We were lucky enough to convince my brother to come back to the Philippines for Christmas and New Years. It was wonderful to have him around again and he remains Mason’s favorite uncle. And he went back to Siquijor with us for Christmas and got to experience Coco Grove Resort. It was great to see family again, but our time in Siquijor was extended 3 extra days since a typhoon came through and we couldn’t leave the island! Ironically, this happened to us 2 years ago when we visited the same place with the same brother. The island just loves him too much to let him leave! However since we got stuck in Siquijor for 3 extra days, we missed our flight and reservations to Singapore for New Years. (but we were able to reschedule that trip for February)
The month of December was packed and full of fun. We had a full house and a lot of memories for Christmas 2013. My parents finally came to visit us and it worked out the best to have them here for Christmas. They only had 10 days in the Philippines, but I think that we packed it pretty full to make sure that they had enough to do and also time to relax. One of the highlights of the trip was taking my dad to the island where his dad (my grandfather) is from (Siquijor) and meeting his half sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. We also had Matt’s brother, Drew, come visit us since he served his mission in the Philippines and speaks Tagalog. After Christmas in Siquijor, we brought our cousin Sherwin with us back to Manila for a few days. It was his first time to Manila and his first time on an airplane!
As an expatriate, Matt was expected to perform at the work Christmas party his first year here. He did a wonderful job last year and can read more here. Now that this would be his second Christmas party in the Philippines, he wasn’t expected to be in the show. However the Filipinos had other plans for him. He was asked to co-host the evening with a local radio J.D.
Christmas starts in September in the Philippines. They decorate all during the “BER” months (SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, DecemBER) and the decorations are pretty nice… it’s almost ridiculous how beautiful the Christmas decorations are when you remember that the Philippines is a developing country! And during the second week of January they start to take down the decorations. So, for a third of the year Christmas is “celebrated” in the Philippines with music and decorations!
There are over a million people who live in downtown Manila. During December that number increases as oversea workers return to the Philippines for the holidays. And then the number decreases as all of the Manila residents and oversea workers return home to their provinces for the holidays. We decided to go to “our province” as well for Christmas…that being Siquijor island where my grandfather left around 1925 to go work on a sugar cane plantation in Hawaii. However, he also left a wife and 2 children in Siquijor, whose descendants we recently made contact with.
We spent 5 days on the island with family. We rented a car and our cousin drove us around. There were no presents, no Christmas trees, not even cold weather. But, we all had a wonderful time enjoying the company of our family and seeing the beauty of the land. God must really love us to have blessed us with wonderful family members.
More Siquijor photos here.