September is when temperature normally starts to drop in tropical Philippines. Cold nights remind people that Christmas is coming.  A lot of Filipinos working globally would mark their long vacation leave and fly back home to the much awaited season of the year, Christmas. 

Actually, Philippines is  known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world and it would definitely be a merry time  to experience the holidays. Below are some  experience that you will encounter. 

“BER” Months 

The holidays in the Philippines start when the “ber” months hit the calendar. It typically starts on September.  You will feel the Christmas spirit since you will be surrounded by Yuletide tunes either on the radio or the mall. Of course the man of the season has always been the country’s artist Jose Mari Chan. Singing to the tune of “Let sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday”. Actually, every child growing up in town would know this melody.  

This is also  the time, Filipinos   begin to decorate their houses - sparing no part of their outdoors from Christmas lights.  From homes to streets such as Alabang, Makati or Ortigas will be seen with sparkling lights.  For some they would decorate after the Halloween and All Souls Day. Moreover, you will get to experience to see  decorations change dramatically from pumpkin decors  to gleaming lights and  lovely Christmas trees. “Ber” months, is  when all festivities start and people look forward to. 

Christmas reindeers in BGC

Never Ending Invites

It is the season  you will get to experience never ending invites from colleagues, close group of friends, high school friends, gym buddies and the long list goes on. It is a series of feast and ofcourse every party has its own type of theme and overflowing banquet. So, here you won’t miss out the country’s love for food and  close knit relationship within its family and neighbors. 

Love for Food

You should just let yourself partake freely in the gastronomic experience. From the traditional staples : quest de bola, sweet Christmas ham, spaghetti and of course fruit salad. Then for some, suckling pig will be served, a roasted calf or a turkey. It really depends on the party host. And for the favorite treats after mass are bibinkga, puto (rice cake, ) suman, hot pandesal (breakfast roll) to be partnered with hot chocolate. This just shows how Filipinos would love to eat no matter what.  

Bountiful Christmas banquets

Simbang Gabi 

Over 80% of the nation is Roman Catholic, and many adhere to the tradition of attending mass early in the morning. Simbang Gabi is also known by its popular Spanish name Misa de Gallo, or “Mass of the Rooster”.  The celebration starts on the 16th of December early in the morning  from 3 to 5 o’clock. Moreover, it is  a spiritual preparation for Christmas and commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. 

In addition, most churches are decorated with twinkling lights and beautiful parol lanterns. The nativity scene or Belen is displayed in preparation for the celebration of Jesus Christ. It is a strong indication that Filipinos has strong Christian values. 

Heavy Traffic

Aside from various infrastructures being built around the Metro. Reason for the heavy traffic in the streets, are the numbers gatherings to attend from family gatherings to friend get togethers. Plus the holiday rush to head to the malls for buying of gifts. Amidst all of these festive celebrations, Christmas traffic is a usual event this season. The merry part is Filipinos still find time to bring joy instead of letting traffic crush their Christmas spirit. 

Well, culturally, Filipinos are festive and takes so much joy in grabbing the opportunity to come together with family , friends and colleagues to unite through food. At the same time,  its a season of ending things right and thankful despite of challenges.