons, hectic as the locals start to prepare for the holiday festivities. Frequent trips to the municipal park during this preparation period should be a treat, however, as it is an opportune time to observe the production of the competing lanterns, and listen to nearby schools practice for the Drum and Lyre competition. While not in any way an indication of each teams’ final performance, the afternoon serenades of the nearby schools serves as a fine prelude to the actual competition.
The Drum and Lyre Competition was held on the morning of December 7 at the Municipal Pavilion. Castillejos Elementary School emerged as this year’s Champion.
December 12 – DepEd Night
The teachers of Castillejos were given recognition for their hardwork and dedication on the night of December 12. The event brought many past students of the town full circle as they presented their past teachers Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation.
December 16 – Barangay Night
Riding the wave of the previous event, the Barangay Night is a celebration of similar nature but specifically for the Barangay Officials who were recenlty elected earlier in the year.
December 18 – Barangay Health Worker Recognition Day
Of the fourteen barangays of Castillejos, some reach at the far edges of the municipality that it’d take close to an hour to reach the busier parts of the town where the municipal hall, the public market, and the Rural Health Unit are found. Traveling to and from these areas is all the more difficult considering the cost and availability of tricycles – the main mode of transportation. Thus, when medical emergencies arise time and distance tend to work against the people residing in these remote areas. It’s for this reason why Barangay Health Workers are necessary.
Barangay Health Workers are trained volunteers with credentials to perform primary health care services. At least one BHW is stationed per barangay performing various duties assisting the Municipal Health Officer. It is definitely a taxing volunteer work but also one the community crucially depends on. As such, the Municipality of Castillejos gave recognition to the Barangay Health Workers who have served the town. Held on the Municipal Rooftop last December 18, the BHWs were given awards based on their length of service with some spanning over 20 years.
December 19 – Miss Gay Castillejos 2018
Subtitled ‘Battle for the Queen of Castillejos’, Miss Gay Castillejos 2018 was the first of three pageants held last December. Showcasing candidates from the local gay community of Castillejos, the pageant was not only a battle of allure but also of talent and wit. More than being a competition, however, Miss Gay Castillejos is also an effective platform for the people of Castillejos to hear their voice as part of the LGBTQ community. Entertaining the crowd while advocating for inclusion and against discrimination is no easy feat and it is definitely one of the best qualities anyone competing for the title of Queen of Castillejos could ever have.
December 20 – Little Miss Castillejos 2018
Following the format popularized by noontime variety show Eat Bulaga, the Municipality of Castillejos hosted its second pageant pointing the spotlight to the child cadidates of Castillejos.
December 21 – Seniors’ Night 2018
Held at the municipal pavilion on the eveing of December 21, a night of singing and dancing was dedicated to the senior citizens of Castillejos. Their talent in dancing on full display, it didn’t matter whether the music being blasted from the speakers were classic, rock, pop, or even folk as the seniors prove once again that age is just a number, and youth a mindset.
December 22 – Ginoo at Binibining Castillejos
People from all over Castillejos swarmed the Municipal Pavilion on the evening of December 22 as they showered their favorite candidates with intense and passionate cheering. It was truly a grand spectacle that happens only once a year as fourteen ladies and eleven gentlemen competed for the title of Binibining Castillejos and Ginoog Castillejos, respectively.