Christmas is here!

Nine days before Christmas! Starting today, dawn masses or Misa de Gallo are being held in Catholic churches all over the Philippines.

dawn masses

Filipinos in all ages wake up at an early hour to be able to attend a 4 AM novena mass. This mass will go on from December 16 to 24. For this year, I missed the first day of the mass. I went home around 1 AM already and didn’t have the energy to wake up at 4. πŸ™

However, I will try to attend the remaining days. Going to church in the morning is nice yet a bit cold. Many people are still sleepy when they arrived in the holy ground, but they become awake when they smell fresh and tasty rice cakes and sweets being sold outside the church. During Christmas season, two of these rice cakes are so popular that they are never absent in any church.

puto bumbong and bibingka

puto bumbong and bibingka

Β On another note, last December 8, our company held our annual holiday party at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Many people attended though I think we didn’t reach last year’s 7000 attendance. Roughly around 5000 people were there though.

I went there with my colleague and friend, Micah, and we were extremely surprised when we saw each other! Talk about color coordinated outfits!

It was dark inside the party and I didn’t think of snapping some shots there. However, I managed to steal some and I am sharing you my photos with Micah, Mayor (another colleague) et moi.

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Micah and Me

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For those who are religiously following my blog and reading my posts, you might have this question in your head – is that Monica’s hair now? The answer is yes. I went to the party without doing anything to my hair. I just let it down – Medusa’sΒ  style.

Sorry for this crappy post everyone as I am running behind my schedule now. My family will go to another mall tonight to do last-minute Christmas shopping again and here I am still typing away! Anyway, please let me know your thoughts on this post. Do you celebrate Christmas/Hanukkah? What are the traditions in your country in celebrating it?Β 

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41 thoughts on “Christmas is here!

  1. Your descriptions of rice cakes made me feel hungry despite having just eaten my breakfast! The food sounds delicious! Its great that Christmas means more to you than commercialism. All to often the celebration seems to be turned into an excuse for advertisers to persuade people to part with money which they often can not aford for expensive gifts. It is lovely to send and receive gifts but the main point of Christmas is to spend time with loved ones not to spend lots of money. Thanks for this post.

    1. Come and visit the Philippines during Christmas season and I am sure you will be pigging out with different kinds of rice cakes and other treats found after attending dawn masses. We are a Catholic country with lots of old tradition and customs. For most of us, the central theme for Christmas is loving and sharing one’s blessings.

  2. The way you describe your disappointment in being unable to attend the original religious ceremony clearly visualises how involved you are with the Christmas traditions and articulates your festive spirit. In my view you should be proud of your involvement and active enthusiasm with such a tradition and its religious significance. Some people such as myself are just in it for the gifts – and the food – and the Baileys. Yes, the Baileys. Boy I love that Baileys.
    BTW, do I recall a post not a fortnight back where you complained about your hair? After glancing at the photos, I’m really not sure why.
    Enjoy your festivities and thanks for sharing your appreciation of the holiday season! πŸ˜€

    1. As a Filipino, it is already a fact that we value this season. We are also victims of commercialism and spend a lot, sometimes more than we can, during this time. However, what remains is the joy of giving and sharing to everyone, even to strangers. We are trying to live the Christmas spirit as much as we can by loving and forgiving others, too.

      Yes, I had a post complaining about the murder of my hair. Many have noticed that it doesn’t look bad now.

      May you also enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. πŸ™‚

  3. Hi my friend on the other side of the world. I really enjoyed your blog today. I think as a Christmas present to myself I shall adopt you as an honorary granddaughter. I already have 6 other young ladies that my two children have blessed me with, so what’s wrong with one more? Does a harem of 7 beautiful granddaughters make me a dirty old man? Anyway, I am happy you are enjoying the holidays. I am not a religious person, but there have been many Christmas eves when I have attended midnight mass. It sort of puts a magical aura on the day….then, enough with all the seriousness–let’s open the presents! Best wishes to you, your family and all your friends for a spectacular Christmas!

    1. Hello my dear friend from the other side of the world πŸ™‚ I miss ed your messages! I am glad that you have enjoyed my quickly made blog post and that got you inspired to adopt me! Hmm. Why not? Where are the adoption papers? Kidding. As your honorary granddaughter, I wish you a very merry Christmas. I hope that you will be able to enjoy the holidays with your family and six granddaughters (one is far away!).

      Wow. You also have midnight masses there? Well, I think it is not good in some parts of your country since it will probably be below zero degree outside.

      E you later, grandpa!

  4. Your hair looks good in the photos. πŸ™‚ When my grandparents were alive they used to participate in novenas, but the way it was done here is they’d organize groups where nine people would volunteer their homes and they’d do a rosary each night at a different home. People would bring festive foods to share after the rosary. That was years ago.

    In my part of the world, the favorite Christmas food is the tamale. I personally prefer to make mine with green chili and cheese, but most people prefer tamales filled with spicy beef or pork. I just hosted a holiday party last night for some family friends, and served lasagna and a walnut pear salad. Friday I attended a Christmas dance concert. I like celebrating the holiday season by attending festive events and sharing good food with friends and family.

    1. Thanks, Nicole. I actually didn’t style it for the occasion. In act, that’s the regular way I style my hair now. πŸ™‚

      Thank you for sharing your custom in your place. Those nine people gathering to pray the rosary is also nice, but inviting more to the group will be better, too. Am I right to assume you are also Catholic?

      Tamales! Wow. Do you like spicy food, too? I am not sure if I have eaten that dish, but it sounds fiery. I have lots of Korean friends who always want me to eat their traditional spicy food and I can say the taste for it is acquired.

      You are nice to host parties – and with good food! I hope I will be invited next time. *wink

      1. Yes. Also, it wasn’t just 9 people…it just that geographically groups of 9 people offered to host for the duration of the event. I think most nights about 30 people or so would go to one of the houses having the rosaries in different neighborhoods. I was young at the time so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to how things were scheduled. It was my grandparents that were more involved with it. It was just a memory I had of how they used to celebrate the novena.

  5. Your hair looks pretty good. If I didn’t know better I would of thought that you were perfectly happy with it πŸ™‚ I celebrate Christmas and we normally cook a lot of food (pie, cheesecake, chicken, steak, shrimp, yams, ice cream, mashed potatoes, and a lot of other stuff) and pig out. There is also gift opening and going to church πŸ˜€

  6. You look gorgeous! πŸ™‚
    I wish we would get cookies after church! Last year I visited some services in the UK during Christmas time and they always had hot drinks and sweets things to nibble afterwards. I miss that.

        1. Wow. You went to a big school then. Mine was too small. In fact, we graduated with only 101 students. I came from a special science high school with advanced curriculum than normal ones. It is a highly competitive institution and we always have elimination for those who cannot maintain their grades.

          Yes, 5000 people. Good thing the place was too big to accommodate 10,000 people, I think.

  7. It wasnt a crappy post and unfortunately the pictures fail to load on my phone but 4am mass?! I really cant imagine people doing that here, even for 1 day!

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!