Month: May 2017

Philippines Famous Festivals

Philippines Famous Festivals

IMG_5593The Philippines is an archipelago of thousand islands and each islands has its unique and distinct festivals that is so different from the others and if there’s one thing that is similar- Smile- that is truly Filipino. A smile that is warm and very welcoming to the visitors may it be locales or foreigners.

Like I said, the Philippines has a year round of festivals. I will take you to some of the Famous festivals that are known not only here but internationally because of its colorful outfits and grand floats.

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IMG_5581First stop is the Sinulog Festival which is celebrated on the third Sunday of January at the Queen City of the South Cebu City. It is a celebration in honour of Baby Jesus or the Santo Nino. This is considered to be the most popular among the religious celebrations in the country. This festival alone attracts millions of visitors in Cebu City. The main highlights of the festival is the grand street parade where the participants wear a bright multi colored outfits / costumes dancing for hours never minding the heat of the sun and even the spectators or guests can dance along with them in the beat of the drums and gongs. A festival like no other so come and witness how Filipinos accepts Christianity wholeheartedly.

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Photos credit to the owner
Photos credit to the owner

Next is the Panagbenga Festival also known as Flower Festival that took place in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. It is a celebration during the month of February actually a month long flower festival celebration. It is a way for Baguio City to rise up after a devastating earthquake that hits the city in the 90’s and to pay tribute to the city’s flower that is blossoming during this month. During this festival the streets of Baguio is busy with flower- inspired floats that are beautifully design and street dancers clad with flower inspired costumes dancing in an Ibaloi inspired dance celebration called Bendian that originally came from the Cordillera Region. The festival also attracts millions of tourists and yearly the numbers of tourist increases.

IMG_5583Another festival is the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon. The festival took place every 15th of May by the people of Lucban in honor of San Isidro Labrador. This is the way for its people to thanked the Saint for the bountiful harvest every year with each houses are decorated beautifully with rice flowers, vegetables and some handicrafts. The best part of the festival is the procession in the streets of the town with the image of San Isidro Labrador. Another thing that is unique in this festival is that during the procession there are two giant paper mache figures of a farmer and his wife then followed by the Patron Saint. To culminate the festival the people here are generously shares food to every one and the children to show how bountiful this year to them.

Photos credit to the owner
Photos credit to the owner

IMG_5591Kadayawan Festival is another festival that is equally grand with those mentioned above. This fest is celebrated during the month of August particularly third week in Davao City. Madayaw where it’s name derived which means good and beautiful from Dabawenyo word ” dayaw”. It is also a thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful harvest, serenity of living and the gifts of nature in short a celebration of life. A street parade is also one of the best parts of the festival where dancers dressed in colorful and unique costumes and props danced to the beat of an ethnic inspired music.

These are just few of the best and famous festivals in the country. Come and visit our beautiful country the Philippines and experience a celebration of Life the Filipino way. It’s really more fun in the Philippines.

How the Japanese Celebrates Christmas

How the Japanese Celebrates Christmas

IMG_5508 Meri Kurisumasu!!

Filled with decors and lights in every corner, Japan is also one of the best places to celebrate Christmas.

Different from other Western countries, Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday. In fact, it is more of a commercial event. Expect a bit of diversity when it comes to the celebration itself. Since the number of Christians in the country is relatively, low, they do not consider the event as the birth of Jesus (unlike in other western countries). There is only a little difference though. The customs and traditions taking place in the country are also similar to the celebrations of the Christian countries.

Christmas is romantic in Japan. More than the lights and decorations all through the streets, couples get into romantic mood during this day. Like Valentine’s Day, it is an occasion where men express their love for women. It is a quality time to spend with special someone. Teddy bears, flowers, rings and other jewelry items are some of the most common gifts women receive during this occasion. The Christmas celebration in Japan concentrates mainly on young people and not in family. People say that Christmas is very crucial for single women since they need to have someone to spend the Christmas Eve with. The whole night must be very special and romantic for them.

IMG_5507Unlike in the Philippines, celebrations in Japan take place on Christmas Eve and not on the actual Christmas day, which is December 25. Preparations begin several weeks before December 24 where shopping season begins from the beginning of December. Numbers of people spend their money on Christmas trees, Santa Claus item, seasonal items and other decorations. Just like in other western country, Japanese people also love to decorate their homes with evergreens and Christmas lights.

Though the celebration is mostly for couple, gift giving can still be observed during the occasion. Handling over presents to friends and family members is also quite popular in this country. Parents give presents to their children. However, unlike in other countries, children in Japan do not give presents to their parents. The reason behind this tradition is the main fact that Santa is the one who brings presents to children. Once you grow up and no longer believe in Santa, presents are no longer given. Japanese children also receive small envelopes that contain money, which they call O-toshidama. Only good children receive these envelopes though.

IMG_5509If there is turkey dinner across the North Atlantic, over 3.6 million Japanese celebrate Christmas with a Kentucky fried chicken. This tradition started back in 1970 and now, KFC Japan creates a special Christmas party in every household. The shop actually sells up to 1.5 million during the festive season. Most Japanese spend Christmas Eve queuing at KFC branches across the city.

Christmas cake is also a traditional Japanese Christmas food. However, different from UK or American fruitcake, Japanese style Christmas cake is often a white cream and not filled with fruits. It is more of a sponge cake frosted with whipped cream topped with strawberries and a chocolate plate, which says Merry Christmas.

IMG_5510Another festive food in Japan is osechi-ryori. It is a dish packed in layers of lacquer boxes, called jubako. It includes:

▪ Kobumaki – Salmon cooked in kelp served in rolls
▪ Kuromame – Simmered sweet black beans
▪ Datemaki – Sweet egg roll
▪ Kurikinton – Mashed Sweet Potato with Sweet Chestnuts
▪ Kinpira Gobo – Root vegetables that are stir-fried and glazed with soy sauce, sake, and sugar
▪ Tazukuri – Dried Sardines in a teriyaki sauce
▪ Namasu – Thinly sliced uncooked pickled vegetables and seafood – marinated in rice vinegar
Though there are differences in their celebration, the important thing is that love is everywhere during Christmas Season.

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