Category Archives: Traditional Filipino Occasions

The Philippines, a melting pot of nations and different influences and so this features different traditional occasions from Luzon, Visayas and up to Mindanao.

Viva Señor Jesus Nazareno!

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The Feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the most attended annual religious gathering in the catholic church. Millions of devotees attended the procession this year, which started after the Holy Mass celebrated by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park. The traslacion referring to the transfer of the centuries-old image back to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church) started at 7:00 AM is one of the highlights of the fiesta every January 9th.

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These devotees believed that if they touch the rope that pulls the carriage of the black nazarene, will grant their wishes. As well as wiping the statue with their towels and handkerchief will create a miracle for them.

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Of course with this kind of crowd will surely result to some injured devotee like this guy on the photo. Most of them would really climb to touch the statue which is still a tradition for centuries in the Philippines.

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Even in the Amusement Park, they’re eagerness to look for the statue of the Black Nazarene shows how Filipinos have strong Faith which is truly exceptional.

Photo Credits from Mercury.com

Inuman Session, More fun in the Philippines

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Inuman Session is a tradition by Filipinos wherein there is a gathering of friends, families or co-workers in order to celebrate something, to have a feast or simply to relax and enjoy each others’ company. This is usually done on weekends, Fridays or Saturdays, in order to relieve the stress that has piled up during the week because of various reasons.

FOODS USUALLY BROUGHT

1. Beers of any sort: This type of alcohol is one of the cheapest in the Philippines. This can be bought in any convenience stores, like MiniStop, Seven Eleven and in Gas Stations. The two of the most bought beers are San Miguel Lights and Red Horses. Other beers are Colt45, San Miguel Strong Ice, San Miguel Super Dry, San Miguel Pale Pilsen, Tsing Tao Beer, Budweiser.

2. Hard Drinks: Sometimes, beer is not enough for the people gathered in the session. Sometimes, people also bring hard drinks like Tequila, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Rhum/Rum and Brandy. Some commonly bought brands are Cuervo Tequila, Artic Vodka, GSM Blue, Ginebra Gin, and Jägermeister.

3. Soft Drinks: These, Coke, Sprite, 7up, juices, are also part of the Inuman Sessions. These are used as chasers or mixed with hard drinks in order to lessen the strength of the taste of a hard drink. Sometimes soft drinks are used to remove the tipsiness of the person after drinking.

4. Pulutan Food: What is drinking without food? This is a necessity in an Inuman Session. Drinking would not be as enjoyable without Pulutan food. Pulutan food can be anything, rice meals, chips, finger foods or whatever. Rice meals can be anything, but it is recommended to eat grilled food to match with alcohol during Inuman Sessions. Chips can be anything too! Example of chips are Tempura, Chippy, Taquitos, Clover, V-Cut, Lay’s, Cheetos, Peewee, Snaku, Tortillos, Doritos, Mr. Chippy, Cornets, Cheese Curls, Cheese Balls, Cheese Rings, Oishi, Pizza Squares, and lots more. Example of finger foods are lechon/letson, balut or fertilized duck/chicken egg and chicharrón/tsitsaron.

OTHER THINGS BROUGHT

These are things that are not necessary but other people bring them.

1. Yosi/Cigarettes: This only applies with groups who have members that smoke. Smoking is done in the Inuman Session while drinking and chatting with other members of the group. Smoking adds to the relaxing effect when drinking in an Inuman Session. It calms down the feelings and helps relieve the stress of a person. Examples of cigarettes(that are usually brought) are Marlboro(Reds, Lights), Hope, Philip Morris, Dunhill, Mild Seven and Lucky Strike.

2. Guitars: Music is usually played in an Inuman Session in order to add to the relaxing effect to the ambiance. Music players like Ipods, CD players or mp3s can be also played when in an Inuman Session, but these would never replace the guitar. Some people also sing along with whatever music that is played to add to the fun.

3. Cards: Some people play cards to play Pusoy or Pusoy Dos. Playing cards can be done with money or not. The point here is not really to win some money but to just enjoy and have fun. Cards are also used to play drinking games in an Inuman Session.

RECOMMENDED PLACE TO HAVE INUMAN SESSION

1. House of a friend: Since the whole point of Inuman Sessions is to relax and just enjoy, one should not worry about going home because a place is closing for the night. At a friend’s house, a person does not have to worry about this because he can stay there as long as he wants, and if ever the Inuman Session ends two in the morning already, the members of the Inuman Session can stay at their friend’s house for the night.

