#ToBeFilipino this Christmas season

Ah, to be Filipino. No other time of the year clarifies this term better than the Christmas season. Tis’ the season for giving indeed and to be Filipino is to take the initiative to remind people of this fact.

Namamasko po.


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To be Filipino is to wish people a “Merry Christmas” with an open palm extended out. No, coming from a Filipino, an extended hand with the palm facing the sky is not a gesture prompting a handshake. Not at all. It is more a gesture calling for the extendee to be generous in the spirit of the season. Nothing wrong with that except, often, you will hear it coming from people whose job it is to serve the public. So when a Filipino police officer on a street or customs officer at an airport wishes you a “Merry Christmas”, think about the spirit of the season in the context of what it means to be Filipino. That way you can be allowed to move a long and be on your way a lot sooner.

Make sure also that you make good on your commitment to fulfill the nine days of Simbang Gabi (Christmas dawn masses). Tradition says that doing so will grant you a wish. Here’s a good motivational tip for the non-morning people amongst us who desperately need a wish granted: There are lots of chicks who go to Simbang Gabi. So take a shower and wear your Sunday best. Do listen to the mass at least. Fiddling on your phone during a mass is quite unclassy and will reveal a lot about your upbringing.

Christmas, being on the last week of the last month of the year, is also a good time to reflect on the past 12 months. What have we learned over the last 12 months? Good news: 2014 offers Filipinos a lot of lessons — that Philippine Congress is a den of crooks, that Filipinos remain hung up about being ruled by America for almost 50 years, and that deaths in the multi-thousands resulting from typhoons can actually be prevented given enough will and preparation. Hey, wait, but those are just three lessons! Indeed. But they are three big lessons. To be Filipino is to suffer massive learning disabilities at a national level; which is why picking only three big lessons coming out of a year is important, because three is about the most number of lessons that Filipinos’ brainspace can handle.

The coming years are also election campaign years. This means the who’s-who of presidentiables and senatoriables will be top-of-mind for Filipinos. Presidents and senators, after all, matter in the Philippines — because progress is not a bottom-up initiative here but, instead, driven by the “reform” agenda of the country’s tiny elite of rich and powerful. 2015 will therefore be the year of the grandstand. Epal-ing politicians and their mudslinging detractors will dominate the news. To be Filipino is to happily eat all of that up.

As Filipinos, we pride ourselves in the “unique” way we celebrate Christmas. Iba talaga ang Paskong Pinoy one will hear many Filipinos say wistfully — specially those snowed under somewhere in Canada. The 25th of December is really the culmination of four months of Christmas season in the Philippines starting at the dawn of the first “ber” month in September. That’s four months of opportunity to avoid the Christmas rush. But the rush sets in just the same, so monstrous traffic jams also become part of the whole Paskong Pinoy thing. Indeed, it is why the fact that Christmas is a good time for reflection is relevant particularly to Filipinos — because there is lots of time to do that while stuck in traffic.

To be Filipino is also to put importance in having a boyfriend or girlfriend to spend the Christmas season with. Gary Valenciano’s hit song Pasko na Sinta Ko started the notion that Christmas is not complete without a significant other to cuddle with during the “ber” months. Indeed, mere selfies no longer make us happy. Couplies are the in thing during the silly season. Make sure you have your clothes on when you take your next couplie, though. To be Filipino is to always be ready to smile for the cam.

Finally, this being really in essence a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, we must remember to at least spare a quick thought for our Saviour in between credit card swipes. He, after all, represents all the poor souls who may not be having as happy a Christmas as some of us. Ironic, isn’t it? We are celebrating the birthday of a man whose very essence represents the plight of people who are the least relevant in these days of exuberant consumerism. To be Filipino is to have that important irony escape us.

Oh well.

By the way, make sure you take this article and retweet if you are Filipino.

Merry Christmas!

42 Replies to “#ToBeFilipino this Christmas season”

  1. Irony is definitely something that most Filipinos miss simply because they think what they do is right and consequences be damned.

