Feeling the Christmas spirit in Beijing

On the way to the Philippine Embassy Christmas
party where I had so much fun with friends :)
I guess nobody can argue on the fact that no one celebrates the real Christmas like Filipinos do. And I'm proud of that and I'm always flattered whenever foreigners say that. Of course! Filipinos have a special way of celebrating Christmas. Back home, you can already hear Christmas songs being played everywhere and Christmas decors being sold in shopping places as early as September. We'd always refer the 1st of September as the start of -BER months and that would sometimes mark the start of the countdown to Christmas. We'd all start putting up Christmas trees and decorations right after All Saints' Day on the 1st of November, doing some early Christmas shopping by mid-November to avoid the Christmas rush. And when December comes, you'd get invited to different Christmas parties here and there - where you will really appreciate and see the joy and happiness that the holiday season would really bring.

For some of us who have always been away from home for quite some time, we have already learned how to deal with the extreme sadness and homesickness we feel when December comes around. Some generous families would often offer their abodes to be the venue for Christmas parties. This year, I have already been to two Christmas parties. And even though we are the ones who live the farthest, we made sure to attend those parties.

The first Christmas party we've been to was organized by some Filipinos we haven't met, which was held at a restaurant they have rented. We just got invited to attend and join the Kris Kringle or Exchange Gift or Monito-Monita. Basically, you'd draw names before the occasion and you'd shop for gift for the person you have drawn. We haven't met both of our 'monitas' personally so hubby and I just bought some cute portable speakers as our gifts. Hubby got a Hard Rock Cafe cap while I got a very nice Zara shoulder bag. Most of our musician friends in Beijing attended the party and we all had such a great time chatting, drinking, and singing.

The second party was organized by the Philippine Embassy in Beijing. It was well-attended by Filipinos and non-Filipinos. In fact, you won't have any idea how many Filipinos live in Beijing if you missed the occasion. There were lots of performances - very typical of Filipinos. The funny and witty host, Omar Lacap, who has always been the host of Filipino gatherings in Beijing, has made the party more engaging and entertaining. There were party games which I joined in for the sake of fun. One of the games was the "pambansang laro ng Pilipinas" (national game of the Philippines) --- Pinoy Henyo. My funny friend Darren and I joined the said game and it was really fun! We almost won but have tied with another team. Oh well, it was my first time to play Pinoy Henyo ever and I really had great fun! :)

Not even the most expensive hotel dish can beat the
satisfaction I had when I had these Filipino dishes! :)
There were also raffle draws of roundtrip tickets courtesy of Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines - which we didn't win again. There were free food like arroz caldo, pancit bihon, tokwa and dinuguan, sponsored by some generous individuals, and although they weren't the best dishes I have tasted ever, they became the highlight of my Christmas. Why? It's the essence of what it was for --- Christmas food. And sharing the moment with your good friends is something that even the most expensive hotel dishes can't beat. :)

Even though Christmas is exactly one week away from today, I can say that I have already celebrated it during the two Filipino gatherings we've been to. Iba talaga ang Paskong Pinoy! :)

PS: To those who have been waiting for the photos that I've taken with friends this year, I will be posting them soon on our Facebook profile! :)

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