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How Do Cebuanas Celebrate Christmas in the Philippines?

It’s more fun in the Philippines! Especially during the Christmas season.

Filipinos like to celebrate this holiday for as long as possible. They will start putting decorations and singing or playing Christmas songs as soon as it hits September 1. And yes, we celebrate it months in advance.

a picture of a Christmas tree How do Cebuanas celebrate Christmas? Let’s find out.

If you’re planning a holiday getaway to this city to meet women from Cebu or if you already have a girlfriend from the local area, you need to acquaint yourselves with the local holiday customs and traditions.

Spending a holiday with a Cebuana will mean you have to adhere to Filipino holiday traditions. These traditions include family bonding, attending church masses, and eating tons of Filipino Christmas food.

The Festive Season Begins in September

There is no other country that celebrates Christmas longer than the Philippines. When the clock strikes 12 and September 1 arrives, you are greeted by a fairytale kind of magic. Filipinos will deck the halls and streets of their homes with gleaming displays and magnificent decorations.

There’s even a running joke among Filipinos that when the ber months roll in, Jose Mari Chan comes to town.

Jose Mari Chan is a Filipino composer best known for his Christmas songs. Much like how Mariah Carey is known for her song All I Want For Christmas is You, Jose Mari Chan is seen as a notable figure during Christmas.

So, when -ber months start, expect to hear a lot of his jingles in shopping malls and on the radio.

Christmas Parties Everywhere

Christmas is a time when families come together, catch up on each other’s lives, and spend most of their time eating and talking.

The celebration wouldn’t be complete without the ever-present party food, lumpia, lechon, holiday ham, and several cases of beer laid out on the table.

It is a time for shenanigans and laughter. Surely, you’ll be running out of breath laughing at the chaotic nature of their drunken tales.

Filipinos are known to be jolly, and they have no trouble inviting anyone to their parties– even strangers! With plenty of delicious food and welcoming Filipinos, you’ll surely have the best Christmas in your life here in the City of Cebu.

Attending Simbang Gabi

Since the Philippines is a Catholic country, the Simbang Gabi is religiously practiced among most of the populace.

People attending a mass. The City of Cebu releases mass schedules during the Holiday.

In anticipation of Christmas Day, people will wake up at dawn to attend nine days of masses. -Ber months bring cold mornings, so locals find it challenging to complete those days. But, those who do so are believed to have the opportunity to make one wish that will surely be granted.

Churches tend to get flooded during these days too, which is a little funny since normal Sunday masses aren’t as crowded compared to Simbang Gabi. The challenge of getting up so early in the cold is part of the reason why many Filipinos attend it.

Kids also treat it as an opportunity to brag about attending too, since the majority of the children will just skip it.

After the mass, there is always a good cup of hot chocolate (sikwate) and sticky rice balls (puto) that Filipinos can buy to help stave off the chill of the dawn.

If you ask your Cebuana girlfriend “What are the Filipino traditions in Christmas?” this is one of them.

Waking up for Noche Buena

Noche Buena is a Filipino Christmas tradition when the family gathers for dinner and partakes in a hearty feast full of delicious Filipino dishes such as pancit, queso de bola, and many more.

As early as Christmas Eve, Filipinos will prepare the feast, so at exactly 12 midnight on December 25, they will celebrate Noche Buena and have a good time together.

Preparing Noche Buena together as a family is something most Filipinos look forward to. It brings out the spirit of togetherness as a family, which is something most Filipinos find comfort in.

Spending the Night at Colon Street Night Market

During ber months, the Colon Street Night Market opens for Cebuanos looking for things at a cheaper price. Not only is this place great for finding Christmas presents, but the best thing about this is you can also taste a bunch of Filipino street foods and delicacies.

If you’re looking for a place to have a cute date night with your Cebuana girlfriend, look no further. This is the place to visit.

Exchanging Gifts with Your Manito/Manita

Filipinos have a very unique twist to exchanging gifts. It’s much like a Secret Santa, except the person you are giving a gift to is called a manito or manita.

two people exchanging Christmas gifts Spending a holiday with a Cebuana is something you shouldn’t miss.

This has become a popular tradition in schools and workplaces. They will pick a name from the ballot, and they’ll have to buy them a present based on their wishlist.

When exchanging gifts, they’ll be singing I Love My Manita/Manito Yes I Do. Then, they'll describe who their manito or manita is and everyone will have to guess who it is. The manito or manita will then have to give their gifts to their own manito or manita as well.

Karaoke Marathon

How do Cebuanas celebrate Christmas?

By karaoking at the top of their lungs!

Singing is a very common pastime in the Philippines. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or if your voice is comparable to an animal’s mating call, everyone sings karaoke and they sing it proudly.

In Cebu, especially, singing along with your neighbors along the streets is common. Cebuanos don’t care whether they are singing it wrong or singing it like professionals, they will grab the mic and even fight you over it. Their confidence in singing is what makes these karaoke sessions so much fun.

Sometimes, it even gets funnier when a very drunk uncle sings during the party and starts to butcher up the lyrics. And they do it not to show off (most of the time), but mostly because singing loudly is fun.

Ending Christmas with the Feast of the Three Kings

If you think that the celebration ends on Christmas day, you got it all wrong. It doesn’t end until January.

Yes, you heard it right. The holiday ends on the first Sunday of January of the Feast of the Three Kings. So, if you come to think of it, Filipinos celebrate Christmas for four long months!

At this point, you might be wondering why Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas. Well, this completely lies in their family-centric values, with Christmas being the time when families reunite.

Experience a Cebuano Christmas

Now that you know what a Filipino holiday entails and how Cebuanas celebrate Christmas, there’s nothing left to do but anticipate it. Check your calendar and start the countdown. It’s not that far away. In fact, the holiday season is just around the corner – especially if you’re following the Filipino calendar.

To add, instead of asking other people “how do Cebuanas celebrate Christmas?” isn’t enough for you to get the full picture. You need to experience it yourself, so come to the Philippines. Come to Cebu.

If you want to spend a romantic holiday with your Cebuana girlfriend, why not celebrate Christmas with her? To name a few of the many things to look forward to – you can eat mouthwatering Filipino food, hang out with other locals, join local events, and experience the brightest holiday you will ever have in Cebu amongst Cebuanos.

What are you waiting for? Experience the holiday in the Cebuano way and you’ll find that there’s more to life than material possessions. You will discover the importance of faith, family, culture, and tradition. Doesn’t that sound great?

Is it better to celebrate Christmas in Cebu?

a child looking at a Christmas tree Women from Cebu make Christmas happier and better. So, spend the holiday with one!

In the Philippines, especially in Cebu, Christmas is one of the most anticipated and happiest times of the year. No matter where you go, you’ll see the essence of Christmas, making you feel that this holiday indeed holds great value to Filipinos.

Of course, you can spend Christmas in other places, it’s entirely up to you. But, there’s a reason why many people say that the holiday spirit in the Philippines is an experience they can’t find in some other places. So, if given the chance, you should spend your holidays here! As Cebuanos say, the more the merrier.

When is the best time to book a ticket to Cebu for the holiday season?

Book at least a few months earlier, around September. Aside from getting below-average priced tickets, you’ll have the chance to secure better seats. If you wait until December to book, the chances are there won’t be any available flights to the country since all seats are already taken.

If you want to visit earlier, the best month to fly here is also September. Plane tickets are cheaper this month. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the holiday crowd. Think of it this way, you can spend the rest of the months touring the city with your Cebuano girlfriend.

Enjoy your vacation!

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