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It is Christmas Time again in Davao

American Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday shopping crazies in the States are cleaning their wounds and in a lot of the US the temperatures are cooling and winter clothes are being unpacked.
But here in the Philippines none of these changes happens. So how do you know the season is arriving? Well a while back I mentioned “Ber Season”. That is the first sign of the coming of the Christmas Season. Ber equals months ending in ber.

Well now you see and hear it everywhere. Outdoor lighted trees, Christmas music playing in the malls and in many homes and radio stations. Then there are the door to door carolers.

Here in the Philippines as it gets close to Christmas you see more and more children, teens and some adults going door to door, or I should say gate to gate singing Christmas Carols. Some songs in their dialect and some in English. They usually end with “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. At this point, if you have not gone outside, they knock on the gate, sing louder, or make some noise until you come out and give them a few pesos.
Some of these people are local residents, some are from squatter areas but there are others that is another sign of the coming of Christmas.
As Christmas gets closer, many Lumad, or native tribal groups come to the cities to beg. It is as traditional and Santa and lights on the trees.
They will start arriving about the beginning of December and stay until it is close to New Years. They can be found in neighborhoods singing, outside the malls and markets and any place there is a large concentration of people.
They will have can drums, some types of homemade string instruments and hands out. Some will just walk over and tap you and then hold hands out and motion to their mouths showing they are hungry. There are also some beggars at traffic lights to go from car to car stopped at a red light and tap on windows.
Some you see only a few times some come back every evening and some come back a few times a day. Some sing good, and some you feel like paying them fast and ask them then to go.
This is my 3rd Christmas in Davao and maybe I will get used to it, but I am not sure. I am charitable as you have read from my trips to Field of Dreams and the trip to Panabo but I prefer to decide where to donate and not be asked all the time.
Well, all I can do not is sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, , we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”
Now you all owe me a few pesos in true Filipino style.

12 Responses to “It is Christmas Time again in Davao”

  1. rick bowden says:

    One of my saying Bruce…its not very original………. “can’t always say yes, can’t always say no”.

  2. Bruce says:


    I like your saying, does it work well with the carolers and beggars? hahaha

    Thanks for the comment

  3. ... says:

    hi! can i link your blog to my blog?

  4. Bruce says:

    Yes, of course you can link to my blog. Let me know what is your blog so I can visit it and maybe add you to my bloglog.

    Thanks for reading and please continue to comment if you find something you agree or disagree to.

  5. Buddy Migs says:

    American in Davao…

    My blog is Manilenyo in Davao (manilenyo – someone from Manila)

    Its my first time to read your blog! Hope you could be part of the growing bloggers here in Davao!

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Bruce says:

    Buddy Migs,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. About being one of the blogers in Davao, I am living in Davao, and blog about it. Is there something else I need to do?

    You have a Merry Christmas too

  7. Thomas Shawn says:

    The carolers have been a source of excitement for my boys and they have been handling the duties of running to the gate and handing out the coins.

  8. Bruce says:

    I am glad your enjoying it. To me as each day brings us closer to Chrismas the carolers increase. No matter if your eating dinner or trying to rest, they stay at your gate until you come out. Plus, once they see a foreigner living there, they tell all their friends.

  9. Thomas Shawn says:

    Yeah, last night there was a caroler playing an instrument and wifey advised me to stay inside.

    I suspect news of the Americano is spreading like wildfire at this point.

    The carolers seem to be of two varieties, the truly indigent and then just local kids wanting spare change for candy, etc.

    We’ve also had people coming by begging. Mother in law runs a tiny store out front. She gives them a kilo of rice sometimes but NO MONEY!

    This is a pretty good policy in my opinion.

    Its probably pretty easy to pull the heartstrings of Americans. In Oslob we were walking past this ramshackle nipa hut and three guys were huddled around a bottle of Tanduay rum. They shouted “come drink with us.”

    I muttered under my breadth, “why don’t you lay off the bottle and then you wouldn’t live a run-down dump.”

    One mustn’t always merge systemic poverty with rank alcoholism.

  10. Bruce says:

    I see your now learning about here. The poverty and the alcholism is in all countries but more visual here since there is a higher percentage than in America. Even in America there are homeless and just lazy drunks that panhandle for just enough to buy their next bottle.
    Merry Christmas

  11. Anonymous says:

    merry Christmas to you and yours. Here in the us it is the 20th I know you are even closer. It is snowing here right now so it does feel like the holidays here in Oregon.Don m.

  12. Bruce says:

    GOD, I miss the season changes and a White Christmas. Growing up on Long Island, New York we did not get many White Christmas’s but we sure enjoyed the ones we had.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to You and Your Family.

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