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Archive for the ‘Christmas celebration in the Philippines’ Category


I told you about our Kris Kringle a few days ago at our Sambuhay Interaktib Online,  a program that we watch twice a week anchored by two  Pauline priest friends and a seminarian.  We have become one big family, those who are active at the site but we are scattered.  Some live in Australia, Canada, USA, Hongkong, Italy and even in the Middle East. 

Well, the app was downloaded by one of our members and friend Min helped him with e-mailing those who participated. Yes, there is an app called Secret Santa.  Fr. Pao suggested that everyone could join although it is not compulsory.  We’ll finally have the “reveal” tomorrow via Zoom. My goodness, I am only just learning how it works because I didn’t see the need of downloading the app before.  I wonder how the more than fifty of us would go about it. 

A few hours ago, I received the gift from my Secret Mommy  sent through MrSpeedy, another online delivery option for us here. We were allowed to have a wish list that our Secret Santa could see in the e-mail.  

Despite this pandemic, we could still laugh. I am glad I found this group. Last night, the topic was about previous and memorable times spent during  Christmas.  Everyone has their own story. I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s 115th episode.  Come to think of it, this program was conceptualized by the SSP ( Society of Saint Paul) brothers and priests to make lighter moments and share laughter despite the grave threat of this pandemic.  And we have music in between. Fr. Albert and Bro. AJ have lovely voices. We gained friends in the process. Wonderful 🙂

We are on the seventh day of Simbang Gabi, two more days to go and we’ll complete the novena masses. 

 

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So this is the second day of Christmas. And it will last till the Baptism of the Lord. It is the shortest season in the Catholic calendar. That would be in January 12 next year.

How was your Christmas celebration? Ours was a quiet one with the family. I like all the reflections during the nine days of Simbang Gabi.

We exchanged gifts on the 24th. I like all my gifts. They are thoughtfully given. Nate and I played with his two water guns at the garden. He was the Blue Boy (with the blue gun of course and I was the Orange Lady. Precious moments with Nate.

I still can’t figure out how to attach photos here since there are no pictures in this tab’s gallery. They are all stored in my new phone. ♡☆. I am still finding it hard to navigate this gadget and update here on WordPress.

Do you also look forward to 2020? May the winds of change create a positive outlook for all of us.

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Ah, that was a lovely Christmas lunch. And we almost forgot to take pictures except  for the group shot  and the food on the dining table before we had our lunch. Since Nissa’s family didn’t spend the night here, we have to open our gifts early.

Nate was a little impatient and he kept asking “Are you done eating Nonna? Can I open my gifts now?”. He was a little disappointed though when he didn’t receive more toys but clothes and cash gifts instead. He knows cash goes directly to his ITF savings account. I told him when he got his birthday gift last month that I won’t give him toys this Christmas. Right after, everyone got busy but we were so noisy around the dining table except for Nate who was busy watching cartoons, Obet sleeping and Kevin on his cellphone. Mom had that indulgent smile and was curious about what we were doing.  They prepared puto bungbong, some more orders of Dream Cake and we also ordered two boxes of pizza for snacks. Such a joyous family gathering.

Aside from her other gifts, Nissa gave me a Samsung phone with a 16 megapixel camera. I have to buy one more SIM card and a load.  I tried it with one of our potted blooms and the picture looked so sharp although the light was a little low because of the rain yesterday.

Mom and I  attended the midnight mass on television  after our Noche Buena  and  was officiated by Fr. Jerry Orbos, one of the best SVD priests around. Last February he met an accident and he questioned God’s wisdom. Why him? It was then that they found out about the stage 2 lung cancer.  He  has undergone surgery, been on chemotherapy. He is a little thin now but the zest for living and sharing His words are still there. He emphasized how faith could work wonders when you have nothing more to cling to except God’s mercy.  He talked about the importance of family. When everyone has given up on you, your family will still be there by your side. He talked about health, one thing that we should not ignore is our health. Trust in His goodness,  He would not let us be burdened by loads we can’t carry. I was touched by the prayers he shared in front of the image of the Holy Family.

We slept around 1:30 am and looked forward to today. Oops, I know this would be my  last post for Christmas this year.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

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It’s a wet, wet Sunday morning.  It’s been raining since I woke and it looks like it’s gonna rain come Christmas day. A bed weather indeed.

It is the fourth Sunday of Advent.  So what season comes next after Advent? You’re right, it’s Christmas.

Last night I attended the 8th Simbang Gabi and it is also an anticipated mass for today. I was praying the rosary before the evening mass when my bracelet rosary chain broke and the swarovski stones were scattered on the floor. The elasticized chain gave up on me  after so many years of continued use.  I normally wear it when I go out.  Good thing I still have four more rosary bracelets made of different materials and were gifts from close friends.  I make rosaries as gifts but I also receive several ones from friends as pasalubong  (souvenirs) from abroad  mostly from Vatican, Siena, Spain and from the Holy Land.  I even have a  ring rosary sent by a friend from Italy.