      1. Sir, what to think of such belief? Ways unbendable, founded on unexplored truths perfecting their unchanging culture and tradition? Simply blinded, not having the time (and nerve) to realize what’s important?

  2. I must say for a nation obsessed with pride and mortified at the thought of ‘hiya’, the ‘where’s my gift’ thing flies in the face. Smart Traveller should put out a general warning to all tourists over the festive season.

    1. Any Filipino who would ask their relatives for mandatory gifts are stupid, inconsiderate, materialistic motherfucking beggars: No exception. I’m glad my parents taught me not to disturb my uncles during holidays and just be contented with what we have.

  3. I fucking hate this race. I wish I wasn’t a filipino. Thinking of killing myself these coming christmas. Wish me luck make me a swedish guy. PLEASE.

      1. Fuck you. If he wanted to become a Swedish good for him. Nationality is an accident so he can choose whatever citizenship he wants. And fuck you again for your stupid discriminating alias. Fucking happy holidays motherfucker.

    1. You know the Swedes have their own set of problems, no? Snow is always whiter…you’re better off wishing you were a treefrog.

  4. Being a Filipino is not at all that bad. We have bad traits and good traits embedded in our culture. One of this, are corrupt public officials, who use the Christmas season to extort money (Christmas gift), from people.

    Any race or culture, has its good and bad. Since, we cannot “jump out” from our own skins.
    Let us fortify the good; and discard the bad.

    My relatives in the Philippines are now calling me, and wishing me :Merry Christmas. I know what they mean… money for their kids, money for themselves, money for what they can think of spending, etc…I feel like an ATM Machine…

  5. Fuck christmas. Waste of time, money and energy. Pag mahirap ka, kakapalan mo ang mukha mong mangutang para lang makapaghanda ka kahit di mo kayang bayaran. Ang mga bata naman tinuturuang maging pulubi ng mga magulang nila sa mga ninong at ninang. Pag pangit o di makapagbigay ang ninong, sasabihang kuripot at magagalit ang nanay. Simbang gabi? More like simbang bobo dahil matutupad daw ang panata ng makakabuo ng mga misa. Nakarinig ako ng misa ng isang bobong pari, dapat daw magbigay sa mga nangangaroling para wag masabihang barat gagong katwiran di ba? At anong itsura ng mga facebook ngayon? Puro cover photo ng mga pamilyang may season’s greetings na akala mo e mga politician na nangangampanya. Magpapakuha ng family picture saying merry christmas as if may pakialam ang mga tao kung masaya sila o hindi sa pasko. Magpapainom ka sa taong hindi mo kilala tapos magwawala at maghahamon ng suntukan pag lasing na. Mahilig kasi ang tao sa kagaguhan. Feel good na lang at materialism ang holidays pero wala naman talagang balak mag improve sa sarili. Kung kakausapin tayo ni Jesus, sasabihin niyang mga tarantado tayo dahil nagcecelebrate tayo ng birthday niya na hindi naman tama ang petsa.

    At ang pinakamasakit sa araw ng pasko? Kikita ang walang kwentang my little bossing ni vic sotto. Nagsulat lang ng article si lourd de veyra last year, andaming gago ang dumepensa at nagbalat sibuyas. May pahaging pa si tito sotto sa eat bulaga noon na pambata daw kasi ang pelikula kaya mababaw ang kuwento. Buti na lang tahimik si joey de leon, siguro dahil alam niyang totoo ang sinasabi ni lourd.

      1. Fuck you for injecting that working round the clock logic. I never said anything bout working 24/7. Para kang yung mga bobo kong katrabaho na di na nakuntento sa saturday sunday na pahinga at gustong no work get paid sa lahat ng Philippine events. Mga tamad talaga ang Pilipino laging gusto sarap at pahinga ayaw maghirap.

        1. Err, Japan has a hell a lot of holidays and they’re still seen as a hardworking sort of bunch.

          The problem with Pinoys lies on their tendencies to laze all day every day. The balance is way off.

