Thursday, December 8, 2011


The Philippines is the only country that celebrates the longest holiday season. We spend time for traditional activities like Simbang Gabi, corporate parties and family gatherings, not to mention the expenses incurred for the decorations and trimmings.

The wrapped gift is an integral part of the holiday season. Even Santa Claus had to make a list so as not to forget anyone. For us, the gifts should be bought earlier so they could be part of the Christmas tree decoration.

Not only children are excited about the yuletide season when they meet their Ninongs and Ninangs. They say that adults are like children too during Christmas time because everybody deserves to receive a gift especially when there’s a family reunion.
Tisoy posing by the Christmas lights

In our house, even our pets enjoy the holiday season. We try to share the happiness and the jolly spirit with our pets by playing Christmas songs everyday. Obviously, our dogs are certified music lovers.

In our observance of the yuletide traditions, our pets contribute in the chore of putting up the decorations. Our 2 dogs, Tisoy and Epoy, would check on the Christmas tree, the lights and the other ornaments by continually smelling the items hanging by the tree.

And when decorating the tree was finished, Twinkle, our mischievous house pigeon, would roost on the top to see the view from there. For special effects, we would put Twinkle’s 2 eggs in the Belen, right beside the baby boy in the manger.

For the carolers, we have a stock of coins and bushels of candies. For the hundred or so children and teeners who drop by our gate every night, Tisoy would always be on the lookout. And when a kid would peer thru the grille fence, our ferocious spitz would come charging to scare him.
Tisoy and Epoy beside the gifts by the Christmas tree

When we go out for the Simbang Gabi, our dogs would stay in the terrace. We were tempted many times to bring our dogs to the church especially when we saw a churh-goer with a poodle in tow.

Coming home from the church, our dogs would be welcoming us with their short barks. It was as if they could smell the puto bumbong and bibingka. Tisoy loves puto bumbong but Epoy prefers bibingka.

For the last night of caroling on Christmas eve, we give treats aside from the coins and candies. Toys from Divisoria are a hit to the kids as well as the imported fruits like apples and pears.
Pictorial with Ninang - our pigeon Twinkle, Epoy the pekingese and Tisoy the spitz

We also have a barbecue in the front yard to the delight of the carolers. Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, the roasted pork and beef ribs tantalize the carolers no end. No need to say that our dogs were first to sample the barbecue.

As always, our standard fare for Noche Buena were Chinese ham, Queso de bola and Spanish sopas plus barbecue if ever there’s a leftover. Our dogs would partake in the soup but never with the ham and cheese.

On Christmas Day when visitors arrive, our dogs would appear intimidated at first. On the other hand, Twinkle would welcome them with open wings unless they go up the second floor for the toilet, that’s where Twinkle’s nest is located.

Our guests would notice the lethary of our dogs. That’s clear evidence that they lacked sleep the previous night. So before lunch time, we would keep Epoy and Tisoy inside the airconditioned bedroom to rest.
Epoy posing with the lechon

The Christmas day menu on our dining table always include morcon, rellenong bangus and steak. We never feed our dogs morcon and relleno because of the raisins. Grapes and raisins may be bad for their kidneys.

After lunch, there was the traditional palaro or parlor games, for the kids and also for the adults. As always, there’s the contest of who could pet Tisoy, our grouchy spitz. And almost always, there would be no winner.

Our dogs were thrilled by the battery-operated toys that we normally give to our godchildren. Epoy was daunted by the remote-controlled cars but Tisoy enjoyed running alongside and pawing it when it stops.

It was fun to give away gifts but it was more fun for our dogs to receive gifts. With their wagging tails, Tisoy and Epoy show their excitement upon opening their gifts. Especially with toy bones and chewable balls, we’re sure our dogs have that Christmas feeling too.
Twinkle's eggs and the Belen

When the visitors leave before dusk, that’s the time that we go for our Christmas joy ride. Our dogs greatly enjoy the sight of Christmas lights. We pass by Policarpio Street in Mandaluyong and then Ayala Avenue to savor the kaleidoscope of lights.

For the final destination, we go to a park. Last year our final stop was Mall of Asia. Despite the crowd, the cool air by the seaside was refreshing not only for humans but also for our pet dogs.

On our stroll, Epoy, our pekingese, was always carried and it was automatic for Tisoy to be on a leash. Fortunately, our dogs behave pretty well in social places. As a responsible pet owner, we are prepared in case our dogs do their thing especially in the mall area.
Getting ready to give away the gifts

After Christmas Day, we would be preparing for the New Year. We usually purchase lusis by the bundle and some boxes of the imported flying fireworks that we light up a few minutes before midnight.

New Year’s eve is the saddest part of the year for Epoy because he is scared of the firecrackers. What we do is keep him inside the bedroom with the television in full volume so as to deaden the sound of firecrackers outside.

However, when we brought our dogs to the fireworks show in Mall of Asia early this year, Epoy did not show any fear. That may be because he was thrilled in seeing the exploding lights.
Lazing amid the booming firecrackers outside

For the New Year Media Noche, it’s like the same fare as Christmas eve’s except that the barbecue was now the main fare. Normally the dogs couldn’t eat because of the lingering explosions and the haze produced by the firecrackers.

Truly, not only children enjoy the holiday seasons but adults too. You can add to that list our pets.