I went out for a while to buy some fruits from the village store. Local fruits are more expensive than the imported ones, the latter mostly from China.  Mangoes, papaya, melons,  pomelo –  they have it all there.  Pears and apples are plenty so with imported oranges.

And the Christmas clock says, it’s one day, fourteen hours to go before Christmas 🙂

 

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Remembering Christmas past.

This would be the first time that we won’t be complete on the 24th which is Christmas Eve. Josef still has to report to  work on the 24th but it is a special holiday here.  Nissa, Obet and Nate are coming over though but they won’t spend the night here because Christmas day happens to be Tuesday and they will spend  it with my son-in-law’s family. The following day is a regular work day.

In the past we would be busy preparing for Noche Buena  right after the evening mass and wait for 12 am  (Christmas day) to partake of the food on the table and open the gifts afterwards. We would always sleep late and wake up early again to attend Christmas Day mass.

I was looking at some of the photos I uploaded at  Photobucket and found  some Christmas photos.

We didn’t put up this Christmas tree this year because we have Oreo now.  He would play with anything he could reach and those Christmas balls would be added attraction to him. It’s a seven-foot tree. I don’t miss it much though because it is a little hard to dismantle it afterwards and clean all those decor before returning them back to their boxes. It is always exciting of course to put up a tree. Sadly,  we have never experienced having a real tree because we simply don’t have them here.  Even stores except for S & R and probably Landers now don’t sell real pines.  Next year, I’d like to decorate a small  one that would fit a side table.

And I’m in a quandary to take out or even display the gifts for the family this early. Oreo might play with them too. He played with my indoor plants last night 😦

This morning, I went to the wet market to buy some fresh ingredients for my pasta. I was thrilled when two of my sukis gave me a pretty small utility bag and a big bottle of patis (fish sauce). Such generous gestures. I receive gifts from them both every year.

Christmas clock says it’s two days, fifteen hours to go before Christmas.

 

 

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I always see these words everywhere. It seems as if the whole word is so hard to type that you have to write, “Merry Xmas”.   Christ with an X.  It’s just like those shortened version of text messages that sometimes you cannot understand.  How long will it take one to write the proper word with six letters compared to the four-letter word?

Accordingly, X can mean so many things. For example, when we want to denote an unknown quantity, we use the symbol X. It can refer to an obscene level of films, something that is X-rated. People seem to express chagrin about seeing Christ’s name dropped and replaced by this symbol for an unknown quantity X. Every year you see the signs and the bumper stickers saying, “Put Christ back into Christmas” as a response to this substitution of the letter X for the name of Christ.

There’s no X in Christmas

First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.-  (Legonier Ministries)

I still prefer writing the word Christ though in Christmas, no abbreviations for me. It seems the meaning is lost when you just write X. Same thing with greeting someone with “Happy Holidays”.  Of course we know it is a holiday but for us Catholics, it’s a Holy Day.

So X is just the first letter of the Greek name for Christ.  Cristes Maesse or  “Christ’s Mass” is an old English term for “celebration of  Christ”.

Beyond the traditional festivities that we observe during December, Christmas reminds us of Jesus’ birth.  We start our nine-day Novena masses on the night of December 15 (for anticipated mass) and dawn masses early morning of December 16.  It’s a tradition for us. We call them Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo.  It is a unique Filipino celebration of  Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Santa says:

Right now, there are 
27 days
until Christmas 2018!

Really, how time flies and before we know it  Christmas is here. There is one thing that I’ve noticed though, Around this time in the years past, our subdivision and its environs were full of  Christmas decor and the houses  were brightly lit at night. This time around, most of the Christmas decorations that you see can be found inside large malls and those traditional places that they choose to erect huge Christmas trees  and those ostentatious decorations in their  areas.  Although our street has Christmas lights and lanterns lit at night, gone are those parols and decor that I see in each house that I pass. Signs of the times? Or is it too early yet  to put up those decor?

If you are an ordinary working employee earning just much nowadays, you’ll probably set aside buying decoration and spend your money on more needed grocery items and food. Gosh, everything has gone up from the lowly Christmas balls on the sidewalks to the more expensive trimmings in the malls. Groceries have gone up by as much as 20% and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next twenty or so days, they would jack up the prices more. Such is the reality we have now.

Oh, they still have those weekend sales but then some unscrupulous and well-known department stores change  their price tags to higher ones then  put a 10% or 20% off on the item. If you are not clever enough to see it, you’ll be doped into buying higher than the original tagged price. They do it all the time and the unsuspecting buyer thinks he or she has gotten a bargain in the process. Sad, isn’t it?

I need to wrap a few more gifts that I bought earlier. I bought an additional one for mom. I bet she’ll be spending not just Christmas with us  but for a long time yet.

I’m counting, are you?

