Merry Christmas from the Philippines

Although my Christmas was not a winter wonderland, the Filipino Christmas spirit is incredibly strong! My office had a huge Christmas party complete with an entire roasted pig and a competition featuring choreographed dance routines to Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ and life size paper mâché snow penguins.


I also taught my host family how to make paper snowflakes and we currently have a proper winter blizzard hanging on our wall.


Leading up to Christmas you can hear sounds of carolers every night as it is tradition that children or school groups walk around the neighborhood singing door to door. While the festive sounds are cheerful, these carolers are not doing so for fun but for money, and it is expected that you give them a few coins when they finish. Also leading up to Christmas, many Catholics attend “Simbang Gabi” meaning “church night” because mass is held at 4am everyday for 9 or 10 days until Christmas.

However the real occasion is December 25. On New Years Eve we cooked a huge meal of spaghetti, chicken, pasta salad and ube jam (ube is a bright purple root crop native to the Philippines in a dish reminiscent of sweet potato pie filling). Then at 12am, the very moment Christmas arrived, Filipinos everywhere ate their Christmas feasts.

When I left the house on Christmas morning for my standard run, the streets seemed to be full of ‘trick-or-treaters’!? Christmas Day is very similar to American Halloween: children tote around bags and knock on doors asking more for money than candy, but both are acceptable gifts. And it was a very busy morning as I have never seen so many people walking about! I even had some small children join me on my run, at least for a few meters.

To make the day complete, I fell asleep watching fireworks from my bedroom window. Careful though, firework mishaps and malfunctions are the number one source of injuries during the holidays.

3 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from the Philippines”

  1. You know how to have FUN!! Great way to bring Winter to the Philippines! SNOWFLAKES galore! Very Cool penguins. No Penguins live at the NorthPole. The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin specie that ventures north of the equator in the wild but since you have been to the Galapagos islands in your travels, you probably already know that.

  2. What an action-packed day!
    My comments are as follows:
    1) Do you have a video of your “Let It Go” rendition?? Would love to see that… 😉
    2) Those are some ballin’ snowflakes. Can you please make a cutout skier and put it up on the wall?? That’s me, ok 🙂
    3) Sounds like they have invented a new holiday down there. It will henceforth be referred to as Christween. Or Hallomas.

    That is all.

  3. No “Let It Go” video, but I made an awesome new video of my first 6 months here. I keep trying to post it to youtube but the internet is too slow, so frustrating! Hopefully I can get it to go thru soon. Next Hallomas you should come to the Philippines, then we can teach the Famero fam how to cut skiers and you can give yourself an entire ski team riding down our wall!! Haha

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