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The Philippines reminds of the Spanish Caribbean Islands, and South and Central America. Which has gotten me used to the Christmas Season Starting in September or as it is referred to here in the Philippines as the “BER” months? The stores that are not yet NIS (Not in Stock) will start to put up Christmas decorations this month and will start the Christmas music also. I know of two stores that all year has displayed 2016 Christmas candy and never marked it down, it is now ready to sell in 2017.
For my Mayang, I have collected over 45 albums of Christmas music, and I’ll know when her Christmas begins by what she plays on the stereo downstairs, I have a ban Christmas music in the car.
In August she asked if I could download some more music for her this season, and yes, of course, I will I pay for it!!! Without explaining to her that there really was no more new Christmas music, just new singers, singing the same old songs. But she really doesn’t care!
My brother Dan said Christmas doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. It was hard to explain to him that the rest of the world and here in the Philippines, don’t celebrate America’s Thanks Giving Holiday. That sent him going in circles and rapidly scratching his head and he’s never been right since.
Mayang loves to decorate her house, but I have noticed that over our years together a number of lights have dwindled, the power bill still goes up by an extra P1, 000.00 every month during the BER season. Now you might ask, why are decorations her job, and am I exempt from doing it? Not true! Actually, it is true, when I was on ships, I would be gone in November, and if I did get home for Christmas I tried to get home after the 15th of December. It just worked out that way. But now that I’m retired, I know my brother-in-laws need money so I hire them to work with my wife and string the lights. Mayang will play her Christmas music every morning, but, no decorations or tree until after All Saints Day, Fiesta Patay (Tagalog) Dia de Todos los Santos (Spanish) Lá na Naomh Uile (Gaelic) or other languages that are all listed on Google.
To her that is when Christmas starts I do the hiring, she goes out to buy new lights. I will pay extra for UL tested lights as no matter how much you save buying “Market Junk Lights” it won’t cover the cost of rebuilding your burning house on Christmas Eve.
But here is my confession, I really love the Christmas Season both here and Puerto Rico, America ruined it for me with “The Holiday Tree” they tried so hard in the past so not to offend others:
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday at the same time of year, but a tree has nothing to do with it, they use a Menorah with eight candles. I grew up in Dorchester boarding a Jewish area and we had no problem respecting each other’s special day.
Then there is Kwanzaa which was invented by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, and created Kwanzaa in 1966. It is unknown in Africa. (Also no tree is involved in this holiday)
So it is and will always be a Christmas Tree, and as long as I can it breathe air, it will always be that.
BTW; Our US President Mr. Trump, and Sir Bob Martin, both said I could use the Word Christmas! But if someone does not want to say Merry Christmas, try these;
Tagalog: Maligayang Pasko or Pasko Na.,
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Gaelic: Nollaig Shona (A language that the clergy doesn’t know)
So let me try and be the first to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and if Christmas is not your holiday; Then I will wish you a Happy Holiday Season to you and your family. I left out Happy New Year out of respect for both the Hebrews and Chinese who have different New Year, then we followers of the Gregorian calendar.
I didn’t realize that “BER” months was a Philippines wide thing. My Cebuana wife used to say it all the time and my dumb ass didn’t get it. “You know, like BRR…cold.”
You are not the first to get confused over BER and BRR, It took an old-timer sitting drinking beer with me for the cloud to lift and I then knew what my wife was talking about. In Puerto Rico we had an extra month, Little Christmas in January where the kids put straw under their beds for the Wiseman’s three Camels and in the morning the straw is gone and a present appeared.
Yeah… as every year, my asawa knows it is soon Xmas, when she hears me curse in the car, as all stations begin to broadcast 24/24 and 7/7, sirupy crooners distillating their “special Xmas soporific medicine”… Beginning september… And this time has come… Last week… Frenzy to browse radio stations and get something other than Xmas songs… Or pinoy ads, telling me that Dr Rene’s power capsule will make me feel like a young stud again… Or, like yesterday, Pagasa broadcasting an advisory that Pampanga was on alert for strong thunderstorms… Looking out, we had a wonderful blue sky and… Read more »
Patrick; 25 years ago I found local radio to have too many commercials, too much yack-yacking in Taglish, so I assume that all Filipinos understand one half of English and one half of Tagalog. Next the music is played in an odd fashion, mellow rock then they cut in with the loudest RAP crap swearing for no reason. First I used cassettes, then CD’s now 79 Gig USB with music selected from my over 5,000 album collection stored on my commuter. So except for stores and my wife’s music (Downstairs) I seldom hear Christmas tunes at all. But it is… Read more »
Yeah… Probably most will say I am a die-hard jerk, but rap is such crap !!! Now, I won’t pollute your post with this 🙂 Have a great day, paul !
