Christmas Memories

Ali Sotto’s special Christmas tree

/ 03:00 AM December 16, 2016
Ali Sotto

Ali Sotto

What is your most memorable Christmas season?

In December 2009, my son Chino, who was then living in Pasadena, California, had a dilemma. Not wanting to miss out on spending time with either parent, he had a tough time having to choose between taking his annual leave in Manila with his dad Maru (Sotto), or in Madrid, where I was based. My husband Omar (Bsaies) and I quickly came to the quirky decision to open our home to all of them—Chino, my ex-husband Maru, his wife Mabel, and their daughter Mara.


We rented a van big enough to seat the six of us comfortably and carry all of our junk, and traipsed through Southern Spain—Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada. Dec. 29 found us at the Cathedral of Fatima in Lisbon, Portugal, to commemorate my son Miko’s sixth death anniversary.

After soaking in the sights of neighboring Sintra and Cascais (Portugal), we drove back to Madrid where we welcomed the New Year. Paris was beautiful under a blanket of snow that first week of January, but a canceled return flight, along with the ensuing chaos, was seemingly punishment for the excesses of our wanderlust.


That Christmas was the first time since Miko died (in 2003) that I finally found the courage to set up a tree. We got us a potted evergreen, which filled our home with its exuberant pine scent that whole season. What a beautiful thought that our Miko Tree still proudly stands in one corner of a garden in a house along Calle de Sotillo, Conde de Orgaz, Madrid, Spain. —BAYANI SAN DIEGO JR.

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TAGS: Ali Sotto, California, Christmas season, Christmas tree, Maru Sotto, Omar Bsaies, Pasadena, Southern Spain
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