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It's Christmas time in the Philippines!
Christmas in the Philippines!
Christmas is one of the happiest, busiest and longest holiday that is celebrated in the Philippines. Once the “Ber-Months” or the months ending with”-ber” begin, Christmas also starts. Every news has a countdown on how many days left before Christmas. There are also other things that will always tell and make you feel that Christmas is just around. Here is a list that things:
1. Christmas Countdown
Christmas countdown in the Philippines starts during September. Every news or other Television programs have a countdown telling us how many days left before Christmas. It makes us, Filipinos, so excited even though it's a hundred days more before Christmas.
2. Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas Song
It has been a yearly meme that when Christmas starts every store or every radio station will play all Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas Song. Jose Mari Chan is a well known singer and songwriter here in the Philippines. He’s Christmas songs are so popular that hearing those songs will make you feel that it is indeed Christmas time.
Every Filipinos should have this hanging in their windows, parol or lantern in English. I think the Christmas lantern is specifically popular only in the Philippines or they invented it, I don’t actually know. I don’t see other countries hanging Christmas lantern in their houses during Christmas season, so I conclude it’s only a Filipino thing. The parol started as just a star shaped lantern, then it evolved having lights inside, and then they evolved further having a dancing lights inside. It’s just so colorful and bring joy to every people who sees it.
When December comes, little children will go to each houses singing some Christmas jingles and asking for “pamasko”. These children will come every night singing to you like they never went to your house just the other night. They are happy even though they only get few coins or candies as exchange to them singing to you.
5. Metro Manila Film Festival
Christmas in the Philippines is never that really complete when there is no Metro Manila Film Festival. This film festival is an annual thing for almost thirty plus years. Its not actually a Christmas themed movie festival, it is the fun and happiness it gives to the movie goers. Metro Manila Film Festival or MMFF happens during the Christmas day and last for a week or so. All the cinemas in each mall only have the movies that are part of the film festival. It is also the time of the year where Filipinos support Filipino Movies. So it is a part of the Christmas tradition where the families went straight to the cinemas after celebrating Christmas.
6. “Simbang Gabi”
Simbang gabi is a mass celebrated for nine straight days before the Christmas. It starts at December 16 and ends at Christmas eve. This is a mass done during the dawn but some have it during the night.
7. Puto Bumbong and Puto Bibingka
Your simbang gabi is never complete without you eating these Filipino delicacies. Puto Bumbong is a type of Filipino purple rice cake which is cooked by steaming a “puto” or rice mixture inside a bamboo tube thing. This bamboo tube is known as “bumbong ng kawayan” in Filipino, thus the name”Puto Bumbong”. Puto bumbong is eaten in a piece of cut banana leaf and toppings like, butter, brown sugar and grated coconut. There is also a drink accompanied to it called “tsaa” or tea in English. The other delicacy you wouldn’t want to skip is the Puto Bibingka. This is a type of rice cake. It is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, margarine or butter and sugar. There is a unique way of cooking this. An improvised oven made of clay pot is used where charcoals are placed under and over the clay pot. These delicacies are so popular during the Christmas season that is why you wouldn’t want to not have this when you are in the Philippines during the Christmas season.
8. Ninong and Ninang
This is one the days where the “inaanak” or the Godchildren visits their Godparents to ask for their gifts. Christmas is the time when your hard earned money is swipe by your inaanak. But this is alright since this is the only time and their birthdays where you but them gifts. So its not that hard at all. At least you give them joy during Christmas. And that is what you want them to have as their godparent, right? And Christmas is about giving and happiness so during this once a year holiday will not hurt you.
9. Christmas Parties and Reunion
During this holiday is also where reunion is always scheduled. It is done this way so that everyone can participate and be present. Also during Christmas season, different parties are planned. Office parties, school parties, family parties, friend parties , subdivision parties, condominium parties, municipality parties and any other parties. That’s why during December you will need to have a lot of money saved so that you can participate in every party you wanted to join.
10. Noche Buena
Lastly, one of the thing that you will love about Christmas in the Philippines is the noche buena. It is the dinner during the Christmas eve. One great about this tradition in the Philippines is that, even though you have a small feast to share within the family, Filipinos are still happy and enjoys the celebration with singing, games, and other things. Money and status in life is never a problem for the Filipinos just to enjoy the Christmas. It’s the happiness in their hearts and their family that matters.