Monday, October 25, 2010

On Occasion

It doesn't take much to get Filipinos into a festive mindset especially at this time of the year. Christmas of course is a "major, major" celebration here, second only to Good Friday, and holiday ornaments and merchandise have been out on  the shelves for a couple weeks now. BTW I'm going to try be less of a curmudgeon about Christmas.   After all, I rather enjoy the special dishes that are cooked during the season along with the displays of artistic decorations, some of which are really beautiful.  Did I mention the special dishes?

Year by year it seems that Halloween, complete with pumpkin style decorations and trick-or-treat for the kids,  is becoming more popular in the Philippines possibly because of its "spirit world" theme and proximity to All Saints Day.  The latter is observed on Nov. 1 and is is a legacy of the country's Spanish and Chinese heritages. On this holiday, families flock to cemeteries in remembrance of their  deceased family members. But this is not a solemn occasion and is marked by such recreational events at the grave sites as picnicking and card playing.   For a more detailed description of this holiday and of All Souls Day which falls on Nov. 2 , please click here .

Then there was a really bizarre celebration here in Eastwood City the other day.   The local McDonald's which  was closed a few months ago for renovations reopened Saturday morning at  12a.m.  That's  right—midnight.   This was accompanied by a fireworks display and later in the day a marching band.  I suppose the hour was chosen in honor of the mainstay of Mc Do's business in this locale: the 18,000 call center agents who work in Eastwood, many of them on the graveyard shift.  But my wife and I had no inkling that the reopening  would be scheduled at that time.  So when we were awakened by the thundering pyrotechnics    (just across the street), we didn't know what the hell was going on.

Another festival that has crept into culture recently at this time of the year at least at malls and restaurants is Oktoberfest. Beer of course is  popular both in the Philippines and Germany, so naturally  a major player in popularizing this event here is San Miguel Beer which sponsored several gatherings last month for this occasion throughout Metro-Manila.  Eastwood City is also holding week-end Oktoberfest beer and sausage specials this month.  

My wife Lydia and I are stay-at-home types.  Still it's nice to know that if we want to join in any of the night life amidst all these fiestas, there are many venues from which to select just a short walk from our door.  But when it comes to fast food,  I think that I'll skip McDonald's. All the redecorating and fireworks in the world won't change the fact that the food is still the same fare as before.  In other words  those new coats of paint are, as the saying goes here,  just putting a new collar on an old dog.


The Kano said...

I was surprised to see Oktoberfest creep in to celebrations here, also. As an American expat with a lot of German heritage living in the Philippines, guess I only have a few days to see if there are any local Oktoberfests in our area.

Secular Guy said...


If not, perhaps you can at least get hold of some German beer and have a personal Oktoberfest?