The night before Christmas in Davao

There is a poem that is quite famous, called “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” although these days, it is more commonly known as “The Night before Christmas.”  It was written by Clement Clarke Moore.   Although the original date that it was written is unknown, it was first published in 1823 by the Troy, New York Sentinel.  The original publication did not credit an author, it was anonymous, however Moore was later credited with having authored the poem.  Still, there is controversy, and some claim that the poem was actually written by Henry Livingston, also of New York.

Over the years, there have also been parodies of the poem.  One that I have become familiar with, and have always loved is the “Cajun Night Before Christmas” in Louisiana.

Learn Bisaya/Cebuano

This year, I decided to play with the poem and make a Davao version for expats.  I’m no poet, I can assure you, but I hope you find my version to be fun.  Here we go.

sleigh

The Night before Christmas  in Davao
by Bob Martin

Twas the night before Christmas and we’re livin in Davao
The holidays are a little different here, let me tell you how

We ain’t got no chimney, but we don’t care
There’s snow and it’s cold back home, why would we want to be there?

We’re all really happy, just not in our beds
It’s Noche Buena tonight, and the food is what’s in our heads

Mama’s doin the cookin’ and I’m taking a nap
Hey, it’s hot here, I have no more energy to tap

But outside the gate there arose a big clatter
I even woke up, better go see what’s the matter

Christmas Carolers – at first I thought it was funny
But then they said – “sir, where is my money?”

The carolers kept singin, I didn’t care for the sound
But, if I didn’t give money, they would stay around

I gave a few pesos, and the singers were leaving now
Then suddenly I saw Santa’s sleigh, and it was pulled by carabao!

I took a second look to make sure I had nothing to fret
Yep, it was Santa, but he was dripping in sweat!

The carabao were slow and clumsy as to the earth they came
I realized that Santa was Filipino when he called them by name!

“Now Ding, hey Inday, Dong and Girlie;
On Jun, on Piter on Maria and Shirley!

Land there by the coconut tree, what are you drinkin?
There ain’t no chimney in the Philippines, what the heck are you thinkin?”

A few coconuts fell as the sleigh passed by the tree
If I was standing there, the coconuts might have hit me!

The carabao made a u-turn right up in the sky
When they landed, I noticed they left a few carabao pie!

I ran to the house to tell Mama what’s happening
But I saw that the kids were already singing and clapping

When I got to the house, I saw Santa eating our food
Was Noche Buena early this year, or was Santa just being rude?

Santa was dressed all in fur, no wonder he was sweaty
Hey, he is being rude, he just ate all the sweet spaghetti!

A bundle of durian he had flung on his back
Maybe he’d leave some, for it would lighten his pack

But then Santa laughed and it shook his belly
For he knew that the durian this year were quite smelly

Because of the smell he put a plug on his nose
It seemed like his visit might be coming to a close

Before leaving he started looking around
He tip toed around and did not make a sound

As he snuck around he tripped and almost fell
But then he was happy, he found the San Miguel!

He was chubby and plump, so he had a San Mig Light
I thought to myself – that was alright!

A wink of his eye, and a twist of the cap
If he drank too much, he might need a nap!

But he drank just one bottle, then went straight to his work
He opened two durian and then turned with a jerk

He heard a bit of a sound and for a moment he froze
Then he ran for the door, he was quick on his toes

He jumped in his sleigh and gave the carabao a whistle
But it took a few whips before they took off like a missile

But I heard him exclaim as he went out of sight
Merry Christmas Philippines, and to Mindanao Bob – Goodnight!

Merry Christmas to all LiP readers

The Christmas Season is in Full Swing

Every year it gets easier to live in the Philippines as long as you can keep being creative. This year as Christmas is approaching I’ve tallied up was owed to me by some members of the family. And I’ve decided to forgive the debt vice giving a present to them. (Don’t go all ballistic on me; the kid’s still will all receive their presents as usual.) I’ll buy a few Christmas cards with a note enclosed to that effect, and see what happens.

Christmas is arriving a little late this year because of Typhoon Yolanda; Mayang has not fully gotten into that Christmas Spirit but it is slowly starting, all the Christmas curtains and table cloths are hung and ready to go. The tree is up and the inside is almost done but the outside only had the Saint’s “blinking light” sleigh on the second floor roof to the joy of all the neighborhood kids. They sit for hours watching it.

Learn Bisaya/Cebuano

But here is the odd part, every year in January the decorations come down and are packed into their original boxes and are put away. Then they are taken out in November and tested and repaired for the coming season. Last year we had a fifty foot running light set up along the railing on the roof patio. They were put up with plastic electrical ties (Which cost about a buck a bag.) But my Brother-in-law Jhun suggested last January that they be left up all year. We all know that catastrophic failure is preordained when anything electrical is left to the sun and rain for tem months. It was a former light never to work again.

I had almost pointed that out to Mayang and her brother, then thought better of it, opened a beer and said nothing. The running lights will be replaced this November as they of course failed. I’ll bet they come down this January.

But here’s the part that I don’t understand. With enough lights already in her inventory to be seen from the International Space Station,why would she need to buy more? Has she purchased the empty lot beside our house, or possibly bought shares in the electric company?

