The First and Twelfth Doctors in the TARDIS!

Since I started watching Doctor Who a few years ago, Christmas became more exciting. Of course, Christmas in itself is special for me especially its religious context. You will find various articles about Christmas on this blog.

Doctor Who, a family sci-fi series from the UK, would have Christmas specials since it came back in 2005.  Doctor Who added spice to the festivities and with the story revolving around the First Doctor meeting his thirteenth incarnation (but he’s the Twelfth), I feel more than excited for this year’s Christmas special!

Here is the latest trailer for the special:

Peter Capaldi, the current Doctor, has been a long-time fan of the show since it first aired when he was still a boy. The First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, was his first Doctor! It’s nice watching him interact with his childhood hero although a new actor is playing the character.

David Bradley, famous for playing Argus Filch and Walder Frey, is playing as the First Doctor. He previously acted as William Hartnell for a biopic of the latter’s life. He is the third person to play the character.

He was interviewed early this year and was asked if he will be playing the First Doctor as per rumors. He replied with a chuckle, “Who knows?” Well, Who knows because now he is Who, too!

Too bad Doctor Who is not shown here in the Philippines. I am yet to finish Peter Capaldi’s second season on a DVD my girlfriend bought for me.

And this would be Peter’s last episode before leaving the show. He has given the series a great run, as with all actors, giving it his personal take. I will remember his wits and his fatherly image. But I am also excited for Jodi Whittaker next year who will be the first female Doctor in history!

I wish Doctor Who will be syndicated here. Online streaming providers don’t have the complete collection.

100 days before Christmas 2017

Well, there’s only 100 days before Christmas this year. And if you’ve read my post about Filipino Christmases, you would know that we celebrate the season for months. For others, today marks their true countdown for the celebration.

And if this early Christmas festivities can take away all the bad things that we experienced this year up to this point, I know most of us would gladly have them.

We would rather celebrate. Of course, just see what we have:


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The Rise of Human Rights issues in the Philippines. The country is still under the war on drugs and many are dying as collateral damage.
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The USA was ravaged by two hurricanes. Some Filipinos overseas were also affected.
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The Government’s Budget. Netizens slammed Congress after they passed that the Commission on Human Rights will be given only Php 1,000.00 for their budget next year. The constitution is now reviewed by most citizens.
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Marcos’ 100 Birth Anniversary. The late dictator was given a special celebration following his 100th birth anniversary, with the Malacañang even giving him a special holiday in Ilocos.
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iPhone X launch. Now, owners of old iPhones will strive to get this model and may starve themselves because of this.

And more. Conflicting opinions clash about these topics. We cannot blame others who would rather think of happy things than to ponder on these. But it does not mean they will not be discussed. They must be discussed in an intelligent way.

More than just a mode of diverting our attention, Christmas must teach us the gift of the season: HOPE. Let us continue to hope that our world will survive until all of these will pass.

Make Gift Giving Hassle-Free with GC Regalo!

It’s nearly September and you know how we Filipinos celebrate Christmas. We celebrate a long holiday season starting September 1st and may even extend up to the first weeks of January of the next year. However, despite this advance start of the celebration, we are still prone to be late in buying gifts!

Instead of avoiding the Christmas rush, which often includes heavy traffic, high influx of customers, long queues for payment, we often opt to buy for gifts just a few days before Christmas itself. And everyone knows this is a big hassle to everyone!

Everyone has their own reasons for buying their gifts that late. Some would wait for the malls’ massive sale and avail of discounts for the gifts that they buy. Some would argue that they are working hard so that they could have enough funds to buy the perfect gift for their loved ones. But most of us could attest that we sometimes skip early Christmas shopping because we find it hard to choose the gifts to buy!


Christmas shopping demands our meticulous side

Gifts are for people who are special. That is why there’s a need to make them special, too!

Most Filipinos who grew up celebrating Christmas often have good memories of the holidays. Almost everyone across the social strata has received Christmas gifts when they were young. That is why gift-giving is kind of a big deal for us. This is the time that most of us bring out our meticulous side and find the best gifts to give! However, most of the time, this tends to delay us in buying the best gifts, leading us to resort to getting what is available prior to our gift-giving Christmas parties.

