Life in the Philippines – 15 Days to Christmas!

Well, it is in the Philippines. Today is 16 August and as such, 15 days away from the start of the Festive Season here. In the Philippines the festive season is known as the ‘ber months (September, October, November, December). This will be when the Christmas decorations go up in the stores and malls, and the playing of Christmas Carols commences in those malls – for the next four months!

It is normally around mid-October that the repeated Christmas Carols feel more like a Chinese Water Torture but then I relex and reaise that there are only 10 more weeks of Carol Singing to go!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Manila

I am getting close to my first Christmas in Manila. The Filipinos note that the festive, Christmas season is found in any month that finishes with the letters “ber”. It’s true. Christmas carols have been heard across the shopping malls since September. Christmas decorations have been available for the same period and Christmas gift wrapping has been available in the large department stores such as Landmark for that period as well (and by gift wrapping I am not just referring to the paper itself but also for the minions to professionally wrap gifts for you).

The Philippines as a whole is a fairly devote, staunchly Catholic country although there are sizable numbers of those that belong to a Protestant Church as well as a significant Muslim population. Christmas and the Mass are very important then.

The other characteristic of this time of year is the Christmas party. Everywhere has one. Venues will be booked out for parties until about 10 pm each night after which they return to their normal line of business. Parties will be held by companies for their staff; condominium management for the residents (with a separate party for “helpers and drivers” of the residents); restaurants will hold parties for staff; even bars will have staff Christmas parties.

I have been to three parties so far this season and there is a common theme. Filipinos love to exchange gifts, play party games, win raffle or game prizes, sing, and dance. The gifts are normally valued around $10 and are generally unisex so randomly distributed. There are a number of games based around the gifts such as a white elephant game where you can swap gifts, another where gifts can be stolen (swapped when someone is not watching) and others where the giving of the gifts is randomized by some left-right movement routine.

At this time of year, office corridors and spare spaces are filled with staff members practicing their dance routines, rehearsing songs or just planning the party games that will be played.

Yes, Christmas in Manila is a fun time and I am enjoying it!

Merry Christmas

To all my friends, acquaintances, associates, faithful readers of Thomo’s Hole, let me wish:

Merry Christmas to one and all
God jul til alle
Nadolig Llawen i bawb
Prettige Kerstdagen aan iedereen!
Joyeux Noël à tous
메리 크리스마스 모두에게
God Jul til alle sammen!
Selamat Natal untuk semua
Maligayang Pasko sa lahat
Frohe Weihnachten an alle
Merry Christmas бүх
Аз жаргалтай Зул

I think that’s all of you! 🙂

Christmas in Brisbane

2012-12-25 14.03.26Christmas was spent with the lady, Mum, my sister and brother-in-law and niece in Brisbane. It’s been a couple of years since we had Christmas here. Mum had decided to accept my sister’s invitation for Christmas to be out of the house when we were bringing in boxes and such so caught the train and bus to Brisbane.

We followed a couple of days later.

Lunch was terrific – just enough of everything to satisfy, not so much as to be greedy or overeat! ((well, except for the cashews))

It was great catching up with my sister and BIL as well as my niece.

Next social function is off to Canberra for New Year’s Eve.

Merry Christmas one and all

To my blogophiles, Merry Christmas one and all. I trust that you’ll all remain safe in this season that should be for peace and goodwill. I hope for less evil in the year coming and for some common sense and good works.

On a wargaming note, I actually hope to get some armies finished and more games played.

On a research and writing note, I have some historical research I need to get through and hope for te time to write it up.

In the meantime, cheers. Enjoy “en god jul tide”.

The Great Move–Christmas Spending

The great move from Sydney is complete. Thomo’s Sydney Hole is no more. Books and wargaming stuff have been moved back to Mum’s “up the coast” and the flat in Sydney returned to the landlord. ((interestingly we returned the apartment on the 18th of December and it was leased and new folks moving in on the 20th – sight unseen. Rental property in Sydney is apparently quite scarce))

Most of the boxes moved back here have been sorted and packed away – well, except for about 8 boxes of books but sorting them, shelving them and deciding which ones to bring to Singapore on the 6th are tomorrow’s problem. I will finish taking the Command and Colours Ancients, perhaps the book on Naval Warfare on the Lakes, Conway’s is tempting but heavy, so many books and a few games that I’d like to take, so little space.

Plans for the next few days are more sorting of stuff, a trip to Coffs Harbour for a phone for the lady ((fear of a painful and unnatural death prevents me telling what has happened to her iPhone)) and a trip to the beach as it’s time to get wet again! Christmas Eve is off to my sister’s where we will spend Christmas then bring Mum back home. Another couple of days back here probably preparing my Later Hungarians for paint then it’s off to Canberra for New Year. Back here for some painting before returning to Singapore.

A busy time it is then but one where I am hoping for a few beach days as well as a fair bit of painting time. I also plan on catching up with mail and some other matters and perhaps a little more writing.

In the meantime, Carols in the Domain is on … time to remember Christmases past and look forward to Christmases to come!

Mr Yang’s Baseline

Today it was time for the annual Christmas lunch. Once a year we get together, eat way too much, recall old times, ponder if Richard is using hair colour to prevent the grey and generally have a good time. This year there were a few missing, from nothing more serious than they just couldn’t make it. Indraa was missed as was Glenn, Antoine and Dom to name just a few.

Each year, however, we have noted the proclivity for Mr Yang to engage in a personal battle with the Sydney Rock Oyster population of the local bays and estuaries. Each year it is a fierce battle and a close run result. We were missing one thing, however. We did not have a baseline. As Mr Yang is getting older does he require more oysters or less. More oysters to, er, maintain “vigorosity” or less oysters as he sleeps more now?

How could we tell? We had no baseline. Today, therefore, we paid attention and as the last oyster slid down Mr Yang’s throat we noted and recorded the number for posterity – and the baseline for next years Christmas lunch.