Paskong Pinoy 101
A Holiday Philippines Blog Christmas Special (Part 1)
On this side of the globe, Christmas comes early, really early. The start of the –ber months signals two different things for the Philippines. It is the unofficial end of the monsoon season, when fewer and fewer storms come in from the Pacific Ocean and the weather settles into a wonderful coolness.
At the same time, it is also the beginning of the months-long Christmas season. FM radio stations and department stores start playing Christmas songs every now and then, reminding people that this magical season is at hand.
‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly
Filipinos love Christmas like they invented it. It’s the time for reuniting with loved ones and friends who’ve been away for most of the year. It’s the time for giving and receiving gifts, for parties and get-togethers, for forgetting that you have resolved to lose weight in preparation for the summer.
The first sure signs of Christmas start popping out as early as mid-September. Roads, churches malls, homes and offices are dressed up with festive lights, Christmas lanterns and colourful wreaths. And before you know it, everything is in red and green and white.
Being a tropical country, you won’t see snowfalls even in December anywhere in the country, but the early mornings and late nights can be particularly chilly. You will definitely know that it’s Christmas when the days start getting shorter and the nights longer. And of course, seasonal delicacies like puto bumbong, bibingka, quezo de bola and Christmas ham make their much-awaited appearance at the supper table.
No Place Like Home
The Philippines is a country of more than a million overseas workers, most of whom come home to spend the holidays with their family. A lot of people also move from one point of the country to another as they return to their hometowns to celebrate the season. Christmas comes but once a year, and few Pinoys will pass up the chance to be with their loved ones during this important occasion.
If you plan to visit the country in late November to early January, be prepared for the winding queues at the airport, ship terminals and taxi lines. The traffic also worsens the nearer it gets to December 25, especially in highly urbanized areas. On the upside, you’ll find lots of discounts in malls, hotels and restaurants that will make it worth your while.
Visiting with the family of a Filipino friend can be a truly enlightening experience. You’ll get to see firsthand how a Filipino family prepares for Noche Buena or the Christmas Eve dinner after hearing the Christmas Eve Mass or Misa de Gallo.
These traditional celebrations are part and parcel of every Christian Filipino’s Christmas. You’ll find a nicely-laid table groaning with all kinds of yummy Christmas dishes wherever there is a Filipino family. More than anything else, Christmas means spending time with the people you love the most.
Want to know more about the Pinoy Christmastime? Read more special Christmas articles on Holiday Philippines Blog or join the members club for updates!