        2. You’re bitching about people spending their Christmas keeping up appearances of good cheer and neighborliness and all other things festive, and you have a point in calling out some of our more wasteful and wanton practices.

          But there’s a fine line between that and plain misanthropy. Granted, this site and this topic attracts a lot of misanthropes who tend to blast at the masses for not being goddamned surly at everything they see and feel and hear, but still.

  6. You know what, to me, Christmas, and even New Year, is just another ordinary day because nothing great ever changed like the continuation of da pinoy’s dysfunctional mindset. Until those mediocrity are removed and make them disciplined and civilized, now that will be a true Christmas and New Year for me.

    1. Totally agree with this. Stupid people put all their hopes and goodwill on one month tapos makakalimutan na sa january. Filipinos are so insecure and into self pity that any fiesta and holidays are considered as blessing and not an ordinary event. Isama mo na yung mga mareklamong tamad na empleyado na bakit daw kailangang magtrabaho during xmas at first day of january.

      1. However you grinch, it’s inappropriate that you’re bitching your atheist fanaticism here like an isis beheading those who don’t believe in their god. I can tell it with all your comments in this article here. Stidi ka lang dyan!

  7. Hmm first off, I wish to greet Merry Christmas to those who believe in that term, and Happy Holidays as a general greeting for those who don’t. Every country/race/color/whatever has their own ways of celebrating it, and it has its share of bad and good as well.

    If there’s one thing that the priest was right in his homily last night was the simplicity of Jesus. The term born in a manger reflects that. Speaking of reflection, indeed we have learned a lot this year and yet some people still deny the lessons which is really sad. In case of typhoons, noone has to die because of stupid decisions..and yet they still do.

    Another sad thing about this season is the massive amounts of consumerism. Whether it is material things and posting it in facebook for everyone to see, or the food that you ate that you can’t finish by yourself. I do hear that people’s blood pressures rise on this day because of the delicious yet dangerous food that may spell the end of them if they don’t stop their gluttony.

    Misa de Gallo is hard to do in my schedule, kudos to those who can. But believing your wish will come true is a big farce, especially if you only keep wishing but you don’t do anything. I made my wishes come true by doing my part in making it come true. Whatever happened to “Nasa Diyos ang awa, Nasa Tao ang gawa”? I guess it’s now a foreign concept too.

    The one thing that I’m pissed off about in this season is some people are thinking they are entitled to be given “pamasko” when they are not, which makes them part of the “nananamantala” which is no different from scammers and the snatchers that are more common this season as they stalk their prey.

    There’s no one way of celebrating this holiday, but keeping it simple and real is probably the best way for me. In my case, a simple call to family goes a long way. No need to give away extravagant gifts and flaunting wealth or eating ridiculously “killing-me-softly” food.

    Some people think that this is just an ordinary day, indeed it is. I’ve got work today when everyone is on a holiday, I gotta earn a living. So I gotta go, and there’s my two cents.

  8. After becoming a father, and seeing my 2 year old daughter’s smile when she sees the Christmas tree lit and the whole family getting ready to eat Noche Buena after Mass, I still have Hope. Hope that everything will be better soon.
    -even though I had to leave to get to work right after Noche Buena.
    And yes.. I still believe in Christmas, and there’s my 2 pesos for you guys.
    *Merry Christmas GRP!~

    1. Placebo effect lang yan ng holiday marketing. Kung natutuwa ka lang sa anak mo pag nakakakita ng xmas tree at kung sabay lang kayo kumain pag noche buena congrats dahil isa ka na sa mga xmas zombies na sumasaya lang pag december.

        1. I’m a parent, have 2 kids and they enjoy their childhood even without celebrating this xmas crap. You can say all the alibi you want to promote xmas but the reality is: it’s just a marketing bullcrap. Invented by the Romans and proliferated by Coca Cola’s Santa Claus. Gaya ng sabi ko mumurahin lang tayo ni Jesus dahil nagseselebrate tayo ng birthday niya na hindi tama ang petsa.