I have many experiences in this situation. I always want to show my artistic and attentive side during the Yuletide season. But being battered with the dilemma between choosing a cheap gift and choosing pricey item will just lead me to buy for my gifts at Christmas Eve! And the worst part here is that you will never know if your recipient will like your gift or not.

Of course most of the time, gift recipients will be happy with what they get. We hate to admit it but sometimes we overthink and might feel embarrassed because of the gifts we gave. Here are some tips to skip the embarrassment guilt:


Plan your gifts in advance

The early bird catches the worm. But how about those who are early by a few months? The fattest worm, perhaps?

It is better to over prepare than to feel sorry for your gifts! Experts suggest that businesses should plan their holiday events and decorations as early as July. Hey, gift-giving is a serious business, too! Why not try planning for your gifts early. You might even have the chance to weed your list! 🙂


Show off your creative side

One question to answer before considering this: 1. Are you creative?

Nothing does it better than gifts that shout of effort. Be creative and opt for do-it-yourself gifts this holiday season. DIY projects usually cost cheaper than store-bought gifts. More than just saving, you also have the opportunity to show that you value that person by your gift. Now, if only we have the time to do them…


Give food as gifts

Channel out your Gordon Ramsay and give out food this Christmas! Sans the potty mouth, of course.

Foods are another fool-proof gift for the meticulous giver. You have your lola and mama to ask for recipes. No time to ask them? Recipe books and magazines are now cheaply sold. Also, have you forgotten the interwebs? Search for the best gourmet gift to offer! But if you still doubt…


GC Regalo to the rescue!

This is the most foolproof and most hassle-free gift method on this list! Thankfully, the power for the perfect gift is now within our grasp! Gift certificates will not only give you your time to enjoy the holidays, it will also give your recipient the freedom to choose the gift that he or she wants for him- or herself!

If you’re thinking this removes the personal touch for your gift ideas, that is where you’re wrong! You will not only help your recipient to choose the best gift, you also make sure that that gift will be useful and will be appreciated.

GC Regalo is here to help you in your gift idea needs. Take advantage of their products from SM Malls and Sodexo which gives your loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and even business partners and employees a wide variety of choice to spend their GCs on.

Their Sodexo Gift Certificate allows your receivers to avail their gifts in thousands of establishments here and abroad!


Since you can find SM Malls anywhere in the country, you will be sure that the SM Gift Certificate that you give will go a long way!


Your choice of either the SM Gift Certificate or Sodexo Certificate can be used to buy various gifts from apparel to bags and even your recipient’s food for Noche Buena and Media Noche! If you’re an employer, you may even give out these GCs as employee rewards in addition to their bonuses for a better Christmas cheer!

What’s better is that you can give these gift certificates whatever the celebration is. A fool-proof and hassle-free gift idea for all seasons is now here for you!


Final thoughts

Christmas is just one of the many joyous celebrations that we, Filipinos, celebrate with all our hearts. Gift-giving is also a universal act of spreading your love and care to other. Why not try these gift ideas for his Christmas and for all occasions you can think of!

Filipino Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays for Four Months

It’s nearly September and your friends might be sharing this meme for several hours on the first. In the early days of online social media, Filipinos would post Christmas messages at exactly 12:00 AM of the said day. But nowadays, people would make fun of this overly-advance holiday spirit and place Jose Mari Chan’s face in their profiles.

But would Filipino Christmas be complete without Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in our Hearts?” Originally released in 1990, this album would become the best-selling OPM album of all time and would top selling charts for albums since then. Filipinos all around the world would know that cassette tapes and CDs of the album would be played starting September 1.

If you have read this blog, you would know that I, too, am a junkie for Christmas. This season just brings back wonderful memories of childhood and its Christian side has always been a story of hope and love for all generations. But why the need for a long celebration?