HOW IS THIS TRADITION DONE?

This is done in different ways, depending on the group celebrating the session. The members in the group are the one who decides on how they would celebrate this tradition. They talk about the venue to go to, the people to invite, the food to bring, and sometimes even the things to do. Some people save a day per week wherein they would gather and have their Inuman Session. Other people plan their Inuman Session during or after work hours when they want to relax first before going home, and others simply plan their Inuman Session out of nowhere(ex. a person texts his friends on a Friday night to meet at a place). There are also people who celebrate events, like their birthdays, through Inuman Sessions.

In an Inuman Session itself, there are no rules whatsoever, which means every person is free to do anything he or she wants. People talk there about anything under the sun. Topics can range from problems from love life, problems in workplace, new cars, past experiences, memories from school, and many, many more. People with few words can just drink the night away, play cards, smoke or relax his mind to the music. In an Inuman Session, a person does not necessarily have to do something to enjoy. Again, the point of the Inuman Session is to relieve the stress and just relax and enjoy.

source: wikipilipinas

New Year Celebration in Pinas

Aside from lighting firecrackers and having firework displays, Filipinos have other beliefs and practices which are associated and believed to bring good luck, fortune, and prosperity in the New Year.

  • The noise and the firecrackers is believe to drive the evil spirit away and make the New Year bountiful and blessed.
  • You should put coins/money in your pocket so that next year will be prosperous.
  • You should open all the windows, doors lights so that all the graces will come to your home as you welcome the New Year.
  • Some believe that you have to wear polka dots shirts or dress because it symbolizes money, and it must have a deep pocket and filled with money bills and coins and jingled it at the stroke of midnight for good luck.
  • Some people pay off their debts in the hope that they will not be saddled with debt throughout the year.

The countdown of New Year varies from family to family or from region to region. At the strike of 12:00 midnight, the noise becomes deafening, churchbells rings, firecrackers rules the sky, kids gaping in awe as they see the different firecrackers, blooming in the sky. The banging and booming rise to a climax which includes clanging of old pots and pans, blowing jeep, car or tricycle horns, ambulance sirens for full one minute as the countdown to New Year.

It is also a favorite thing to do with children, is to jump twelve times so they will get taller next year the higher you jump the taller you grow. The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are not only meant to celebrate the coming of the New Year but are also supposed to drive away bad spirits.

Around 12:15 am, the noise stops and the air is filled with human voice and the family starts to eat a thanksgiving feast called Media Noche, it is believe that we should put as much food on the table so that next year you will have food all year round. Twelve round fruits should be on the table as it is a sign of prosperity for the next twelve months. There is also a midnight mass celebration to welcome the New Year and to thank God for all His blessings.

Source: tourisminthephilippines.com
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The Filipino Way of Noche Buena

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Noche Buena is a Spanish word referring to the night of Christmas eve. It is usually celebrated in evening consists of a traditional dinner with family in Spain, Puerto Rico, Latin America and also the Philippines. Filipinos usually do the Noche Buena at midnight after the family has attended the late evening Christmas Eve Mass or Misa de Gallo. Relatives are also reunited in their Ancestral House to celebrate Christmas together by having this Noche Buena added with fun singing of christmas carols, exuberant dancing, and persistent storytelling. Listed below are some of the popular dishes served on the dining table during Noche Buena.

1. LECHON

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Lechon is a Spanish word meaning “suckling pig”. In the Philippines, Lechon always means a whole roasted pig commonly known as Lechon Baboy. The lechon is a popular dish in any of the festivities in the Philippines such as fiestas, holiday seasons, and special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and other family gatherings. It is said that celebrations are not complete without the lechon as the table’s centerpiece. It is always served with a liver-based sauce making it more tasteful and delicious.

2. HAMON

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In the Philippines, ham, or hamon as it is called (from the Spanish jamón), is normally associated with the Yuletide season. There are local variants of Jamón Serrano, and there is Hamon de Bola, which is a ball-shaped wet cured ham, among other varieties. There is also tinned processed ham—the type in cans—available year round in groceries. The main Christmas ham, similar to a Chinese ham and served on some Noche Buenas, is similar to a dry cured one, and it has to be cooked in a special sweet broth after being soaked to reduce the salt. Then the ham is scored and glazed, and roasted. Hamon de Bola, produced by the major Philippine food manufacturers, is usually offered as gifts to employees in most companies and government offices during the Yuletide season. This can be either baked or fried. As with the other dishes “localized” from foreign sources, the Philippine palate favors the sweeter variety of ham.

