The Philippines is the only country in Asia to spend the longest holiday season due to its Spanish influences. Therefore, Filipinos love Christmas just as much as other Christian countries do. Tourists often visit the country to spend the holidays here because of its unique and exciting traditions that dates back to many years ago. Spending the holidays in this country is infinitely more special. Just in case you need more convincing, we’ve rounded up a list of activities perfect for spending the holiday season in the Philippines.
Decorate your house
It’s not Christmas without decorations even in the tiniest bit. Many Filipinos spend their time decorating their houses with Christmas trees and lanterns once September 1 arrives, marking the start of the Christmas season. The Philippines celebrates the longest Christmas season in the world. That’s how festive and exciting this season is in this country.
Shop for unique Christmas items
The shops and stores in Divisoria, a popular public market in Manila, sells cheap Christmas decorations and items for gift-giving; therefore, making it a favorite place for Filipino shoppers every year. Keep your eyes peeled out of glass ornaments, lanterns and limited-edition toys for children.
Taste some holiday-themed goodies
Bibingka and Puto Bumbong are a top-notch Filipino holiday dishes beloved by every Filipinos. They are often served for church-goers after attending dawn masses.
Bibingka is a popular rice cake baked in a special clay pot, coated with a piece of banana leaf, with live coals on top and underneath. It is topped with slices of white cheese and salted duck eggs. The newly-cooked bibingka is spread with butter and sometimes sprinkled with sugar then served with grated coconut.
Puto Bumbong, on the other hand, is a type of puto or rice cake named after the bamboo tube in which it is steamed. It is unusual among puto, being sticky and having a long thin shape and purple color with a coconut and brown sugar glaze.
Attend the Simbang Gabi (Midnight or Dawn Masses)
Simbang Gabi, as the locals call it, is a 9-day consecutive dawn masses that starts from December 16 and ends at the Christmas Eve. Most elders still follow this tradition and masses start at 4:30 am. Some people believes that once you complete the nine days, your wish will come true.
Most children in the Philippines come knocking at your day and sings some Christmas carols giving the holiday spirit. You might give them coins or more importantly, give them snacks. It’s so heartwarming to see that the next generation is carrying on the tradition as they come up and sing songs of holiday cheer.
Filipinos loves to eat and party all night during Christmas parties. Most companies held these type of parties to show appreciation and love to their employees since it’s only just an annual celebration. Some Christmas parties held by family members and other relatives treat it as a reunion-type party.
If America has Thanksgiving, the Philippines has Noche Buena. It is the time where family members eat together, have fun, open gifts or watch fireworks displays. Most importantly, it is the time to usher and reflect the arrival of Christmas Day or the birth of Jesus.
Wherever in the world, whatever the traditions may be, one thing is for sure: People love Christmas. Despite the variety of traditions, it’s still falls to being magical and memorable. The Philippines witnessed to that. Celebrating the most wonderful time of the year in this country is unlike any other.