Metro Manila · "Do they know it's Christmas?" - The 'ber' months have started

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Christmas is here! Yes, you heard right. In the Philippines, Christmas begins at the start of the “ber” months: SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, DecemBER. In fact, the country is known all over the world for celebrating Christmas the longest.

As early as September, you see big malls starting to bring out decorative articles for Christmas: plastic Christmas trees, colorful balls, golden wreaths, lanterns, series of lights, among others. Radio shows have also started to play popular Christmas ditties like "Last Christmas" or "Jingle Bells." Many supermarkets have put on Christmas albums as well, reminding shoppers to start their Christmas checklist as early as now.

In some street corners, a few vendors have begun selling the popular puto bumbong, a purple colored local delicacy made of sticky rice topped with grated coconut, and bibingka, a type of rice cake which can be topped with grated coconut.

The weather also becomes a bit more pleasant and cooler.

These tell-tale signs, including the traffic, will steadily intensify in the coming weeks. Mind you, even if the Philippines celebrates Christmas the earliest, Filipinos still end up rushing their list of activities –buying and wrapping presents, organizing reunions, doing grocery shopping for the Noche Buena feast –a few days before Christmas.

And knowing how Filipinos like to celebrate big and please everyone, their checklists are quite long. In gift giving, for example, most Filipinos will have a little something for practically everyone associated with them – from family members to cousins, friends and officemates. Get-togethers are almost endless, too. That said, expect to attend numerous Christmas parties which usually start in November. 

For more information on the long Philippine pre-Christmas season, click here.