Merry Christmas to all!

Yesterday, the world celebrated Christmas Day- Christiamdom’s biggest and happiest celebration of all. Filipinos traditionally celebrate it the longest, generally starting when the calendar announced the coming of the BER month (September, October, November then finally December).  Many houses starts putting decor like Christmas Tree, Lanterns and Christmas lights as early as September. Kids starts singing Christmas carols in the street when December comes. Truly, it is such a joyous season.

It is just too bad that I am unable to attend the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day mass here in Bangkok because the English mass is too limited and the timing doesn’t match. You see, I had to work on Christmas Day because it is not considered a holiday in Thailand.

Last Christmas Eve, we trooped to one of my friends’ Condo to celebrate the day and have Noche Buena with friends. We decided to do pot-luck instead of just one or two persons cooking the food. I think it is better since we are able to taste the specialty recipe of each. I decided to share Spaghetti and Beef steak. We prepared our favorite foods like Kare-Kare, Adobo, Grilled Pork, Grilled Squid, Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad and a secret recipe of spicy squid from one of them.

We started dinner early, around 8:30 PM then we had Karaoke and sang to our heart’s content while sharing a glass of liquor.

It was a truly enjoyable night….

When the clock ticked midnight, we greeted each other Merry Christmas and exchanged gifts then continued eating, singing, drinking and chatting..the party lasted till the wee hours of the morning.

Finally, I arrived home quarter before 6AM. After 2 hours of sleep, rushed to work. What a memorable day it really was! Surely, I missed home cos this is the 2nd year I am celebrating Christmas and New Year away from them but I was able to call them early on before the network gets busy that day so it’s good enough for now.

We haven’t finalized our New Year’s Eve plans as there are many propositions. Hopefully soon we are able to decide the right venue and activity for that day.

I am sharing the pictures of our food taken during Christmas Eve. Sorry, I had to skip our own face pictures cos it will be very evident that we eat a lot! Ha ha ha! I think I am able to post our latest pictures after the holidays when the big eating is over..LOL.

A Blessed Christmas and bountiful New Year to all. May the season bring us peace, good health and contentment. Let us not forget the reason for the season..our Lord Almighty!

Simbang Gabi, a unique Philippine Christmas Tradition.

Today, December 16 marks the start of Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn. This is the longest and arguably most popular Philippine tradition and held nationwide and in other places worldwide wherein a good number of Filipinos are living or working. This unique Philippine tradition traces its roots in Mexico in 1587 when the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria to hold Christmas mass outdoors because the Church could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the evening mass. What makes Simbang Gabi a very significant tradition for Catholics is that it not only builds stronger bonds between family members because in most cases every member of the family go to mass altogether to experience the Dawn mass. Moreover, the faithful feels the presence of the Lord even stronger because it is our preparation for Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carols are sang before, during and after the mass to celebrate this season. Everyone is in a jolly mood even though they have to wake up early so as not to be late for the mass. Many people believe that if you are able to complete the 9 days of Simbang Gabi, your wish no matter how difficult- will come true.

After mass, most of the church goer will partake various local delicacies like Puto Bumbong, Bibingka, Salabat and many others. This is a most enjoyable activity because these foods are usually served or sold during the Christmas season and very rare to be found during a normal day.

It is so fortunate for me to be able to experience Simbang Gabi even when I’m overseas. Filipinos in Bangkok are not as many as other countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi or even the US but luckily the tradition of Simbang Gabi remains. What made me even luckier is that the Holy Redeemer Church which is one of the biggest Catholic Church in Bangkok (and there are not too many Catholic Churches here being a predominantly Buddhist nation) is very accessible from my place (around 5 mins. drive in the early morning). Thus, it will not be difficult for me to celebrate this tradition.

I attended the mass today with few of my friends and approximately over 90% of the church goers are Filipinos. Surprisingly, there are some westerners and I saw an Indian Family attending the mass too. After the celebration, the popular Christmas Carol “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” (Christmas has arrived) was sung. In addition, free breakfast is served at the back of the Church sponsored by various Philippine Groups or Organizations in Thailand which is really an enjoyable sight as you get to mingle with your fellow Filipinos while enjoying a sumptuous food and a cup of hot coffee.

Indeed it is such a good feeling to at least have a share of sacrifice during this time of the year by making an effort to wake up very early to attend the mass. Moreover, it is a time to remember and Celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the reason why we are called Christians.

The start of Simbang Gabi signals a bigger celebration as part of the annual Christmas festivities.

Imagine a world without music…

no music
 
Last night, I was thinking of a new topic for my blog since I have not updated my blog for the longest time..been really pre-occupied lately. Since I was talking to my friend Boni, he suggested a topic about a world without credit card.Hmm, sounds interesting. With modernity looming and internet booming than ever, using credit card is almost inevitable.
 
However, as I opened my blog site, I had a sudden change of mind (which I had been doing a lot often recently)…I now am writing about what the world would be without music…A world without music? Hmmm…
 
A world without music means taking your daily shower before going to work or school or getting off to bed like a silent lamb. It means we cannot express our patriotism every Monday Mornings through our National Hymn. It means our Sunday Mass would just consist of the reading of the Scriptures, a Sermon, Homily and Communion without the Angel-like voices of the choir.
It means blowing a birthday cake would begin with just a simple greeting of “Happy Birthday”. It means Graduation Ceremony is less memorable because a heart-felt graduation song is missing. It means the bride walking down the aisle in her wedding day is like a thief silently walking in the night..
 
It means our Christmas nights would be less enjoyable without kids singing carols in our front gates and asking for some Aguinaldos..The word “harana” may not have been created as well.
Babies may have a hard time sleeping without the soft lullabies of their moms whispered in their ears…
 
Michael Jackson could have died an ordinary man…
 
…the list goes on and on. I really can’t imagine a world without music.
 
As they say, music has no language. No matter which country you come from, you would know a good music when you hear one. You don’t have to know the meaning of the lyrics to enjoy the song in full. Music speaks to one’s heart.
 
Thank God for the music..Thank God that I can still sing whether its a good or bad situation.
 
I am sharing a short poem I read in this website:
 
A world with out music is like a girl with no doll
A sky with no sun
A boy with no ball
A world with out music has no meaning at all
No meaning to laugh
No meaning to care
No meaning to love
and no meaning to share
no one would speak
no one would give
no one would play
no one would live
so thank God for music
thank him a lot
because without his music
our story would have no plot

-Brooke Field

Keep on singing my friends!