Here in Davao as elsewhere a lot of homes and businesses have lights and decorations on display and you hear a lot of Christmas songs playing. You see salespeople wearing Santa hats and most people say to you “Merry Christmas”
One of the differences that is hard for me to get used to is the beggars. Most are Lumads. Lumads are indigenous peoples mainly from the provinces.
Around the beginning of December they start showing up in the neighborhood going house to house. They stop in front of your gate (thankfully most if not all homes have walls and or metal fences and locking gates) and sing Christmas Carols. They are in groups as few as 2 or more. Sometimes they are kids, some are so old, so you run the gambit. Some even have tambourines or native string instruments. They will continue to sing until you go out and give them 2 pesos ( about 5 cents US)
Once I a while is fine, but some days you will have many. If I am outside on the patio, I think their eyes light up and their brain says “Foreigner, he must have money” hahaha
When our niece from out of town visited, she had great responses. One was “Shhhh there is a baby sleeping” and another was “Sorry but the owner is not home at the moment”
An interesting sales pitch to bring in Christmas shopping is at the mall we most frequent. Gaisano Mall has a prize giveaway.
First of all, I need to explain, the mall owns the department store and the super market.
They have a deal, for every 400 pesos spent at the dept. store or 800 at the market, you get one play. You have your receipts checked and they give you slips for all the games you can play. Then you go up to the computers where cute girls in MS Santa outfits log into the computer and set the amount of plays you have.
Then you enter a 3 digit number for each play. After you’re done a printout comes out with your prizes. You then go to the next counter to redeem them.
The prizes can be as big as a motor cycle, washing machine, furniture. Then there are dish sets, rice cookers, bicycles, electric grills. But most are small rolls of wrapping paper, wash cloth, 1 pair of socks, scarf’s, balloons, badminton sets, ping pong sets and others too many to list.
2 times when we were playing the computer came up with “Special Prize” and you had to enter your name, address and phone number. The first time I was so excited. I was hoping for the motorcycle. I filled in my info and what did I win? I got a 5×7 picture frame. The next time it was a set of 2 small canisters with waterproof lids.
To All that read this, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too all.