        2. Everything is “marketing bullcrap” when you get right down to it (like real down) from those peddling factory-made food to those shilling hand-made time-worn “slow-food” products (to take an example that hits the gut) — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that any experiences you get through and by them are themselves manufactured, somehow massaged or made invalid.

          Iisipin mong malayo-layo itong analogy na babanggitin ko, at di ko naman sinasabing magaling ako sa analogy, pero dahil lang si Duchamp e nakapag-display ng arinola as a work of art e biru-biruan na lang iyon. Simpleng mockery na lang of the question “putangina, ano ba ang f– art?” with no further layers of meaning, walang halong implications. Kung sa akin lang, katamaran iyon, iyon bang isisilid mo na lang ang large portion ng kultura natin bilang “commercial” or “market-oriented” o kung anong palusot.

        3. @archie
          I do not know you sir, or what your Christmases were like while you were growing up, but my childhood Christmases were never about “holiday marketing”. And I will not take that experience away from my daughter. Sure, today’s Christmases have become more of a marketing opportunity for big businesses, and she probably will find that out for herself when she gets older and wiser. But, for now, no amount of money can replace the smile I see on my baby’s face when she sees a “parol”.
          -Thank you and have a Happy New Year!~

        4. @nod if you agree You are an idiot, why do you thank me for nothing? An ignorant man will always justify the useless things they do or say. They don’t like facts, they like hope. They don’t want criticism, they want illusion. We never celebrate xmas. When I was young I was puzzled why my parents do it, making me feel alienated with other kids. But as I grew up I found the wisdom of not celebrating that bullcrap Roman invention. We had more savings at the end of the year, we don’t worry feeding unknown extended relatives. We don’t waste money buying xmas tree and xmas lights that only have one function every year. If you are still embracing that illusion of your kid being happy just because she saw a fucking parol then I congratulate you again for adhering to that zombie fanaticism. I’d rather save for a real vacation and my kid’s future that spent money on fiestas and holidays.

        5. archie, I have a question: if your kids had experienced something based on an event that you consider fatuous, useless, invented, commercialized, whatever, and enjoyed said experience, how would you react? What would you say to them?

          Please carefully consider your reply to me while I wait warmly with wishful thinking about Christmas in summertime.

  9. ..Sharing with you an article by George Weigel
    Quote…It might seem that everything that could be said, has been said, about the shepherds, the wise men and the Christ Child. But that’s one of the marvels of Scripture: the unfolding history of the Church draws out of the inspired Word of God allegories and images previously unrecognized. Thus the familiar Christmas story and its well-known cast of characters shed light on a year in which the Church has been roiled by contention between today’s shepherds and today’s Magi: between those who, today, hear angels singing, and those whose experience of the faith has been thoroughly “demythologized” and intellectualized.

    The shepherds we know: poor peasants who, initially afraid, nonetheless did as the angel commanded. And the Magi? They were scientists, intellectuals, who had a lot of obstacles to overcome in reaching their Bethlehem destination—and in comprehending just what happened to them there.

    There was the obstacle of distance, for these were, as Matthew tells us, wise men “from the East.” (The mosaicist decorating St. Mary Major in Rome took that to mean Persia, and gave the Magi bright, polka-dotted vesture.) Wherever they came from, though, they came “from afar,” which was no easy business in those days, even for scientists following a celestial GPS.

    But the greater obstacle for the wise men was, well, their wisdom: or, perhaps better, the intellectual pride that’s a constant temptation for people who live their professional lives inside their heads. As Hans Urs von Balthasar once wrote in a Christmas homily, those who are rich in knowledge “have to do a great deal of gymnastics to extricate themselves from their neat and tidy concepts, opinions, perspectives, experiences and worldviews” before they can approach in humble faith “the naked earth where the Child lies in the crib.” And then, at the crib, they must offer their “intellectual riches … to holy poverty,” accepting “the inner poverty of all human knowledge [in order to find] their way to the divine poverty.”

