Rainy Christmas Parol Lights
It’s December and the Christmas machine is rolling steadily along. It’s always been a big event here in the Philippines. It wasn’t even Halloween yet when I first saw signs of Christmas in the shopping malls- they were selling trees, baubles and things alongside bloody frankenstein masks and witchy costumes. I understand Christmas is a very happy occasion and brings about happy memories – some people just want to bask in it for as long as possible. I just really disliked it when one day last July I heard bells and carols on TV with a voice over saying, “Come do your Christmas shopping in July!” Waay too early and waaay too desperate. I mean.. JULY!

I’ve experienced being in a homeward-bound plane on Christmas eve. There is absolutely nothing like it. We were coming home for Christmas from Holland where we used to live. There were many overseas contract workers (OFWs) and balik-bayans from all over Europe in the same flight who were, like us, lucky enough to be able to go home. I was very excited to see friends and family back home again. But my joy seemed nothing compared to how everyone else in the same flight must have been feeling if judged by their display of elation when we landed in NAIA. They were clapping and cheering and clapping and singing. Some were even teary-eyed and a lot stood up way too early to collect their things. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t realise how many OFWs go for years and even decades without getting to see their families.

Afterall, that’s what a Filipino Christmas is all about: huge families and rooms full of friends all together and a banquet of comfort food, repeated a few times a week during the entire season. The ‘season’ starts as early as anybody feels like (or schedules allow) and ends not on Christmas Day, not even on New Years’ day. The ‘season’ goes all way into January until the 12th day after Christmas, called 3 Kings or Epiphany- January 6th. Only then does all the binge-ing and hangs-over officially end and the people start thinking about gym memberships.

So great job, Coca-Cola. In a really ‘real’ campaign for Christmas, they helped out several OFWs to come home and be with their families for Christmas. No other words for it, just watch:

The author: Crisel Eslao

Nose in book, bow in hair, pen in hand.