The worst day in the Philippines is still better than in most other places.
Rap was invented by people who could not play a musical instrument, and lacked any talent for singing! Wow that sounds just like KARIOKE!
I agree, but not only rap… In the last twenty years, music industry invented…. quite nothing ! Just “sampling” old success songs and calling it a “major musical breakthrough”, or thugs rhyming about their drug deals, whores’ scores and such in a monotonic voice… Very sad… And that doesn’t help local karaoke… they already mostly sing like old frying pans but on top, beer helping, you feel like being in a hysterical cats’ mad house ^_^ We had some nice time with Duterte’s curphew, but lately, I begin to hear again drunken meowings all the way through the night… Now… Read more »
Adding a loud one-two beat to a thirty year old former hit will not cause it to be original in 2017.
Paula Merry Christmas to u and ur family.
Thank you; and a glorious Christmas to you and yours!
Here in the Philippines it is tradition, there in the states, it is greed!
Great post! Can I send the soon to be chilly US weather over that way?? That would be swell 🙂
Send that cool weather over by LBC, we should get it by March when it would be quite enjoyable! (LOL)
Next year Amazon is starting Christmas on the 5th of July.
Paul, you forgot “Festivus for the rest of us”. Also my Pinoy relatives now look forward to Thanksgiving since they discovered it involved lots of food that was provided by yours truly!
Twenty five years ago turkeys were as rare as…
Well “Turkey Teeth” So we never bothered with Thanks Giving, there are restaurants and Military Service Clubs that put on a good Thanks Giving Feed and we sneak off to them.
Oh (LOL) I didn’t forget festivus, I just ignored it!!!
Yup. Started hearing Christmas music in the mall a week ago. Stores have the trees up for sale. The part that annoys me are the horrible carolers at my front gate expecting money, but I don’t expect that to start for awhile yet… but I could be wrong.
Our Barangay Kaptian hates the pan bangers also. Christmas week is the only time they are allowed, and it’s enforced. I’ll help him get reelected.
Carolers you say? You are so kind!
You could breakdown this year and order a live Douglas Fir tree from S&R for 4200p. I bet Mayang would really like that lol. As far as the cheap market lights I can’t break Anne of getting them as she plans on going to Divisoria next month to stock up.
Her old artificial tree works fine, no messy fallout of pine needles, which is another fire hazard along with those cheap lights. They will not burn down my house! (LOL)
On the ship’s we had artificial trees because of fire regulations, and we had a new one every year. Because on New Year’s we dumped the entire tree decorations and all in to the sea.
It’s not too bad up here in the mountains…… yet. No malls to speak of, and the regular stores and shops haven’t yet lost their collective minds. I hear the occasional Christmas song in a commercial, but the relentless bombardment hasn’t yet begun. Another thing in my favor is that folks here love old style country and WESTERN music. Not unusual at all to hear Bob Wills or Ernest Tubb on the radio, or as dance music at a local fiesta. Even some of the Ilocano songs use steel guitar or a western swing style. The current crop of residents… Read more »
If I may butt in, Mr. Cordillera Cowboy, please add Freddy Fender and
Country Roland Band to your collection. Thank you for letting me comment here. Gracias.
Come to think of it Jose, I have heard one of our tenants singing Freddy Fender. I’ll have to look up that Country Roland Band!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uU8Js1DH3I Enjoy..there are more more both in English and Spanish.
Thank you Jose! It’s been a full 35 years since I lived in Texas. wonderful to hear Tejano music again!
To save myself ear pain I downloaded Christmas music by all the old crooners Frank, Tom Jones and alike, but also all the Country Singers! But then Hip-Hop and Rap talkers seldom make Christmas’s Albums. (LOL)