    In impoverishing themselves by giving their gifts and abandoning their intellectual pride, the Magi “brought themselves down to the level of the shepherds, and so a first Christian community can be formed out of the two groups.” And thus it has been ever since: all of us must “come down to the level adopted by God himself in his Incarnation—the level of poverty, crib, flight …” Yet in lowering ourselves to the lowliness that God himself assumes in taking on a human nature, we remain who we are: some are intellectually gifted and rich in the world’s goods; others are impoverished in various ways. But all can become one in Christ Jesus, as St. Paul teaches, because all have been empowered by the Lord to make of our lives a gift to others….Unquote

    It is a food for thought for us in the ideas business, or us who simply like ideas. Following Christ is about being perfect and about sharing our gifts, our talents, our know-how….. This is difficult in an environment where many things seem acceptable even if they are half-baked… half-baked Catholicism as that in PHL, half-baked religion as that of Islam, half-baked philosophy as that of Dawkinism, half-baked politics as with our political parties, half-baked public and private service as with our govt bureaucracy and our made-in-PHL products (as this pokey internet connection), etc. …..So whether we are trying to be good Christians, or good humanists, maybe sharing with others is trying to be the best of what we are and what we do, the best banker, the best entrepreneur, the best manager, the best worker, the best driver, the best OFW, the best copywriter, the best blogger (as those in GRP..hehehe, sip-sip, hooray), the most philosophically sound politician and not corrupt, the best leader, the most thoughtful voter, the best in foreign service, the best parent, the best children, the best student, the best teacher, the best cop, the best military man, the best call center agent, the best farmer, the best sportsman, etc. etc etc (mediocrity has to be a sin.), the best Filipino if we ever find a meaning to that


    1. Bible is invented by people and subjected to edits and propagandas. Call me blasphemous or whatever you want but your freaking ‘holy’ scriptures have undergone several revisions from Roman leaders to stupid Catholic theologian experts. It’s like reading Harry Potter in the next 100 years with mix up and changes because J.K. Rowling didn’t protect the copyright at the first publication.

      1. @archie
        …and that’s the beauty (or whatever) of the bible. It can be maligned by everybody and anybody, even those who have not read a single word in it. There has been a million propaganda against it, but it remains the best seller of all time, strange isn’t it?

  10. Ahhh yes… Christmas Day in the Philippines! Where, in my gated community, I refer to this day as “The Purge” (Yup. Just like the movie) because we have to pull the window blinds and close the front doors and stay inside. Why? Because the Homeowners Assoc opens the main gates to allow anybody inside so they can rap on our gates asking for money! This, of course follows Christmas Eve when even the kids from affluent families take part in “Caroling”. Basically, showing up at your front gate, singing a song and then asking for money! And lets not forget the envelopes given to each household by the Garbage Handlers, Security Guards, etc, asking for money!

    Christmas in the Philippines is all about begging for money!

  11. Thank you, thank you! Ang babarat ninyo, thank you!

    Really, Christmas is a time of waste for Filipinos, and they believe it should be that way. And often without realizing that contributes to their problems in this society.

    1. Holidays are a waste of time, but then they’re fucking supposed to for a lot of us who have vacations and amusements and shit in mind. But of course, to those of us who have evidently never taken a break, loosened up a wee bit, let it all go (product placement!), I have a suggestion: we can do it the puritan way and insist that all of us pray as sinners before a very insanely angry God, hopping mad that we aren’t spending the day coldly sweating in church and confessing all the venal sins we have committed in the name of the consumerist Mammon.

      Who’s with me?

  12. Don,t be a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch”…Christmas comes only once a year. Share you blessings….your blessings will multiply, if you share them…

  13. The essay title reminds one of the old ‘if you had the luck of the Irish, then you’d wish you were English instead.Yes ,you’d wish you were English instead.’. Not being a Filipino, IDK what a Filipino would think it means to be a Filipino this Christmas. Suffice it to say that I am just glad I do not have to ponder the question.

  14. Buried deep within, beneath all the years of pain and anger, there is something that has never been nurtured: the potential to make yourself a better man. And that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are. Oh, yes — I know. There was a time one looked at the stars and dreamed of what might be.

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