21 Ways You Know You're At A Filipino Christmas Party

21 Ways You Know You're At A Filipino Christmas Party

Namamasko Po!


I've been to a number of Filipino Christmas parties myself. At some point, they begin to become predictable. Yet, I never get tired of them. Here are a few things you'll notice if you're at a Filipino Christmas party.

 1. There's a Belen or Nativity Scene Displayed In The House



Plus 10 points if the nativity scene came from the motherland.

2. Everyone at the party went to or will go to church late at night for "Simbang Gabi"


"Simbang Gabi" translates to going to church at night or night at church. There's a Filipino tradition of completing 9 days of "Simbang Gabi" in order for God to answer our prayers. This whole process called, Misa de Gallo, starts on the 16th of December to the 24th. The Philippines has one of the highest populations of Catholics in the world. Celebrating the birth of Christ is extremely important.

3. The host family prepared a Noche Buena!


Let the FEAST begin!

On Christmas Eve, Filipino families, particularly those that are Catholic and Christian gather for the Noche Buena or Christmas Dinner. Native Philippine dishes and delicacies are served. The dish symbolizes abundance and appreciation for life.

4. There are PAROLS hanging 

Dindin Lagdameo

No, we're talking about police paroles and yes, this was Ms.Philippines' (Now Ms.Universe) cultural costume!

This Philippine lantern traditionally made from colorful papers, bamboo sticks, and is shaped like a five-pointed star.

These lanterns were originally designed to help villagers find their way to chapels and churches to pray. Putting up parols homes or other establishments is a common tradition!

5. Kids are aggressively "mano-ing" everyone in hopes for Aguinaldo 


Don't forget to Mano to your titos, titas, lolos and lolas and ESPECIALLY your ninongs and ninangs! You may be rewarded for it *$$$$ HINT HINT $$$$$*

What is a "mano" first of all? Of course, it has obvious Spanish roots to it. Mano or pagmamano is an "honoring-gesture" in Filipino culture performed as a sign of respect to elders. It is basically a way of requesting a blessing from the elder. Similar to hand-kissing, the person giving the greeting bows towards the hand of the elder and presses his or her forehead on the elder's hand.

What is Aguinaldo?

It is when children are rewarded and presented with gifts like toys or money by their relatives or godparents. These gifts are popularly called as "Aguinaldo."

( I'm 20 years old...can I still participate in Aguinaldo?)

6. They're playing Monito-Monita


The Pinoy's Monito/Monita is a modification of the Secret Santa. You have to give a small gift to your Monito/Monita (Secret Santa Baby) every week if you have started the game earlier or every day if you begin the game nearer to the official Christmas party. There are often themes for each gift of the week or gift of the day. For example, Week 1: Give something colorful. Week 2: Give something sweet and so on and so forth.

7. There's a very LOUD game of White Elephant happening 


Lots of drama happens when someone steals the Amazon Alexa for the second time. Then there's always that ONE person who brings a completely useless gift like a toaster or a rice cooker.

"HOY Who brought a rice cooker to da white elepant ha?? My god, the minimum is $35 my goodness gracious naman. Mukang second hand pa naman yan"

8. Titos and Titas are fighting for the Karaoke 


"ANAK! Please play Halik by Aegis!"

"Ang haliiiik mohhhhh na mimisss kohhhh!!!"

"Okay Anak you change it again to da wan by Ogie Alcasid, You know da wan in dat telenovela?!"

"Bakit ngayon ka lang dumating sa buhayyy kohhhhhh"

11. There's Christmas Caroling...FILIPINO STYLE 

I've seen this more in the Philippines than in any other country. You'll often see groups of children and/or adults gathering together with instruments spreading the Christmas cheer with traditional Filipino Christmas songs and classic Christmas songs as well!

12. You'll meet that one Tita who always gifts your family "Quseo de Bola"


If you know...you know.

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 sphere and is coated with red wax.

13. You'll never hear the end of all the Tagalog Christmas Songs 


Some traditional Tagalog Christmas Songs Include:

14. All the "balat" of the Lechon is GONE

Pass the mang tomas please!


All the "balat" or skin of the pig has probably been eaten by all your titos and titas who will have high blood pressure the following morning.

15. Your titos and titas are interviewing you about your love life


"No tito, I do not have a boyprend yet"

"Yes po, I am prioritizing my studies first"

"I am too young to have a husband tita"

16. Your titos and titas are also interviewing you about your school life 

Jeppy Paraiso

"So are you doing nursing eskewl?"

"Ah, does dat make any money?"

"I tink you should just do nursing eskewl"

17. You'll constantly hear: "Okay! Wacky, Wacky!"


Is it even a Filipino party if there aren't several group pictures that don't have "wacky" versions?

18. You stay an extra 3 hours after saying "Goodbye" (AKA: Filipino Goodbye)


Your mom says that we're all going to leave now, BUT FIRST you need to kiss goodbye to all your titos and titas. AND THEN you mom will get caught up in the chismis.

19. You're forced to play a children's game 

When the host finishes saying the first level of "Bring Me"


Of course, you're going to play it no matter how old you are. Some games include musical chairs, Bring Me, and Pinoy Henyo!

20. Your Tito or Tita is forcing you to sing or dance for everybody 



"Come on anak, you show dem how you sing and dance and they will gib you $20"

21. They're already planning Media Noche


Yes. Yes, there's more food involved. In case you haven't noticed, Filipinos were the original foodies. This feast is celebrated on New Years Eve where families and friends come together once again to celebrate prosperity for the new year! (Oh and don't forget the ROUND fruits!)

Popular Right Now

11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.


Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.


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