I know that this post is three days late, but as we always say, better late than never!
So this is me, greeting everyone a belated Merry Christmas from traffic-filled, Christmas-filled Manila! All Filipinos (aka Pinoys) know how much Christmas in Manila means to everyone, and what a big event it is for so many reasons. A lot of overseas Filipinos (also called “balikbayans”, where BALIK means to return, and BAYAN means country) use this season to send home gifts or save up so that they can come home and be with family. There is a lot of everything that goes around town for the holiday season.
There is a lot of traffic, as people tend to pile in and get together or go out more. There is a lot of shopping too… we recently visited a newly opened Toys R Us in Rockwell Powerplant Mall and my GOODNESS. I could not breathe with all the toys and all the people buying the toys. I’m so glad we did our Christmas shopping early on during the Labor Day sale!
There is also a lot of eating. Filipinos like to get together over food and drinks and a large part of our Christmas is spent preparing food for a lot of people. You can imagine everyone that comes home for the holidays and all the excuses we have to see people and get together. Particularly for my little family, since we have not been home since 2009 and no one has met Jamie up until this trip, then there are a lot of “meals” set just for those reasons. I can’t really complain because I do want to see everyone and catch up with everything that’s been going on around town, but I tell you, I feel like I’ve done nothing else but eat. Goodbye diet (Then again, I think shopping trips are a work out on their own!)
There is also a lot of great Christmas displays. The town is well lit and well “decked”, shall we say for the holidays. Sam sits in traffic and is not bored with the car not moving because of all the lights that she sees from the buildings and street posts. A new discovery is the light show at the center of the Ayala Triangle (found in Makati, the Central Business District), that has Christmas lights which turn on and off to different Christmas musical medleys. The shows begin at 6pm, run for about 7-8 minutes and then are repeated after approximately an hour’s time. Sam loved it so much and has probably not seen anything like it in her entire life, and so she is asking us to go back. Actually, for a free outdoor “show”, it’s not so bad if I do say so myself!
There is indeed an abundance of everything and a want for nothing. Most especially there is a lot of merriment, a lot of reasons to celebrate and be thankful for. Pinoys are particularly great at finding the happiness in the moment and toasting to the occasion. In some ways it is tiring, and in others, it’s not something you would want to miss. Of course I am glad that the kids are experiencing it in full force (as they say Christmas is for the kids and by golly! you should see the amount of presents and the amount of attention they and their cousins are all getting!). They are learning to deal with all the attention and to keep up with all the merriment as well. Actually I think Sam is still a little shell-shocked with the amount of toys she received (and thank you to everyone who contributed to her overflowing happiness).
Ah yes. There’s no Christmas like Christmas in Manila. 🙂