A Time to Cringe

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August is often called tigkiriwi for Hiligaynon-speakers, a time marked by poverty and hardships. For people in working in rice fields and sugar cane plantations, the month is when the rice fields are not yet ready for harvest and sugarcane mills are not yet active. The term tigkiriwi comes from the root word kiwi, which means “turned or twisted aside, awry, oblique, inclined, sloping, slanting, leaning, canting, crooked.” The cringing face is the hallmark of this month.

Those working in sugarcane plantations would say that this month is part of what they call the tiempo muerto or dead season which starts in April covering the Holy Week celebrations which commemorate Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.

These facts alone tell that August is deemed a sad month for the people especially from those in Western Visayas. With no harvest in sight, and all the funds spent up with the enrollment fees and other school needs in June, the tigkiriwi season will surely elicit cringing faces from struggling families trying to make a living. This fact also explains why the planned change of the school calendar in the country may not be a totally good idea.

Given these, Filipinos seek for something to draw them out of the worries of August. September poses as a symbol of hope.


Ber months or Beer months?

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The last four months of the year all end in -ber and the ingenuity of Filipinos led to coining the term Ber Months to refer to them. Christmas music would be heard from malls, most notably SM malls all over the country which would set a schedule for holiday tunes to be played. FM stations also start playing them from time to time.

In the past, people would even try to decorate their homes prior to September 1st just to embrace the festive feeling of the coming season. While these phenomenon has decreased in recent years, many families and establishments would still try to do this feat.

Meanwhile, people would eventually associate beer with the Ber Months. A 2001 survey of subjects aged between 15 and 74 years (total sample size n = 10 240) found that the rate of regular drinking was 11.1% (total), 13% (males) and 5.9% (females). Regular drinking was defined as drinking on four days or more per week. But if you’re around the community, you would see that beer consumption is rising during this months.

Together with the initiative of a local beer brand to bring the German celebration of Oktoberfest in the country, the emergence of the Beer Months moniker was legitimized. Unlike other Oktoberfest celebrations in the world, this coincides with the Ber Months with various celebrations across the archipelago from September to December. However, the German Club in Manila also celebrates this event, albeit more faithful to the original festival which, as of this writing, is in its 79th year.

The 2016 Oktoberfest hosted by the Manila German Club.

Perhaps this association only proves how right the tigkiriwi idea of the previous month is. With beer, people can be happy and be festive.


A Coping Mechanism

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Maybe this early celebration of Christmas is nothing but a coping mechanism. The country has experienced various hardships in the past. From its three centuries under Spanish rule to the Marcos dictatorship, one can see how the need for a long-term celebration is imminent here.

As of this writing, the country is bracing itself for the 10th typhoon to enter the area. Typhoons enter the country’s area of responsibility during the last part of May and would even reach until December. The country has been called the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms and though these storms may hamper Christmas celebrations, the mere promise of happiness by the season aids in coping with the stress that they may bring.


“I remember the Child…”

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The Philippines is known to be the fourth largest Christian country in the world with 90% of Filipinos are Christians which consists of 80.1% Roman Catholic, 1.8% Evangelical, 0.7% Iglesia ni Cristo, 1.1% Aglipayan, and 2.2% other Christian groups including other Protestant denominations. Majority of these Christian groups celebrate Christmas and because of this, it is not surprising that Christmas is a famous celebration in the country.

The Christ child has been viewed as a symbol of hope in the country. The Gospel message of God sending His only Son to save humanity has been the closest idea of redemption for the people. The promise of a new life in Christ and His coming may have enticed people to love the celebration that comes only once a year.


Christmas Economics

Of course, Christmas also has the promise of better earnings for business owners and more compensation for wage earners. The rise of sales because of buying gifts, decorations, and food, plus the added consumption of electricity and personnel is what it takes for the economics of Christmas to be deemed beneficial.

