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.