But not wanting to be a Scrooge and my Grandson the Little Dude being at the age that he is starting to understand the holidays and his excitement levels are peaking, I once more mind my tongue, and open a nice cold refreshing SMB and say to the sky; “This is what you signed up for Paul.”

Another sign of the season is the frequency of Mayang’s trips to our two malls in Olongapo, plus the obligatory trip to the huge SM Mall 45 miles away in San Fernando Pampanga (Lord, please poke that stick in my eye and get it over with.) But with the addition of “SMB Beer Stations, placed conveniently around the mall I’ll make the best of that trip.

Thanksgiving is this week, and I’ll be eating turkey dinner at Sit-in-Bull restaurant in the Barrio as they put on a great feed, this is the one concession Mayang gives to me, so the family and friends will get together and enjoy the day. We tried years ago to cook the turkey at home, but found it was just too much work. Oh how I miss my sainted grandmother Molly and her cooking.

So in the spirit of remaining Politically Correct, I close with my new Christmas Greeting:

To All My Liberal Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the summer/winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2014, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada and the United States great nations. Not to imply that these two countries are necessarily greater than any other country in the world. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wisher.

To My Conservative Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Twelve Days of Philippine Christmas

A couple of years ago, I wrote a new Philippine interpretation of the classic Christmas Poem, The Night Before Christmas.  As much as I wanted to run it for Christmas again this year, I have run it two years in a row now, and I decided it was time for something new.  If you have not read my interpretation of The Night Before Christmas in Davao, though, I’d encourage you to give it a look, and I hope you enjoy it.

There is an old song that makes it’s rounds every year for Christmas, though, which I have decided to give a Philippine flavor this year, though.  Of course, I’m talking about the song, The 12 Days of Christmas.  Since I’ve been living in the Philippines for a while now, the gifts for each of these twelve days is a little different, though.

Chocolates at WowPhilippines
Christmas in the Philippines Maligayang Pasko
Christmas in the Philippines Maligayang Pasko

So, without further adieu, here it is:

The Twelve Days of Philippine Christmas

by MindanaoBob

On the first day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
A mango shake much to my glee

On the second day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the third day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the fourth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the fifth day of Christmas
my asawa gave to me
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the Sixth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the seventh day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the eighth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Eight Carabao for milking
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the ninth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Nine beggars bumming
Eight Carabao for milking
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the tenth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Ten expats Skyping
Nine beggars bumming
Eight Carabao for milking
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Eleven Filipinas romancing
Ten expats Skyping
Nine beggars bumming
Eight Carabao for milking
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My asawa gave to me
Twelve Pesos for keeping
Eleven Pinay romancing
Ten expats Skyping
Nine beggars bumming
Eight Carabao for milking
Seven politicians skimming
Six geese we’re slaying
Five golden Dings
Four lechon birds
Three new rhum blends,
Two coconuts above, and
A mango shake much to my glee

I want to wish all LiP Readers, and the writers here on LiP a very Merry Christmas!  I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy the love of your family!  Thank you all for visiting The Live in the Philippines Web Magazine over the past year, you are greatly appreciated, I can assure you.  Merry Christmas!

Bob’s friend!

A few days ago Bob bought a basketball for some kids that he knew a few months ago. Bob introduced me to these kids like a month or two ago. They are living  not too far from our house. Really near the small market in our area. One of the kids was kind of the head of the group, his name is JJ. He is more friendly and talkative to Bob. I think when they first saw Bob passing by at the market they probably called Bob by the famous names of the foreigners here “Joe.”  They were so friendly with Bob that they were friends right away. He told Bob that he goes to school in the afternoon.

Honestly they are more friendly to Bob if I am not around. Like when I first met them, the head of those kids asked me where are we heading that morning? I told him that we are going to the downtown area to get something. Bob kept on talking to them, the leader of the kids particularly. While he was answering Bob I could tell that he is not really talkative while I am there. I think he doesn’t want me to hear when he speak English to Bob. I don’t know why his so shy towards me.  He might think I will laugh at him when he speaks English, I really tried to speak Bisaya in front of them . Really I understand their shyness, I am just so happy that they felt comfortable in talking to Bob. I could see too that they tried to speak Bisaya to Bob and they all enjoyed each others company.

Bob & JJ
Bob & JJ

When we went there to bring the ball, the rest of the kids were not there. Bob wanted to go to the basketball court and shoot ball with JJ, but I guess his parents were sleeping, he had to watch their little store for them. He was happy to get the ball but also kind of shy still because I was there. See, when Bob promised to give him a ball, I wasn’t there. I don’t know if he thinks I will get mad that he asked for a ball.  I told him when he got the ball to share that to his friends, but he will be the in-charge of the ball. He can just keep it for them. He happily agreed.

Every time I pass by that area I never see him or his friends. See that area where those kids hangs out, is so near also to the place where we catch our motorcycle route on our subdivision. But for some reason, when Bob walks by on that area,  almost a every time, those kids will be there playing or talking. Of course they will be happy seeing Bob. I think I heard them called Bob “Uncle Bob”. Really they are respectful kids. They just really are shy, but its okay though.

