Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

4 reasons NOT to spend Christmas in the Philippines

For a French/Swiss family like ours, Christmas is comes in white, with cookies and creamy chocolate. Christmas means building snowmen with cousins. It means a lot. But this year we decided to sacrifice to the tradition and we stayed on the little island of Bantayan. Tickets to Europe are too expensive at this time of year, so we had to stay in the Philippines, and my poor children had to endure a genuine Pinoy Christmas:

  1. Where are the luxurious tinsels in the fancy department stores?!

None of those here! I am a big fan of recycling and DYI stuff, and I spent hours admiring the creativity of the islanders. Here is just a little glimpse of their artwork, everything made of recycled material, from dried corn leaves to rice bags, DVD, chips bags and bottles caps. Made me feel ashamed of all the pricey decorations we buy while we could actually collect and recycle much more. Local families spent lots of time on their Christmas decorations, and it already gives a special tone to the event. They collect together, decorate together, so much more meaningful than just buying tinsels in a fancy shop..

On the island, we don’t need to line for hours to admire the cribs: They are at every corner of every little street, beautifully hand made. In the few days preceding Christmas, families gathered by those little altars to build the most creative Nativity scene.


2. Where is the delicious pine aroma of my beloved Christmas tree ?!

Occidental peeps, you know what I am talking about, right ? this special fragrance that talks to your memories and whispers stories of big wrapped boxes silently waiting under the tree.. Here, none of that! Pinoy don’t talk to your odorat, but to your eyes. Look at those colours, those textures, again and again, those treasures of creativity. All of a sudden my old Christmas tree looked a bit.. conventional :

3. Where is the Christmas show ?!

You know, Santa, the elves, the songs, the basics! Well, those Filipino don’t seem to have that in stock. But I must admit that they have far much better. Back home in France, we don’t do Christmas carolling. We are more to ourselves, it is not at all in our traditions. We are definitely much more introvert kind of people. Too bad actually, we are missing quite a lot. Admire the performances, incredible that you can still get a professional show for only 1 peso per singer (0.021 US $).


4. No white Christmas and snowmen to build

Actually there is white. Like the sand, like the perfect clouds .. We are surrounded by white and blue. The only thing missing is the cold, but honestly who would ever complain of having to spend the day barefoot?

My deprived children did not build snowmen with their cousins this year. And truth is, I did not feel guilty a single second!

Watch out, look at the light up there .. Must be Santa coming on his long board! Merry Holidays to you all from the most beautiful island ever

PS: the reaction I got when I dared asking the Attilas if they had missed France this winter .. Attilas





22 comments on “4 reasons NOT to spend Christmas in the Philippines

  1. mopana
    December 29, 2015

    Gorgeous reaction :))

    • estelea
      December 31, 2015

      Guess I really don’t need to feel guilty for not pushing for a Christmas in Europe 😉 Happy new year my dear!!!

      • mopana
        December 31, 2015

        Happy, lucky and healthy new year to you and yours!

      • estelea
        December 31, 2015

        Thanks a lot 🙂 See you here next year, looking forward to more chats!

      • mopana
        December 31, 2015

        Of course my dear 🙂

  2. LifestyleswithLia
    December 29, 2015

    I adore this post! Thank you for sharing with us the beauty and creativity of Christmas in the Philippines! I love the homemade decorations and especially the water bottle Christmas tree! What a colorful and magical place… And no snow ! Ah sounds like my perfect paradise!

    • estelea
      December 31, 2015

      And we have a great kitchen for you to make the eggplants parmiggiana, so book your ticket for next year 😉 This island is known for being so calm, no crazy karaoke (at least to a far more human volume than the ones in town), and with so many kids everywhere, Christmas could only be merry !

  3. terryb
    December 29, 2015

    What a wonderful post, and I love the finale! Merry Christmas!

    • estelea
      December 31, 2015

      Thanks a lot, their face can’t lie 😉 I still kinda miss the cold in Xmas, but just for a day or 2.Actually just for the sake of drinking litres of hot chocolate believing that my body needs the calories with this cold 😉 Beautiful year to you !

      • terryb
        December 31, 2015

        You’re welcome and happy New Year to you! The winter weather finally arrived here in the Hudson Valley, NY a day or two after Christmas. We had a very unseaonably warm spell for a while, but it finally got cold. We haven’t had any snow yet, only hail and freezing rain. Everything is wet and brown and bone-chilling damp right now. I’m hoping it gets a bit colder and drier with some of that lovely white fluffy stuff framed by blue sky above. I love the snow, but hate the damp. A warm home, a good pair of snow pants, and a well insulated coat make for a happy winter in colder climates! 😉

  4. Filipinas
    December 29, 2015

    thanks! merry christmas! -filipinas

    • estelea
      December 31, 2015

      😀 Thanks a lot and A very happy new year! so happy to spend it in your awesome country

  5. that traveling nurse
    December 29, 2015

    “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart….” hahahaha… that cracked me up Estelea. Yes, I do miss the caroling in the Philippines. It annoyed me to no end before since as early as September, the kids already start doing it but now that I am away, yeah, I do miss it. I remember as a student nurse working in the hospital, the whole hospital held a Christmas decorating competition and everyone would decorate their respective units beautifully and creatively! Some used empty vials, caps, disposable plastic syringes, plastic dextrose bottles, IV tubings, anything to use as decorations. I miss that here too. I guess because of freedom of religion here, a public establishment cannot openly celebrate Christmas for fear of disrespecting other religions. Bah. Thanks for this beautiful post! 🙂

    • estelea
      December 31, 2015

      I totally hear you! There is so much joy and fun all around at this time of year, you guys really know how to make it Merry 🙂 Happy New Year dear!!!

  6. thatssojacob
    January 1, 2016

    Just dropping by to wish you a happy new year!

    • estelea
      January 5, 2016

      Thanks a lot 🙂 A very happy, healthy and fun year to you too! See you here or there

  7. LDG luciledegodoy
    January 6, 2016

    What a beautiful post! You educate and enlighten us and I love it! Thank you.

    • estelea
      January 7, 2016

      Thanks to you for everlasting supportive and encouraging comments ❤

  8. dunelight
    January 11, 2016

    Best rendition of Last Christmas..ever!

    • estelea
      January 11, 2016

      Wham ! is so pale in comparison. Those kids are the real artists, aren’t they? Happy New Year !

  9. Pingback: Repurposing on the road, Filipino Style | Estelea's Blog

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