The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is like no other. Both adults and children are looking forward to the longest of the Philippines festivities because it is the time of the year when families and relatives could enjoy time together and for the children to anxiously open their regalo or gifts from their Ninong and Ninangs (godparents).
The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is considered to be the world's longest Christmas season with Christmas carols could be heard in as early as September and the season lasting up until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 or the Feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú held every third Sunday of January.
Filipinos have several traditions which makes the celebration in the Philippines unique. While one may not see the usual snows in the Philippines, it could be compensated with the bright lights and decorations found in parol or lanterns adorned in Filipinos houses offices, schools and even the streets. Some municipalities even award households with the best lantern and Christmas lights displays.
Other fun traditions by Filipinos during the Christmas season is the Simbang Gabi which is a series of nine (9) dawn masses, the mass starts as early as 4:00 a.m. It is believed by many Christians that when you get to complete attending the mass beginning from December 16 until the midnight of the December 24th, one's wishes may be granted.
There are really many reasons why our OFW relatives and friends should consider going home this coming Christmas, one of which is the opening of the Pinoy Homecoming hospitality center at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.
Pinoy Homecoming Hospitality Center Opens at DMIA
Balikbayans arriving at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Pampanga, will experience their warmest welcome yet with the opening of the Pinoy Homecoming Hospitality Center at the airport on November 29.
Spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the homecoming center is part of the government's ongoing efforts to boost visitor arrivals from the balikbayan market by 25 percent in the next five years. Dubbed as the Pinoy Homecoming campaign, it primarily targets Filipinos based overseas, not only in the United States and Canada but worldwide.
A result of Presidential Proclamation No. 181 “Declaring the Years 2011 to 2016 as the Pinoy Homecoming Years” signed on June 3, 2011, the campaign supports Republic Act No. 6768, as amended, or the “Balikbayan Program.” Under the Balikbayan Program, overseas Filipinos (OFs) are given special privileges and benefits in recognition of their contribution to the growth of the Philippine economy in terms of foreign exchange inflow and remittances.
“This is a campaign that recognizes three things: the invaluable contributions of Filipinos overseas, our urgent need to develop and promote Philippine tourism further and how much can be achieved when government agencies work together,” shares DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez. “We also have to tap into the market of second and third generation Filipinos abroad and encourage them to discover their roots.”
To reach this set of younger Filipinos abroad, the campaign also has a digital marketing component. Through the website www.pinoyhomecoming.ph, Pinoys abroad can easily access Philippine news portals, tourism products and services, practical balikbayan tips, Philippine holiday and festival calendars, as well as a directory of industry partners and the contact details of DOT’s international offices.
The campaign is supported by Globe Telecom, Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC)and the over 700 partner-merchants nationwide. For more information on the campaign and balikbayan benefits, contact the Pinoy Homecoming Secretariat at 632 525-1255, 632 525-9318 local 268 or 244; fax to (632) 521-6165, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, will you come home this Christmas?