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Christmas will always be a blessed and beautiful celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I have always said in my previous posts that no matter how commercialized the season has become  the past years. I will always look forward to it, creating more memories with family and friends.

We started it with a pre-Christmas lunch on December 24  since Nissa’s family did not spend the Christmas Eve with us because they had a family reunion (on her husband’s side)  yesterday.  It was a lovely celebration with Nate doing the entertainment dancing on top of the bed with a  beautiful music on Jovy’s  new sound link.  Got a new headphone from Josef and a lovely Casio wrist watch from Nissa.   I also got a lovely BPI planner from Nissa.  Josef gave Nate a simple cellphone  and he was so proud to say “call me”. There is actually no SIM attached but you can load one.  I know it is not practical to have a kid with cellphone at Nate’s age but it’s one of those one can play with. It is not even a touch screen  but there was a low-end camera  in it.

Christmas Eve was a quiet celebration with an occasional firecracker from some neighbors.  We cooked plenty of food and  there are still leftovers in the ref.  We attended Christmas mass early yesterday morning with Mom.  The usual native cakes, sweets, ice cream, salad and desserts were served at the table.  It was a dinner of pancit bihon, baked marble potatoes  and some leftover ham.  Last night, I found myself watching the group Pentatonix on YouTube listening to their Christmas albums with my new set  of headphone. The rendition cuts deep, I guess they were singing from the heart.  So many greetings and videos from friends all over and I haven’t finished answering them all  yet on FB.

 

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It’s a fact that ours is the longest Christmas celebration in the whole world. Nothing could compare with the Simbang Gabi or the dawn masses that end on the day before Christmas. Where in the world could you find the whole family, extended families and sometimes close friends and other relatives celebrating Christmas together under one roof, sharing Noche Buena food, going to mass together, having fun with the kids and the whole rigmarole of exchanging gifts and jumping with joy because you got what you wished for? Or maybe you have given enough hint to your son and daughter that you want this and that without putting a hole in their pockets.

I remember one Christmas long ago, when my son was still in his teens, he told us that he did not want to receive gifts that he needs but he would be happy with something that he wants – the needs being the usual handkerchiefs, underwear, socks  etc. and the wants listed as a new jacket, books, gadgets   or some  simple do-it-yourself  things that he loves.

So how do you lessen stress and enjoy the holidays?  You can really plan ahead on what to prepare  by listing all the things you need and buying them at least  a month, three or two weeks before Christmas. One of the best recipes that we usually cook  in advance is the  embutido. Embutido is a Filipino style meatloaf that can be served hot or cold depending on your  taste and they can be stored in the freezer for as long as a month. There are times when I do  my Christmas shopping as early as the month of September and by November, all gifts are wrapped and labeled.  Do your Christmas shopping all year round. Be on the look out for items that you think would be appreciated by your loved ones. And when December comes, you don’t have to join the Christmas rush because you have saved time by planning ahead.

Don’t feel obliged to reciprocate each single item that you received from someone you didn’t get anything for, a simple “thank you” would be enough.

And there are only 35 days,  11 hours and 50 minutes to go before Christmas.   Enjoy shopping.

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Just attended the first Simbang Gabi at our village chapel. What a beautiful celebration of the mass.  Simbang Gabi which means  “Night Mass”,  Misa de Gallo in Spanish or “Rooster’s Mass”, or Misa de Aguinaldo, “Gift Mass”  is a novena of dawn Masses from December 16-24  which is  Christmas Eve.  It’s a lovely and unique celebration of attending masses which is normally held at dawn  but the Church allows it to be celebrated a little earlier the night before like tonight.  We witnessed the lighting of the Christmas tree inside the chapel and the lighting of the  Christmas Belen  before the mass started.

Christmas celebration in our country is replete with these  age-old traditions which we inherited from our ancestors.  Dawn masses are usually held at 4am  and start on December 16.  We wait for the nine days till Christmas day.  You are blessed if you complete the nine novena masses because they say that you can ask and pray for certain favors  and they will be given to you.

It’s actually almost nine days to go before Christmas. what is more fitting in honoring the Christ Child by offering this novena. Sometimes in the frenzy of preparing for Christmas, we simply forget what it means, the birth of our Saviour.  We are more focused on the material side of  celebrating Christmas –  giving gifts, preparing for Noche Buena feast, parties here and there, office parties everywhere and  lots and lots of Christmas decor in our homes and on the streets.

But what is Christmas without all these? Here’s a beautiful meditation on Jesus’ nativity from Pope Benedict XVI.

“In the birth of Jesus,
God comes to us and
asks us to receive
Him, so that He can
be born in our lives
and transform them,
and our world, by the
power of his love.

The
Christmas liturgy also
invites us to
contemplate Christ’s
birth against the
backdrop of his
paschal mystery.
Christmas points
beyond itself, to the
redemption won for
us on the Cross and
the glory of the
Resurrection.”

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