3. QUESO DE BOLA

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Queso de Bola is the Filipino term, from Spanish, for Edam cheese. The term literally translates to “ball cheese”. It is a Dutch cheese in a spherical shape (usually slightly flattened at the top and bottom) and coated with red wax. With its festive appearance, it is a favorite at Christmas time especially as part of Noche Buena.

4. BIBINGKA

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Bibingka, above, is a rice cake similar to the Western pancake in appearance. In taste, texture and way of cooking, however, they are very much different from each other. Bibingka is made from galapong, baked in a special clay pot, lined with a piece of banana leaf, with live coals on top and underneath. It is topped with slices of kesong puti (white cheese) and itlog na maalat (salted duck eggs). The newly-cooked bibingka is spread with butter and sometimes sprinkled with sugar then served with niyog (grated coconut). Galapong is glutinous rice soaked in water then ground with the water to form either a batter or a dough, depending on what the cooked dish is supposed to be.

5. PUTO BUMBONG

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Puto bumbong is a dish made from purpled-colored ground rice cooked in bamboo tubes that are placed on a special steamer-cooker. Then, they are removed from the bamboo tubes, spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar and niyog (grated coconut). They are then wrapped in wilted banana leaves which will keep them warm and moist until ready to be eaten.

6. LECHE FLAN

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Because filipinos are also fan of sweets, this leche flan above is also served in the dining table during Noche Buena. It is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top. It also symbolizes for a sweet relationship between the members of the family.

7. PANCIT

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Pancit or pansit is the term for noodles in Filipino cuisine. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. Its long strand serve as a symbol of long life and prosperity.

SOURCES: wikipilipinas.com and casaveneracion.com

Christmas Season, More Fun in the Philippines

Christmas in the Philippines, one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia (the other one being East Timor), is one of the biggest holidays in the archipelago. The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols heard as early as September and lasting until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 or the Feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú on the third Sunday of January.

If Mexico has piñatas, the Philippines has its parol. Of course, a parol is not something to hit with a stick. It is a Christmas lantern, most commonly in the shape of a five-pointed star. The bamboo or rattan frame is covered with rice paper, tissue or cellophane. Almost every family either builds or buys one to hang by the window or door. Shopping malls construct giant versions of parol.

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Traditionally, a candle was placed inside for light to shine through; for safety reasons, people now use bulbs or even a flashlight. Families, schools and other places also display a creche or nativity scene called belen. Christmas trees made of plastic are decorated with lights, tinsel and balls.

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The Tagalog word for gift is regalo, but Filipinos have a special word for “Christmas gift” — pamasko. The Filipino version of Secret Santa is called Monito Monita or Kris Kringle. Students in their classes and office workers all hold gift exchanges during the Christmas season. Children receive fresh bills of money called aginaldo, usually when they visit their godparents and elderly relatives on Christmas morning.

Philippine Christmas is not complete without music, and the season is celebrated by Filipinos through caroling.  In most urban centers and rural areas in the Philippines, a group of carolers visit houses to sing Christmas songs. Some of these carolers raise funds for less fortunate families through caroling, while others are simply doing it for the joy of singing.  Some carolers may be a group of friends, or belong to the same community or civic organization.  Others may be family relatives who have made it a tradition to sing together as a family.
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In the neighborhood, a group of kids may form together as amateur carolers and visit houses every night.  They will be more than happy to receive coins or candies as reward for singing Christmas songs.  They sing even out of tune, and are creative in using tin cans, plastic containers, and bamboos as their musical instruments.  It is the fun of doing it that matters, out of tune or not!

Mostly Catholics, Filipinos begin a novena (a series of nine masses) on December 16th. The masses are part of the cherished religious tradition of Simbang Gabi, which literally means “Night Worship.” Filipinos go to church at four o’clock in the morning and afterward have breakfast together. A traditional drink during this season is a warm ginger tea called salabat and a traditional treat is a flat but thick yellow rice cake called bibingka.

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What every Filipino looks forward to is Noche Buena, the grand family dinner after the midnight mass. Christmas morning is the time for visiting relatives. Filipinos wear new if not their best clothes. Children do mano, which is kissing or bringing to their forehead the hand of an elderly person. This is when they receive their pamasko, certainly aguinaldo from godfathers and godmothers. Christmas lunch and Christmas dinner are with family.
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MALIGAYANG PASKO!! (Merry Christmas!!)

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