What it’s like spending holidays in Philippines?

We arrived safely in Manila on a rainy day. On our first night in Makati, while riding the taxi, Caleb was so amazed by the lights and Christmas decorations on each Makati buildings. He exclaimed, “Wow, I love Makati…it is like an ice cream!“. Even the cab driver smiled with his reaction. Our first days in the Metro were spent in Makati. We opted to celebrate it there for our 10th year anniversary.

The following week, we had our family Christmas party on the 24th of December (our first with my family in the Philippines) in Laguna and it was continued with Noche Buena in Pasig. It was a feast after feast, but the best part of it was the fellowship we had with our family. In past, we would join my family’s Christmas party via Skype, our picture would be included in the family picture, except it’s on the iPad. It was nice to finally spend Christmas with everyone!!! However, we do miss the Christmas time we have been accustomed with our family stateside.

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So what its like to spend holidays in the Philippines?

Well, for one thing…it was great to spend it with family. But before we actually stayed at my sister’s house, we had a chance to just go out on our own within metro Makati. It was absolutely fun if you don’t mind activities, lights, action and busy traffic. Coming from the island in the south, it was a nice change so we don’t mind the traffic at all. Also, we tried not to go with the flow and get in line for a taxi or a ride. We used apps to grab a taxi which came in handy to go around. We tried not to spend much since our flight and hotel stay was already expensive for us, so we didn’t do much of the recommended sight seeing and Christmas actives that requires entrance fees. Our kids are just settled with going around the malls. Each area of the malls are decked out, usually for kids to enjoy and grown-ups to snap some photos.

FOOD. I forgot how good the foods served during Christmas in the Philippines.However, my taste palette have changed and became accustomed with western foods. I used to like fruit salad: a mix of canned fruits with coconut shavings, milk or cream & sometimes cheese cubes. Tim & the kids got to try some Christmas favorites like bibingka (a type of rice cake cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves) and puto-bumbong (a combination of purple yam powder & glutinous rice flour steamed and served with coconut and mascovado sugar).

Our friends, the Ross family usually sells some baked goodies during the holidays. So, we ordered their Mango Cobbler and Apple Pie. I also baked Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake at my sister’s house to get them to try my specialty (hehehe, not really as it’s from a recipe online that I just customized a bit).

TRAFFIC. For most of you, you will get tired of the traffic. Especially, during Christmas in Manila. It’s ranked one of the worst traffic in the world. I don’t know if there is any ranking for Christmas traffic in the world, but Philippines will probably top it also. It will usually take us 2-3 hours on a regular day.

What did we miss stateside during the holidays?

Christmas has been accompanied with cold weather for us, so we did missed the cold weather. Our friends (The O’Haras) took us to Tagaytay when we spent 3 days with them after Christmas day. It was chilly enough for us to wear sweaters, so it was a nice treat for Tim & Evan. We also missed the candy canes and most especially our family & friends in Indiana.

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