☆News from BBTO Global Team☆




(Christmas has arrived)
By: Berna Agsalon
I think nothing ever embodies the length of the Christmas season in my country as accurate as the classic Filipino Christmas Carol, “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” (Christmas has arrived). You start hearing this ditty once the “-ber” months begin. CNN correspondent, Sandra Brown, once wrote:
“The Southeast Asian island nation (Philippines) has the world’s longest festive season — and pulls no punches in its celebratory zeal for the period, with lavish light displays, masses, and festivals held throughout the country from September until January.”
Christmas is indeed celebrated the longest here in the Philippines. Once September sets in, companies start setting up Christmas decorations in their office headquarters, mostly in the business districts of Makati and Ortigas. Employees start to look forward to getting their extra pay in the form of the government-mandated “13th-Month Pay” and the company’s “Christmas Bonus”. Some companies also start shopping and packing their “Christmas Baskets” to be given to their employees as Christmas gifts. Most restaurants and hotels start advertising their services for annual Christmas parties. With a lot of the party venues being fully-booked in December, some companies hold their Christmas parties in November.
The Feast of the Epiphany is the first Sunday after New Year and most often marks the end of the Christmas season. However, in recent years, with the celebration of the Chinese New Year falling around the months of January and February, some establishments don’t take down their decorations until after Chinese New Year.
Thus, Christmas in the Philippines is certainly a quarter-a-year holiday season. And as you hear the fading echoes of the song “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” signifying the end of the season, we remember the message “at magbuhat ngayon, kahit hindi Pasko ay magbigayan!” (And from now on, even when it’s not Christmas, let’s share!). I think this message of the Christmas season, above everything else, stands for the resilience and generosity of the Filipino spirit and the power of our Christian faith.


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