(On Things Many Filipinos Abroad Miss in the Philippines Every Christmas Season)
Kung ikaw ay dito na sa Canada nagkaisip, malamang hindi ka interesado sa Pasko sa Pilipinas. Subalit kung ikaw ay may-edad na nang magpunta sa Canada, eh siguradong maraming bagay sa Pilipinas ang hanap-hanap mo tuwing sasapit ang Kapaskuhan.
Instead of listing my Christmas wishes and New Year’s resolution, I thought of listing instead some things and activities in the Philippines that I miss every Christmas. I’m sure many fellow Filipinos here in Canada miss these too.
– Simbang Gabi (or, Evening or Dawn Mass) is a nine-day ritual mass performed at Roman Catholic and Aglipay churches in the Philippines which starts on December 16 and ends on December 24. The mass is held usually as early as 4 or 5 in the morning, the last day of which takes place on Christmas Eve, just in time for the advent of Christmas Day. Because the Philippines is a tropical country, the weather remains relatively warm and conducive to outdoor activities even in December. For this factor that many Filipinos look forward to attending simbang gabi—it’s a chance to enjoy being outside in the streets at that time of the night in the company of family, friends, neighbors, and other churchgoers.
– Street food stalls. As soon as simbang gabi starts, food stalls also begin to line the streets leading to the churches. Churchgoers enjoy having early breakfast at any of these stalls, the common specialties of which are rice cakes and other similar delicacies such as puto bumbong, bibingka, and suman with latik paired with tsaa or plain hot tea. Young ones regard this as also a great way to socialize with their friends.
– Christmas decorations, light, and music. Of course, anywhere Christmas is celebrated, decorations, lights, and music are also everywhere. However, Philippines is for sure one of the countries where many houses become giant works of art as early as the first of the “ber” months comes for the extravagant lanterns, lightings, and other decorations that adorn the exteriors and even interiors of houses as well as various establishments. Shopping malls become lively as well not only for the decorations but also for the constant playing of Christmas music.
– Carnivals. Who would not enjoy going to carnivals for a chance to ride the ferris wheel, roller coaster, merry-go-round, carousel, and ghost train or simply to hang out with family and friends? In the Philippines, because the weather is fine even in December, the idea of having fun is usually going out with family and friends and engaging in outdoor activities. Included in these activities is going to carnivals, which become a common attraction during Christmas.
These are just a few of what I miss in the Philippines. What about you?
Sa Madaling Salita
Para sa mga Filipinong may edad na nang magsimulang manirahan sa Canada, malamang wala nang sasaya pa sa Pasko sa Pilipinas; subalit kung dito ka na rin naman nagkaisip, syempre iba na ang iyong pananaw sa kung paano ba maidaraos ang Kapaskuhan.
Or, in Simple Words
For Filipinos who immigrated to Canada as adults, perhaps nothing beats the delight of celebrating Christmas in many parts of the Philippines. However, if you were born or grew up in a winter country like Canada, of course there are other equally fun ways of celebrating the season.