Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christmas Starts in September in the Philippines!

Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas season like no other people in the world! Radio stations start playing Christmas carols, albeit sparingly, as early as September. Along with traditional English Christmas carols, Philippine songs of "Maligayang Pasko", "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit", and "Mano Po Ninong" fill the airwaves and shopping malls! You can have them too in your home. Buy your Christmas music CDs now!

Christmas decorations begin to appear. The traditional "parol" or Christmas lantern is typically the central adornment of the home facade. Twinkling lights are always a favorite. Even Christmas trees are put up for the season in this tropical country. Christmas carols play until the Feast of Three Kings Day ( first Sunday of January) and the decorations stay even longer, sometimes up to February.

So how do Filipinos really celebrate Christmas? Here's a typical timetable of events:


Play Filipino Christmas songs
Decorate homes and offices with Christmas lights, lanterns.

Prepare for Christmas parties.
Begin spending 13th month pay by going Christmas shopping

Go caroling or serenade neighbors, friends and benefactors with Christmas carols to spread holiday cheers.
Reward carolers with cash and/or snacks.

December 16
Attend "Simbang Gabi" (translates to evening mass), which is a daily Mass for nine days, held at dawn, beginning December 16.
After service, treat your family to a breakfast of puto bumbong (sticky rice steamed inside a "bumbong," or small bamboo tube), "bibingka" (rice cake with salted eggs and fresh coconut meat) and "suman" (steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves) outside the church. Wash them down by drinking steaming “salabat” (ginger brew), tsokolate ( native chocolate drink) or coffee.
Celebrate with numerous Christmas parties and start your gift-giving.

December 24
In the rural provinces, watch the "Panunuluyan" in the town plaza on Christmas Eve. This is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem to portrays the difficulty they encountered along the way and the joyous birth of Jesus Christ.
Attend midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Nowadays, several masses are held on Christmas Eve to accommodate everyone, but the most attended is the last mass before midnight.
Gather with friends and relatives for "Noche Buena" at midnight, and feast on “jamon” ( ham ), “quezo de bola” ( quedam cheese ball ), bibingka ( rice cake ) and sopas ( soup, normally with macaroni noodles ) and pandesal (soft bread) or “tasty” ( sliced bread ) This festive meal is followed by the exchange of gifts.

December 25
Arrange to visit family and friends on Christmas Day. Eat “Noche Buena” leftovers. Exchange more gifts.

December 28
Tease your friends by trying to borrow money and playing pranks on December 28, the “Ninos Inocentes” or Feast of the Innocent’s Day.

December 31
Buy round fruits and dress in clothes with lots of circles (circles to represent money) and carry some cash on New Year’s Eve to bring riches in the coming year.
Just before midnight, make lots of noise to drive away the bad luck and the Old Year, and light “lusis” (sparklers), “kwitis” (fireworks) and “rebentador” (firecrackers, mini-bombs) to welcome good luck and the New Year.

January 1
Gather again with friends and relatives for "Noche Buena" after midnight to feast on a “lechon” ( roast pig ), “lechon manok” (roast chicken) and other delicacies. This sumptious first meal will hopefully bring more good meals throughout the New Year.
Drink and be merry the rest of the night.
Feast of the Three Kings
Attend mass. The holiday season officially draws to a close on the Feast of the Three Kings on the first Sunday of January.
Take down those Christmas decorations and start counting: 350 or so days till the next Christmas…

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm Your Online Shopping Concierge!


My name is Casimiro dela Cruz, Kuya Caz as my close friends call me. In the Tagalog language, "Kuya" is a term of respect given to an older wiser male sibling. "Caz" is my cool nickname as all Filipinos have one.

I am your concierge for the very first Philippine-themed and Philippine-based webstore, the most extensive source of Filipino items in the Net and Winner of The DigitalFilipino 2008 Award for the Auction / Shopping Portal Category ------ KabayanCentral.com.

This e-store brings secure online shopping to the homes of millions of Filipinos in Cyberspace.
With their secure server, digitally certified by Geotrust, powered by servers co-located in a fortified data center, they process and clear your transactions in the most secure way possible. They have taken every opportunity to give you the safest means to do your online shopping, so that wherever you are, you can still buy goods and products that are proudly made in the Philippines!

As envisioned by the founders of this e-store, this site aims to serve the need of expatriate Filipinos who long to enjoy the goods and products from the beloved homeland that are not available in their local store or mall. A huge majority of loyal customers live in North America and Europe. As Filipino diaspora has spread to all corners of the globe, orders originate from as far as Timbuktu! The e-store showcases books, music and video that are made in the Philippines and about the Philippines. Shopping can also be a cultural adventure. You will also learn amusing facts and facets of Philippine culture as you browse through the store.

You will find the finest selection of Philippine books from the most respected names in the Philippine print industry.

You will find Original Pilipino Music online, from the sweet and serene to the wacky and tacky.

You will find the best Filipino movie titles as soon as they are released in Manila!

KabayanCentral.com is the one-stop website where you can find products that we call Proudly Made in the Philippines.

Check back periodically and check back often. You'll learn about the latest releases in Philippine Music CDs and videos. You'll be up to date on all the happenings back home like you never left!

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