One of the most populous nations in Asia, the Philippines is an overwhelmingly Christian nation. Approximately 90% of Filipinos are Christian and 80% of those are Catholic, an influence gleaned from the country’s period as a Spanish colony from the sixteenth century until the end of the nineteenth.
In the Philippines, the Christmas season kicks off on September 1st or the start of the so-called ‘BER months’ – more than three months before the actual Christmas day. Christmas songs start playing on the radio and in the malls, holiday promos from airlines pop up, invitations from friends and family to get together and eat out start coming in, and Christmas trees, balls, and lights now occupy every department store’s racks – literally overnight.
The cities become lit up with Christmas lights all over. Traditionally, you could visit a mall every weekend during the Christmas season and see unbelievable fireworks and light shows counting down the days to December.
As a result, while many countries concentrate on the commercial side of Christmas, Filipinos attend several masses throughout the Christmas season and faith forms an intrinsic part of celebrations. A traditionally Filipino event is Simbang Gabi, a series of masses held over nine nights culminating in Christmas Eve. It is believed that if you make a wish after completing the nine masses, it will come true.
In addition to the aforementioned Christmas Eve dinner, scores of delicious, and often highly unusual, dishes are prepared for Filipinos to gorge themselves on. These include puto bumbong, glutinous purple rice stuffed into bamboo tubes with butter, sugar and coconut, and keso de bola, balls of cheese with red waxy coverings.
According to Internet sources