The Extra Special #PaskoSaPinas2017

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The time for love. The time for giving. The time for hope and forgiveness.

Indeed, it’s the merriest season in the Philippines…. ever. And we grew up looking forward to this more than any festivities.

I’m a Filipina. And if you are like me who grew up in the Philippines, or have visited this country from and between September to December, you would know how extra we are in terms of celebrating Christmas. You would witness how we find this season very overwhelming – Christmas songs in every mall, colorful and extravagant lights and decors put up as early as the start of September, Christmas deals and promotions in every shop, Christmas carols by the children in the neighborhood, and countless Christmas parties and reunions.

But unlike other families, mine tends to celebrate Christmas abroad – away from home. And if my memory serves me right, since a tragic incident that happened to our family in 2008, the only time we celebrated Christmas at home since was in 2013.

So #PaskoSaPinas2017 was an extra special one for me….. let me count the reasons why.

  1. My parents allowed me to put a Christmas decor this time.

I have mentioned above that we never celebrated Christmas at home since 2013. Therefore, we have never put up any Christmas decor since. In 2013, I put on the Christmas lights a day before Christmas and took it off 2 days after.

But this time, after several convincing, my parents eventually gave in to my request to put up even just a single Christmas decor… and my mom even helped me put with it. It’s a very simple one, but it means so much for me because after a long time, I was finally able to decorate. Check the photo below, that’s my mom helping me out:

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2. Food. Food. And food.

Yup, that’s one reason. Let me recall the first winter Christmas we had in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. Surely, it was a special one because it was the first time we experienced snow – on Christmas day itself. But we celebrated Christmas dinner over Korean barbeque. Don’t get me wrong – I love Korean barbeque, or any barbeque in that case, but certainly, I was looking for lechong baboy, lechong manok, puto, macaroni salad, pochero, spaghetti, pansit, maja, lumpia, hamon and even fried chicken and the like meant for that celebration. You feel me? I just don’t think Christmas won’t be Christmas without the usual food we have on the table.

So I was so happy when this 2017, I was able to eat all of that, personally prepared by my mom’s eldest brother, on Christmas. On Christmas eve, my mom’s eldest sister prepared for us too. Here’s a glimpse of our simple spread, not extravagant, but you know, very Filipino.

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3. Family, finally.

Aaaaah, now the emotional in me kicks in.

As I’ve mentioned, we don’t usually celebrate Christmas at home. So I am soooooo happy this time, that at least I was able to celebrate it with my beloved grandmother, aunties and uncles from my mother’s side. It’s the first time that we ever have a complete photo, and though it’s not perfect, I treasure it so much in my heart. ❀

I am that person who believes that life is too short to waste it, and that time alone should be spent wisely. I cherish every moment with my family, especially with my grandma who is 84 years old and partially blind due to cataract.

Let the photos speak for themselves ❀

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Cousins and my sister (only girl). I can’t remember when was the last time the 4 of us had a photo together.

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Complete on Christmas Day! I looooove this! ❀

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On Christmas Eve at my eldest auntie’s house. πŸ™‚

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Me and my lola (grandma) on the eve of Christmas ❀

I’d like to end this post with a personal prayer.

Lord, thank you so much. You are the very reason for this season. You are the reason why we love, why we forgive, why we give, and why we are so grateful for each and every day. Thank you for the gift of life and the gift of family… The gift of opportunity to find time and make an effort to gather all because in your name. Thank you Father, that finally, we were able to celebrate it all together.

I am praying for those who have lost their loved ones during the season, that the ones left behind will still find peace with the fact that their beloved is now happy with you. I pray for those who were not able to provide for their family during the season, that they may realize that this is not just a season of material giving, but a season to celebrate your birth and thus, a time to rejoice. I pray for those broken hearts to heal, for those anxious mind to know that they can find peace in you.

May we be reminded that loving, forgiving, and giving, should not be just on a single day… but every single day, just like how you love and forgive us.

Amen.

Spreading love and positive vibes,

Valerie xoxo


What about you? How was your Christmas 2017? Share with me your experiences on the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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