The country has the Presidential Decree No. 851 or the 13th-Month Pay Law that provides employers to give extra pay for regular employees to be given by December 24th every year, perhaps to give more purchasing power to employees during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, government employees in the country also get their 14th-month pay by virtue of Budget Circular 2017-2 covering all civilian, uniformed, and military personnel that has been in government service for at least four months of service since July 2016. This pay is given as a midyear bonus in the month of May.

However, the Philippine Statistics Authority gathered data in 2014 and concluded that more than a quarter of the total establishment employment were non-regular workers. Employment of nonregular workers in establishments with at least 20 workers as of 30 June 2014 was placed at 1.336 million – more than a quarter (29.9%) of the total establishment workforce of 4.472 million. This only means that these non-regular workers cannot avail of the provisions given above. The issue of contractualization is still widespread in the country even with the Department of Labor and Employment’s policy of banning endo in 2016.


Merry Christmas sa gihapon!

Maybe all of these woes still lead people to for ways to comfort themselves. Christmas is a simple celebration rooted in the modern Christian tradition, solidified by several events in the people’s lives. All of the reasons I gave may just be that. But the Filipino’s long celebration of Christmas is a beauty to behold.

And before Jose Mari Chan serenades you, let me be the first to greet you: Merry Filipino Christmas!

May that star on Christ’s still shine today and give us hope ’til Christmas Day!

Christmas, Where are You?!?

Honestly, I feel like Pasko/Paskwa/Navidad/ShengDan/Noel/Christmas never came by and greeted me this past December. People were unhappy, distressed, and saw Christmas as a burden that left the season to be easily forgotten. But what happened, really?

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I came by this Belen/Nativity Scene at a close friend’s house and kinda challenged me to post something about the Nativity. And to add a “Christmas” subcategory at my categories list.

This is one Nativity Scene I love to see! This may be an extravagant one and shadow off the essence of the manger scene but look closer;

What are those two persons doing in front of the Christ-child? They were at ease! They were worshiping! I can see peace in their faces for peace is before them.

Isn’t this the essence of Christmas?

Looking for Christmas? See your heart. If there’s peace because of Jesus Christ then, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Many days of Christmas!

After all, people agree that December 25 isn’t the real date of Christmas.

I was very busy these past days and I really missed posting on this blog. REal thing! I almost forgot my password because of those activities! Whew!

But I love what I was doing. I’ve been to three Christmas celebrations (yeah, starting from the 24th) and it’s very tiring.

But I still am disturbed of other Ilonggos roaming our city. Daw wala sila nalipay nga Paskwa na. When you look at their faces, it’s as if it’s Lent.

And the lights. THE LIGHTS!!! Most of them are already off and destroyed because of the weather. ;(

My only wish is that all people, Christians or not, will consider the true meaning of Christmas. God bless you readers… 😉

Nativity Scene

A Buko Shake Christmas

One wonder I behold in our local market is the consistency of new kiosks and stalls selling things you can imagine. From the Php 12.00 hotdogs to the so-called “Shwarma Rice”, our market has it all!

Even though this product is not new especially to the Philippines, the idea of having a buko stall is kinda unique in a way. Plus, they sell these shakes with flavors. Then, you have the option of putting it in a plastic cup or plastic bottle. Yeah, and they look like these:

But, thinking over, because of these buko shakes (or buco whichever you prefer) made a Christmas for me. I came to realize that a simple thing as a coconut shake is better than hams or turkey for Christmas if you are not happy spending for it.

Another thing, its milky, sweet, and delicious. You should try buco/buko shake guys! 😉

Does Iloilo City really have a Festival of Lights?

Well, I’m being apolitical as hard as I can but I can’t understand why we need to give a special name for lighting up the City this Christmas. Really.

I mean, who does not know that every Christmas we have something? Even our Muslim brothers in the City know that and understand the majority of Christians in the City that we need to put up lights.

This festival thing, it adds up money but lessens the essence of Christmas. This is a real phenomenon.

This is just my observation.

How nice is it that we still have Simbang Gabi despite the modernization of our minds. But how can you appreciate the light if your the festival only last until 10: pm daily?

Anyways, great job J.S. Layson for the beautiful Molo Plaza. 😉

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