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Christmas in the Philippines: Five things most Filipinos abroad miss

By: Immae Lachica - CDN Digital | December 16,2019 - 01:49 PM

The 30-foot Christmas tree at Fuente Osmeña is a prayer of hope and a better year for Cebu City. CDN Digital photo | Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Christmas in the Philippines is one of the merriest celebrations in the entire world.

So it’s really normal for some of our friends or relatives who are overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to feel sad when they can’t spend the holidays in the country.

READ MORE: An OFW’s oath this Christmas 2023: ‘I’m giving back to myself’

Here are some five of the things that Filipinos far from home miss about spending Christmas in the Philippines:

Christmas decorations displayed at the Freedom Park in Carbon. | CDN file

Early Christmas decorations

You see sparkling lights and Christmas ornaments in malls and homes as early as September. The thing about Christmas here in the Philippines is that everyone is big on showing their excitement for the Yuletide season.

READ MORE: Christmas in the Philippines is incomparable: A balikbayan’s tale

Carollers everywhere

You see kids carolling on the streets, jeepneys, buses or even inside establishments every day, singing combined Christmas songs and hit songs that would surely entertain everyone. Of course, it ends with a “Thank You” song once they receive donations.


Lechon de Cebu.

Food during the holidays is overflowing. So expect to gain weight. From early Christmas parties to the grand Noche Buena feast on our tables on the 25th of December, the sumptuous food and the intricate taste of each Filipino favorite such as lechon (roasted suckling pig) is something that would drive our OFW friends crazy.

Family reunions

Filipinos are known to have close family ties, which is highlighted every Christmas. Everyone in the family around town or even around the country would just barge into our homes during the holidays, bringing with them pots full of food and memories to talk about over a glass of soda, beer or wine.

Dawn masses (Misa de Gallo, simbang gabi) 

Catholics attend a dawn mass at the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City on December 16, 2019. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa

A Filipino tradition during Christmas that is also being practiced in some parts of the world is going to church at dawn with your family to attend the nine-day novena also known as Misa de Gallo or simbang gabi. What makes this extra special is the bonding Catholic families create after the mass when they usually go our for breakfast trying Filipino favorites such as puto (rice cake) and sikwate (hot chocolate).

Read: Cebu Archbishop Palma says Misa de gallo celebrated in Vatican is a source of pride

These are just some of the many things our friends and relatives abroad miss during Christmas here in the Philippines.

It may pain us to know that we are miles and miles apart from each other. So let’s not forget that Christmas is a celebration of life and oneness. So if you are far from home but still get to call and talk with your family every time, that is more than enough for you to celebrate Christmas, even if you are far from home. /bmjo

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TAGS: abroad, Christmas, Filipinos, friends, miss, OFW, Philippines, relatives

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