Monito-Monita

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

Gift giving is vey common during the season. And speaking of gifts, Filipinos takes an another adaptation of Secret Santa into a fun-filled practice called “Monito Monita” or Kris Kringle. 

This is a typical template of how it is usually done:

  • Form a group from your class, family, neighborhood or office
  • Write down your name in a small piece of paper and place it in a bowl or a box.
  • Take turns in picking a piece of paper from the box. Never reveal your “Monito” or “Monita” until the last day of your Christmas party. For those who picked their own name, you can return your name in the box and pick another one.
  • Decide on the schedule of your Monito Monita. You can make it on a daily basis, weekly basis or every other day.
  • For daily or weekly Monito Monita, gifts usually given are at around 5 pesos to 50 pesos.
  • The last Monito Monita is reserved for more expensive gifts.
  • Choose a weekly theme for your exchange gift. Themes makes your monito monita exciting.
  • Arrange where you would leave and pick up your Monito Monita gifts. The most logical suggestion is under your office’s or classroom’s Christmas Tree.

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Panunuluyan

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

One of the common celebration is to watch a play called Panunuluyan – a tradition observed in some provinces in the Philippines. The Panunuluyan dramatizes the search for lodging of St Joseph and the very pregnant Virgin Mary. Originally, the images of the two, atop decorated carrozas, are processioned on Christmas eve and taken from house to house, in re-enactment of that event in Bethlehem. The images are preceded by altar boys bearing ciriales (cross and candles on poles) and devotees. Eventually, real people, instead of santos, were cast to assume the roles of Jose and Maria, almost always respectable citizens of the town. The dramatis personae expanded to include the 3 Magis, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar and even a Narrator and a Koro, a Chorus of singers who sang and delivered verses for the Holy Couple.

This tradition may have been adopted from Mexican Posadas and is usually re-enacted after the last Mass before Christmas eve.

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Parols

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

One unique Filipino Christmas decoration is the parol. Parol or also known as Philippine lantern is traditionally made from colorful papers, bamboo sticks, and shaped like a five-pointed star.

In the early 1900s, these lanterns were originally designed to help villagers find their way to chapels and churches to pray. Today, these lanterns are used to further enhance the spirit of Christmas. Putting up parols in homes, schools, establishments, offices, and schools is a common Filipino tradition.

Nowadays, Filipinos parol makers used new and recycled materials to make parols, like plastic glasses, candy wrappers, soft drink straws, recycled papers and shells. The present day parol come in different shapes and sizes and not necessarily star- shaped:  it can be round, rectangular or even square. It could also be designed like a diorama with the Nativity on it.

Indeed, the parol represents the Filipino innovation, creativity and it is the greatest expression of Christmas spirit.

#NicGoesOnlineChristmasTrivia

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Simbang Gabi

When it comes to Christmas, no one celebrates it better than the Filipinos. The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world.

A very unique practice of Filipinos during the Christmas Season is the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo. It is a tradition originated in the early Spanish colonial period as a practical compromise for Filipino farmers who began working before sunrise, to avoid working in the fields under the heat of the sun. Simbang gabi is a nine-day series of masses to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. The daily mass starts from December 16 to Christmas eve. Filipinos wake up before the crack down to attend the mass in hopes of having a granted wish once they complete the nine days.

Completing the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo is in almost everyone’s bucket list. It is believed that a wish can be granted after the series is completed.

#NicGoesOnlineChristmasTrivia

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Where is my Kadayawan Durian?

Fruits will not come cheap during this weekend’s Kadayawan celebration. Visitors will have to fork out more bucks per kilo in order to enjoy what little harvests maybe available. But yet, there are other things worth celebrating as Dianne Suelto writes below:

I always tell people who are willing to listen that the Kadayawan Festival is a weeklong celebration of my birthday. Davao City was just so happy to learn of my birth that they decided to throw me a grand party complete with parades and floats to thank the heavens of their good fortune of having me. 

Of course the story’s baloney, Kadayawan is really a thanksgiving festival for the bountiful harvest given by nature. But it is my story, I decide the plot. 

Kadayawan means concerts, agri fairs, mall sale, parades, fruits, and DURIAN. 
It is my birthday celebration week already, but where is my durian? 

Oh, there is durian alright. It is just way too expensive. Last year, you can buy a kilo of durian for P25-35 a kilo. Good luck finding that now. Today, the price of durian pegged at P150 a kilo. Yes folks you read that right — P150 a kilo. 

A report from SunStar Davao said that “Prices for durian and other fruits for Kadayawan Festival is expected to be much expensive this year as compared to last year due to limited supply brought about by excess rain.”

The abnormally excessive amount of rainfall caused the flowers of the fruits, my beloved durian included, to fall off. No flower means no fruit. 

Last year, we didn’t have much rain because of El Niño so we had plenty of durian at a very cheap price. However, we also had power outages because of the low water level in hydropower sources. But, we had lots of durian, and to me that balanced things out. 

On my birthday, I wanted to eat lots of durian, except that I can’t have a mountain of it because of the price. I can’t even order a small hill of durian.

What’s my point, you ask. My point is this, I should be writing something about Kadayawan but all that is occupying my mind is durian. I can’t think straight. I need that creamy, sweet-smelling fruit to function and I need plenty of it. 

It is a bummer when nature takes a different turn. It does not care if an entire city is celebrating its supposed bountiful harvest in its honor. It does not even care if it is my birthday. 

However, life is still beautiful and there are so many things that are worth celebrating like the P150 per kilo durian or that I am alive and everybody I love are healthy and well. 

We may not have plenty today, but tomorrow is another day that we can look forward to. And that is why we will celebrate.

Happy Kadayawan everybody. I’ve invited a lot of guests this year, so be sure to watch the parades on Saturday and Sunday. My friends from the food business have also come out this year and they are serving good food at the the food fair. 

Enjoy my party!

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Jalan: Bringing Malaysian cuisine to Davao City

In this post, we feature Diana Lhyd Suelto’s review of a street food themed resto in Davao City. 

Diana talks about a Malaysian street food restaurant in Davao which takes after the famous stretch o hawkers,food stalls and seafood reaturants in Jalan Alor : Malaysia.  Here it goes:

The dining scene in Davao City used to have limited choices – tuna sutokil (sugba, tinola, kinilaw), pork and chicken barbecue, and the other usual Filipino fares. Today, however, we have a myriad of cuisines to choose from — Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Korean, Indian, and American. Joining in the foray, wanting to carve a niche is Jalan Lok Lok and BBQ, a street food themed restaurant offering Malaysian dishes.

Jalan, which is located at Sobrecarey St, Obrero, serves traditional Malaysian fares such as beef rendang and nasi lemak. While these are delicious, it is their lok lok skewers that I like the most. 

Lok lok skewers are basically flavored gluten balls that you dunk into a boiling chicken stock for two minutes to cook. Then you slather it with your choice of sauce. My favorites are the spicy sambal and peanut sauce. 

I tried the Maranao version of beef rendang and it is a bit different from the one served in Jalan which is saucy. I like the Maranao version better but the one served in Jalan can hold its fort. 

I am not a chicken fan, but I guess if you slather sambal all over your food it will taste good, because the nasi lemak (fried chicken with cucumber and egg on the side) tasted great.
There’s just one thing that did not suit my taste and that was their rose lassie, a rose flavored juice. It tastes of cheap perfume. But other than that, everything was superb. 

Another thing worth noting is that the servers at Jalan are a very cheerful bunch. They were also very helpful to their ignorant customers (that’s me). They’ll make your dining experience more pleasant.

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