Christmas In Manila. Christmas In New York City

Sunday December 1, 2019


There is no place like home, as we all say… and it’s true. Manila, as we start the “BER” months, Christmas in Manila — starts as well.

We could be the earliest celebrators of Christmas in the whole wide world, but it suits us just fine. At the strike of midnight of September 1st, Christmas songs start playing over the airwaves and it gives me that sad, yet warm feeling of joy remembering Christmases past, where everyone in the family were in complete attendance- grandparents, parents, “Titos” and “Titas” who were at their prime – young, vibrant, energetic and full of life.

Christmas in Manila is all about family, where we are surrounded with not a few but a dizzying number of relatives from all sides of the family. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins are of equal importance because we grew up knowing them only as cousins, period!

September 1st in Manila. Christmas lights are turned on! Malls are shining brighter with a mix STREET PHOTOGRAPHY of reds, greens, blues and whites. Spotlighting the facade of their buildings, each mall making a huge “reveal” of their much planned out secret creative creation which was planned out a year in advance. We awaited what C.O.D. had to offer for us kids this year! A tradition was of driving there with the whole family in tow and standing outside gazing in awe.

Oohhs and ahhs filled the cool September air with us standing across the street of C.O.D., everyone watching the beautiful moving display which was the size of the whole expanse of the building’s facade. It never failed to amaze us kids, it was like having the best Christmas Wonderland right before our very eyes! Highways were decorated with gigantic colorful “parols” (Filipino lanterns), in a variety of designs and colors, with each city trying to outdo the other, much to our delight as our eyes feasted on the beauty of Christmas as we drove from Manila to Pasay to Makati to Paranaque to Alabang to Cavite to Edsa to Mandaluyong to Pasig to Quezon City to Novaliches, and so forth and so on. Christmas is alive in Manila!

New York. Christmas is alive here too, in the Big Apple! Lights are shining through every nook and cranny of the busy streets of New York. For once every year, Times Square is not the only area lit up like day in Manhattan. It’s all over every street, every avenue, every store, every park, every home, every window, everywhere! Each store trying to outdo each other’s Christmas display. Walk to Macy’s on Fifth to be like that child ogling the display of C.O.D., Cubao in the Philippines.

Some things are just like home being here in New York. Christmas in the city is like being in Manila. Lights and displays are at their best. You hear ooohhsss and aaahhhhss whilst walking the streets. Enormous buildings lit up like giant gifts, astonishing lights and awesome displays of creativity looking like a competition is going on as to which has the best display, most creative, or most amazing Happiness is in the air! Manila. New York. One may be known as the best city in the world, but Christmas is both as spectacular in these two cities. Christmas lights and all that twinkle in the air, all that shimmer and glimmer of gold dust though imaginary permeates the air. That beautiful feeling of what Christmas brings to our hearts, with a touch of sadness missing our departed relatives, but mostly the nostalgia of the season is what makes it the most beguiling holiday of the year. It’s true that there’s no place like home but I believe, home is where the heart is. Right now, today in New York, with all it’s glory and splendor, brings the spirit of Christmas, almost exactly as how beautiful it was, in Manila. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and may the New Year bring love, happiness and peace into your hearts and home.

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