Decorations are what make an occasion, more so during Christmastime. The tinsel and baubles announce to the world that the merriest season of the year is here. Christmas decorations in the Philippines go up as early as September and stay up until the first weeks of the coming year.
Christmas decorations in the Philippines range from a simple parol to outrageous light installations. The park outside of Davao City Hall transforms into a spectacle of lights and sounds as part of Pasko Fiesta. The festivities include nightly entertainment, fun rides for all ages and street food for sale.
While considered a western tradition, Christmas trees are hugely popular in the Philippines. Filipinos use store-bought synthetic trees since evergreens are scarce in the country. Some people also use recycled materials, local trees and even driftwood. They decorate them with the usual baubles, lights, and other ornaments. Christmas trees adorn office desks, living rooms and just about every building in the country.
Alongside Christmas trees is usually a creche, locally called belen. It depicts the Holy Family with the child Jesus in the manger, surrounded by the barn animals and the three magi. You can find installations in Catholic Churches and homes. Some commercial buildings also display these nativity scenes.
Most common and universally used of all decorations is the parol. Usually a handmade lantern made of sticks and paper, these decorations adorn almost every home and building in the Philippines. The San Fernando Giant Lantern Festival highlights the modern versions of the Filipino parol. The festival showcases intricately designed lanterns with dancing lights of different colors.
The Philippines comes alive with lights and music as Christmas approaches. Christmas decorations in the Philippines reflect the Filipino’s merry spirit. Everything feels a little more festive and problems seem mundane because Christmas is approaching.