Christmas in the Philippines has always been a grand affair. I mean, what else could it be for a country that celebrates the holiday for a quarter of the year? But 2011 was different. It wasn’t as jolly or colorful. Fewer houses featured Christmas lights, and our street was no exception – in fact ours was barely lit. It must have been the disasters that struck our friends in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, but the gloom spread throughout the country. Despite that, the Christmas spirit didn’t stop because we sent our donations, prayed hard, and partied harder. Because that’s the great thing about us Filipinos – we get by with faith, camaraderie, and a glowing optimism. Here’s a rundown of the parties I attended, celebrated with a grain of sobriety to support our stricken brothers.
December 19, 2011: Team Supreme
Celebrated with some writers from Supreme at SM Megamall. Actually, we were there to feature some stores in the Mega Atrium but my editor Cai decided to double it as our Christmas party. Had lunch at Yabu with the marketing department of Megamall and Tim, our editor-in-chief. Went to our assigned stores together, but eventually dispersed. I got Gotti’s and Amici, both Italian restaurants. I was so stuffed because they kept bombarding us with food, and I even tried the other restaurants the other writers featured. I got to keep three kinds of pastas, two pizzas, a salad, on top of the food we ate. Met Nikko, wandered around then went to SM Mall of Asia to have dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.
December 21, 2011: TP
I was invited to the Christmas party of The Perpetualite, my school’s publication. I missed the first part of the party in Alabang because I had to work on my Atrium pieces, but I joined them at the current editor-in-chief’s bar. Had a lovely dinner and reconnected with my close friends. I was supposed to stay for an hour because I had to work on my Best of the Week stories but a good supply of drinks and company made me stay until morning. I submitted my Best of the Week past the deadline with profuse apologies and alcohol breath.
December 23, 2011: The Tins
I went to Quezon City for the Tin Christmas party, a family friend of ours. My mom and brother go a day early, but I usually go on the day itself if I have to finish tasks or if I’m feeling too lazy to join them. I decided to stay home and unwind after the stressful week at Supreme and watched movies the whole day. I didn’t encounter traffic (thank God) so I was in time for dinner. The catering was really good and I helped myself to prawn, Korean noodles, ox tongue, and good conversation from the Tins. I met a Canadian teacher who works with Kim in Vietnam and we exchanged notes on culture. We had the annual exchange gift, which is a fun experience because there are over 40 of us. Auntie Lisa picked me (I picked her last year) and she got me a wonderful bath set from Italy. Ang pao were exchanged and I made quite the collection.
December 24, 2011: The Arsuas
My family usually spends noche buena at home with my mother’s side of the family. The number of attendees can almost rival that of the Tins, but there are family dramas that decimated the size for the past two years. But the show must go on and the party was almost as cheerful as when we were complete. The food was divine, thanks to my mom who is one of the best cooks ever. We had our exchange gift, I got a Takeo Kikuchi jacket from my mom and the Japanese editions of Vogue and Elle from my brother.
December 25, 2011: Alabang
On Christmas Day, my mom invited us to go to Alabang to catch dinner and a movie. We watched Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 for the Metro Manila Filmfest. It was the least of all evils, according to mom, but I personally wanted to see Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story and Segunda Mano (out of morbid fascination for Kris Aquino’s acting). We had dinner at Pepper Lunch and caught the movie. I even ran into my editor at the cinema! I wasn’t impressed with the movie, but I did like the last part with Chris Martinez and Eugene Domingo, who teamed together for the hit Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. A week before, my mom asked me if I wanted an iPad for Christmas. I’m not big on gadgets so I probably wouldn’t enjoy an iPad as much as an Apple junkie, and I didn’t really know what I wanted so I asked instead for a 500GB external hard drive. It’s been very useful to me for storing my movies and TV shows.
To be continued here.