A Festival of Trees

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As far back as I can remember, it has been our family’s tradition to decorate our Christmas tree on the 8th of December — my sister Maissie’s birthday. Now that we live thousands of miles apart, she asked that we sort of keep the tradition alive together by posting photos of Christmas trees on her Facebook timeline along with our usual birthday greetings.

Of course, true to form, I am now a day late for the party. Good thing I have these in my photo files. I hope this more than makes up for it, sistah. ūüôā

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Misa de Gallo (Pre-Dawn Mass)

Merry Christmas! This day, December 16, is considered the official start of the Christmas season in the Philippines. During the very early hours of the morning (literally before the gallo or rooster crows), millions troop to  churches all over the country to hear the first of the pre-dawn masses celebrated daily until the 23rd. Traditional belief is that if one manages to attend all eight pre-dawn masses plus the midnight mass on Christmas eve, one will have a wish granted on Christmas Day.

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Christmas Shopping at the ‘Tiangge’

Weeks before Christmas, bazaars (locally known as tiangge — pronounced ‚Äúchang-ge‚ÄĚ) become one of the more ubiquitous sights in the urban and town centers in the Philippines. A tiangge¬†¬†is a group of stalls that are set up temporarily in open spaces or ¬†sometimes permanently (and more conveniently) inside large, air-conditioned buildings. They are especially popular at this time of the year and during fiestas and festivals.

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Christmas, I’m Running Late

These are busy,¬†busy¬†days. Christmas parties, holiday trips, and weekend after weekend spent braving the crowds at the mall and struggling home laden with packages. Not for me, though. Usually by this time, I’d be almost done with shopping for family members and am already planning the noche buena¬†menu. But my schedule during the past months have been extra hectic and so with only one more weekend to go before the 24th, none of the items on my usual list has been ticked off. I am now as panicked as an elf with a backlog on Christmas Eve.

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