I was thinking that we can give some gifts for Christmas to him and his friends. His friends really need our help, they really are living below the poverty line. But even with the struggle they have in life they still managed to give a smile to us whenever they see us. Sometimes we saw them on the basketball court playing games using their flip flops and an empty can (the game is called tumba-lata). I’m pretty sure next time I will be seeing them they will be shooting at the hoop there with the basket ball that we gave them.  If you want to donate to our LiP Christmas Drive this year, use the “Donate” button above, all proceeds will go toward helping poor people in the Philippines.

Thank you guys in advance for making some kids have a big smile on their faces and families food on the table during Noche Buena on this holiday season. Lets all be united in sharing a little bit of what we have to the less fortunate people here in the Philippines.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

It’s getting to be that time of year

Yes indeed, it’s getting close to the holiday season again.  For Filipinos the Holiday Season starts when the months end with “ber” like September, so now that it’s already November, Christmas is almost here.  There is a lot of excitement in the Philippines at this time of year.  People are happy and friendly.

Back in the States, and in much of the world, people look forward to what gifts they are going to receive for Christmas.  The whole holiday thing has gotten very commercialized, it’s all about shopping.  Here in the Philippines, things are a bit different.  Most people don’t have money to splurge on gifts and such.  The biggest Christmas tradition in the Philippines is Noche Buena, which means a Midnight meal on Christmas Eve.  It’s a meal for the whole family.  Food is enjoyed, games are played, it’s a real old fashioned fellowship among the people.  There was a time when it was like this in the West also, but times have changed a lot.  Also, since most Western people have more money at their disposal, this makes it easier to make a real commercial thing out of the holidays.

LiP Christmas Drive 2010
LiP Christmas Drive 2010

It’s a tradition for LiP that we have the LiP Christmas Drive.  This is something that my family and I started even before LiP existed, but over the past years we have included the LiP family in the event, and by doing so have been able to vastly increase the event.  What is the LiP Christmas Drive all about?  Well, for new readers who have joined us in 2011, around this time of year, I ask readers, if they choose, to make a donation toward the event.  My family works by buying food items and packaging those items into Christmas packages to give to the poor.  We choose a different area each year, but on Christmas Eve, we go to some remote area and give out these Christmas packages to the poor.  Usually we all dress with Santa Claus hats to give it a real holiday feel.

The gratitude that I have seen over the years from the Filipino people that we have been able to help has been very touching, and it is what drives me personally to keep doing this year after year.  This will be our 9th year to do the LiP Christmas Drive, and it seems to get bigger and bigger each year.  It is very rewarding to me, Feyma and our kids each year.

I am coming to you asking for donations a bit early this year.  Usually I wait until about December 1 or so, but because the world economy is still in very poor shape, it might help to ask a bit early, so that people can make arrangements with their funds.  Keep in mind, nobody is obligated to donate, but I ask that if you want to make a difference in the lives of some poor Filipinos, please consider doing it.

It’s a yearly tradition that each year, we take lots of pictures, and also try to make a video too, which we can share here on the site.  For those who gave money, I like to share it with them so that they can see what their funds did to help the poor.  Last year, we helped several hundred families on our regular LiP Christmas Drive.  Later in the day, we kicked off something new by going and visiting some poor students that we found out about and sponsoring them for all of their meals in school for the remaining part of the school year.  Those kids were very grateful and were really touched by the generosity of the LiP family.

I want to let you know a couple of things about the LiP Christmas Drive.  Firstly, there are no administrative costs involved.  We do all the work, so nobody has to be paid or anything.  100% of the funds that you donate will be used to purchase food items to be given away to the poor in the Philippines.  Second thing is that these gifts that pare purchased and distributed are given 100% to the poor and needy.  None of the items are given to family members or friends.  Last year, I found another “Philippine expat blog” that took donations and they gave the Christmas gifts to kids in the expat’s family.  That does not and will not happen with the LiP Christmas Drive.  These items are given to people that we don’t know.  People we encounter in poor areas.  People we have never met.  You can trust 100% that no funds will be used for family members or anything like that.

Ho Ho Ho!  Minda Claus rides again!  Can you help?
Ho Ho Ho! Minda Claus rides again! Can you help?

So, Minda Claus will be riding again this Christmas.  Are you willing to help me out by making a donation to the cause?  If so, just click on the Paypal “donate” button in the article.  If you want to give but prefer not to use Paypal, please Contact Me, and we can work out an alternative donating method for you.

Let me take a moment to thank you in advance for your generosity.  No amount is too small (or too large!), it’s all up to you.  I have gotten donations for $1 or $5 in the past, and I’ve also gotten donations up to $500 as well.  All donations are equally appreciated.  I have a new eBook coming out sometime in December.  The book will be selling for $49, and for anybody who donates $100 or more, I will give you a free copy of the new book that I am working on!  It will be sent to you as soon as it becomes available, but only for those who give $100 or more!  If you give less than $100, you also get a great reward… the happiness and good feeling in your heart that you helped somebody who may not have been able to celebrate Christmas, due to extreme poverty.

Thank you again!