For a French/Swiss family like ours, Christmas is comes in white, with cookies and creamy chocolate. Christmas means building snowmen with cousins. It means a lot. But this year we decided to sacrifice to the tradition and we stayed on the little island of Bantayan. Tickets to Europe are too expensive at this time of year, so we had to stay in the Philippines, and my poor children had to endure a genuine Pinoy Christmas:
- Where are the luxurious tinsels in the fancy department stores?!
None of those here! I am a big fan of recycling and DYI stuff, and I spent hours admiring the creativity of the islanders. Here is just a little glimpse of their artwork, everything made of recycled material, from dried corn leaves to rice bags, DVD, chips bags and bottles caps. Made me feel ashamed of all the pricey decorations we buy while we could actually collect and recycle much more. Local families spent lots of time on their Christmas decorations, and it already gives a special tone to the event. They collect together, decorate together, so much more meaningful than just buying tinsels in a fancy shop..
On the island, we don’t need to line for hours to admire the cribs: They are at every corner of every little street, beautifully hand made. In the few days preceding Christmas, families gathered by those little altars to build the most creative Nativity scene.
2. Where is the delicious pine aroma of my beloved Christmas tree ?!
Occidental peeps, you know what I am talking about, right ? this special fragrance that talks to your memories and whispers stories of big wrapped boxes silently waiting under the tree.. Here, none of that! Pinoy don’t talk to your odorat, but to your eyes. Look at those colours, those textures, again and again, those treasures of creativity. All of a sudden my old Christmas tree looked a bit.. conventional :
3. Where is the Christmas show ?!
You know, Santa, the elves, the songs, the basics! Well, those Filipino don’t seem to have that in stock. But I must admit that they have far much better. Back home in France, we don’t do Christmas carolling. We are more to ourselves, it is not at all in our traditions. We are definitely much more introvert kind of people. Too bad actually, we are missing quite a lot. Admire the performances, incredible that you can still get a professional show for only 1 peso per singer (0.021 US $).
4. No white Christmas and snowmen to build
Actually there is white. Like the sand, like the perfect clouds .. We are surrounded by white and blue. The only thing missing is the cold, but honestly who would ever complain of having to spend the day barefoot?
My deprived children did not build snowmen with their cousins this year. And truth is, I did not feel guilty a single second!
Watch out, look at the light up there .. Must be Santa coming on his long board! Merry Holidays to you all from the most beautiful island ever
PS: the reaction I got when I dared asking the Attilas if they had missed France this winter ..