The time for merrymaking, sharing of joy and gift-giving is finally here.
For Filipinos, the Yuletide season is the most anticipated and exciting part of the year. In fact, the Philippines is known to have the longest celebration of Christmas in the world, starting the preparations as early as September.
Why is that? Christmas to us is a flurry of activities that include decorating our homes with colorful lights and lanterns, prettifying the Christmas tree in the living room, planning reunions or get-togethers, making our Christmas checklist, shopping for presents, and best of all partaking of a feast surrounded by family and/or relatives particularly on Christmas Eve. Our penchant for celebrating Christmas in a big and festive way could be attributed to our diverse influences, largely from Spanish colonizers. We’ve
been doing it since time immemorial and we’re still doing it with as much pomp and pizzazz today.
To our dear readers, however you are planning your Christmas and whichever traditions you follow, The Filipino Expat is here to guide you in making the most of the holidays. The idea is to give you more options on what to do whether you are staying in Europe or planning to spend Christmas in the Philippines.
We have features on the different ways people celebrate Christmas, travel stories from Europe and the Philippines, a list of Pinoy favorites during Noche Buena as well as gift suggestions. We even included tips on getting fit during the cold season.
And how could we forget our exclusive interview with famous Filipino actor Robin Padilla? Contributing writer Pieter van Overbeeke writes how Robin, the original “bad boy” of Philippine cinema, charmed Filipina fans during his recent visit in Amsterdam on page 42.
On another note, The Filipino Expat is greatly saddened by the latest tragedy that hit the Philippines. We join our kababayans worldwide in praying for the victims as well as the quick recovery and rehabilitation of devastated communities and provinces left behind by super typhoon Yolanda (international code name: Haiyan).
Those who want to help, turn to page 45 for the list of accredited agencies that accept donations and relief efforts. It might be a bleak time for the victims to celebrate Christmas this year, but we can at least put a smile on their faces this Season of Joy.