This will be the third year that I have spent Christmas and New Years in the Philippines. Christmas in the Philippines is very much different than Christmas back in the states or even with my family in Korea. Now that I think about it, I think I have had more Christmas and New Year’s in other countries than I have had in the United States. With my family all over the world, spending the holidays without them makes the holidays a little bit depressing. Spending time with my family around the holidays is so important to me and it gives me an excuse to do another flight, excursion, adventure in another country.
What is fun about Christmas in the Philippines for me, which some people might not enjoy, is the tropical location. I know it is different than the cold weather and having snow, but for me it is a break from the cold and enjoying the warm weather on the beaches (haha even though I live in California). It gives me a taste of summer, my favorite season of the year, and has me lingering for more.
When I go back, what I really look forward to (other than spending time with my family) in the Philippines is the beautiful Christmas lights they have in in Tangub City in Mindinao. This is very similar to Global Winter Wonderland which they have in Sacramento and Fremont, CA. They have beautifully decorated and lit buildings and architectures. It is a beautiful place to see at night especially when you feel like you might be missing the holidays when it is warm outside. The Philippines is also a highly religious country, so you will often time see nativity scenes.
New Years consists of something similar to Mardi Gras in the states. People wear masks and party all day long. They shoot of fireworks, host a parade and you see so many people in the streets. We usually go to the fiesta in Tudela to celebrate with all of the locals.
During the holidays, you will always see fake Christmas trees, decorated buildings, Christmas music playing constantly in all of the stores and tons of kids Christmas caroling in the streets. Christmas day and New Years Day on the beach is always something fun to do in the Philippines, but the most important thing about spending the holidays for me is spending it with my family. Maybe next year, my family and I will meet up in Malaysia or Hong Kong.