Moving to the Philippines

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Where Is My Christmas?


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Christmas In The Philippines

Living in the Philippines you can expect to be approached by strangersasking "Where is my Christmas?" For many Westerners this isoffensive. I think though we need to remember we are in a differentland and what would be rude in our homeland is not rude for thepeople of the land were we visit.

In the Philippines, where poverty is the rule, people are more into thejoy of the season rather than the gift giving. Filipino will askother natives "Where is my Christmas?" if they know them.For us foreigners, you can expect complete strangers to ask you this.Remember, you represent immense wealth to most Filipino. They see ourlifestyles and our cars and our homes and the believe we have moremoney than we could ever spend. While you and I know that most of usare just getting by. That we too are usually cash strapped. ManyFilipino don't understand that.

With that in mind, respond with kindness. That doesn't mean I'm suggestingyou give them their Christmas. In fact, you cannot give anyone theirChristmas. If you give them something of earthly value that isbetween your own heart and what you can do. However, I suggest youcan respond by trying to match the joy the Filipino has for theseason. It might even do your body and mind some good. I wish I couldflush out all the negative emotion in my system and replace it withkindness and love.

I suggest you respond with a smile as you say "NaayPasko sa imong kasing-kasing." What does it mean? It is from theVisayan language which is one of the most common language in thePhilippines. Translated into English it means:

Christmas Is In Your Heart

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This has always been a problem for me whenever my wife and I would go back to where she used to work because just about all her friends would ask where their Christmas gift was in Bisaya (pinaskuhan) and I would just smile and say that we only have enough for our very large family but one year we did give each of them a cash gift of p500 and they were very appreciative and stopped asking after that because I think it embarrassed them because that was a lot of money for them back then as average workers. I often try to avoid that time of year with family and friends unless I find myself flush so I can give out cash gifts of some type.  

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That's just the way it is here in the Philippines and my wife and I make every effort to give a gift of some sort or cash to our close relatives, neighbors and friends who lives nearby weather we receive anything in return or not. Xmas just comes once a year and isn't too much of a problem to figure out what to give people close to us! And our families and friends in the U.S. understands our situation living in the Philippines and they just call us on the phone or email us to greet us Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

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I thought that was you Rusty...I am experiencing what you spoke of as having Christmas in my heart...thanks

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