What Christmas traditions do I miss the most?

It’s funny in a sad kind of way. I am not even an OFW who had to endure Christmas away from home. I am in the Philippines, albeit in a different island and hours away from my family. It is much easier for me to spend the holidays with my family than the thousands of overseas workers who work so hard to give their families a better future. Yet, this is the 7th year that I will not be celebrating Christmas or New Year with my family. 

Filipinos are big on traditions. Family ties is very important and for me, it is greatly reinforced during celebrations like Christmas and New Year. 

In the Philippines, more than anything else, Christmas is a time for family. It is every Filipino family’s tradition to share Christmas eve and New Year’s eve with the people closest and dearest to your heart (even if they drive you crazy 363 out of 365 days). 

I remembered spending Christmas eve with my cousins. Christmas eve is probably the only time of the year when we can spend time together. Though in those days, I didn’t really appreciate their presence that much. My tita has a lot of books and when I am there, I would grab one and sit in a corner. I would always get scolded and told to spend time with my cousins. Now, I wish I can spend Christmas eve with them again.

I miss spending time with my family, to be honest. I used to hate it a lot but I now miss preparing the food with them. Or at least being told to run errands for them while they prepare the food.

I miss eating with them. I miss laughing with them. I miss them. I hope they’re having an amazing Christmas eve dinner. :|💕

Yes, I know it’s Christmas. No, I’m not giving you anything.

I am a type of person who, if you ask for a gift, I will not give you any even if I was already planning to give you one or even when I was already prepared to give you one. I am not sure if it is because I hate being told what to do or because I hate people who thinks the world owes them something. Probably both.

Here’s what I believe in: a gift is something that is freely given. It is something that came from the heart. When you force someone to give you something, it’s no longer a gift. I’m still not sure if you can consider it extortion or possibly bribery (a gift in exchange of the person’s peace of mind). 

Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you, “you should give me a gift.” How about NO? I mean, why should I? 

I actualy like giving gifts. I like it when I give something to someone and their face would lit up and you can see that they genuinely appreciate what you gave. I like making people happy even though I don’t like people (in general) that much. I just hate it when someone demands from me something that I don’t have an obligation to give to them. 

Patience is a virtue. Things comes.to those who wait. So, wait. Don’t ask me for anything. If I feel that you are special enough, I will give you something. 💢💣💢💣

National Geographic caused it!

If you are looking for someone to blame for my wanderlust, I suggest you blame the National Geographic. And probably my family too because they never stopped me from reading it.

I have come to realize that it is not traveling that makes me happy. It is the things that I learn when I am traveling that make me happy. More than I like adventure and a great view, I love to learn. I love history and culture. I love learning how people live in other places. I love learning their customs, traditions, beliefs , etc.

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When I was a child, I read a lot of National Geographic magazines. I remembered being especially drawn to stories of the ancient civilizations: the Egyptians, the Mayans, the Incans, the Aztecs. I would read their stories over and over and stare at the photos of ancient temples and burial sites. Most of the places in my bucketlist are there because of this magazine.

I would spend hours just reading the magazine. I would imagine the Incans and their golds; the Mayans and their sprawling cities and temples; the Aztecs and their pyramids and blood sacrifices. I would also read about the people in remote places of the world and how they live their lives and keep their traditions.

As a grown up I would spend hours watching documentaries from the History Channel and the National Geographic. When I travel I am more drawn to historical places. I love taking photos of century old buildings and be amazed every time at the thought that these were more than just buildings. They were part of our past.

What fascinated me more about Sagada is not the view but their burial rituals, the history, traditions and culture. What made my trip to Zamboanga memorable are not the seafood and the white and pink sand beaches but the stories and dreams of the people who lived there. The dreams of that driver in Malamawi and the stories of the people I was with in Sta. Cruz Island made my travel more worthwhile.

I long to travel abroad not because I want to see the sights but because I want to see how they live. I want to learn their culture firsthand. I want to see the historical sites and learn history where history actually happened.

I remembered visiting the Diplomat Hotel in Baguio. I have always wanted to visit the place and this is not because of it being haunted, I have a really vivid imagination and I don’t need a haunted hotel to scare me. I do a great job scaring myself. Besides, if I want haunted all I have to do is go home. I was drawn to it because of its tragic history. (Apparently, I am also morbid.)

I guess I am truly blessed to be born in a family where I was always encouraged to learn. I am blessed to be born in a family where I am encouraged to see the world and learn whatever I can from it. I was taught to go out of my comfort zone and they have always supported me both in days when I prefer to stay at home and read and in days when I prefer to roam around places I’ve never been to before.