Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let It Snow

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, among other things. And my friends in the blogosphere aren’t helping at all.

Our country being a tropical one, we’ll probably think of Armageddon when even the tiniest flake of snow falls into our backyards. The closest thing I got to experiencing snow was when a local politician in the South rented a snow machine some years ago and turned an enclosed park into a snow field while charging a hundred bucks per head for entrance. I was only 12 then.

Needless to say, not having the chance to experience snow “for real” left me feeling deprived, thanks to Hollywood movies and pictures from friends and relatives in Canada and New York.

And then there were the Wizard, with her lovely abode somewhere in the woods, whose early morning wanderings involve catching a reindeer on photograph on a ground covered in ice, Meander pondering about going ice-skating and Dirk getting sick in the cold. Heck, the only place here where we can go ice-skating is in the malls.

On the other hand, living in a tropical island is not that dismal. We do get lovely tans during summer and most Americans who visit our country profess their love and envy with our tropical weather. I guess the grass will always be greener on the other side of the fence after all.

Also, we don’t get a lot of extreme natural calamities like tsunamis and twisters. There is, however, the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption, homes and lives being wiped out because of super typhoons (we had one just last week, and unfortunately and untimely as it is, there were casualties. I know, it’s a very sad way to celebrate the Holidays) and the occasional flood. Ok, that’s an understatement. We do get flooded frequently, our place specifically since Google Earth describes our town as more than 30 feet below sea level.

So what’s a brown boy got to do to celebrate Christmas? We pray and give thanks. The Philippines being the purported bastion of Christianity in Asia, is comprised of a huge population of church-going people. We have what we call “simbang gabi” or Misa de Gallo (a term given by the Spanish conquistadors), where daily mass are held every daybreak (about 4 am) from the 16th of December till Christmas eve. We also have the traditional “karolings” where every kid in town collects empty milk cans and flattened soda crowns to make instant drums and maracas, singing Christmas carols to every household in the neighborhood. And of course we have the yearly Noche Buena, the mandatory Christmas eve dinner where all families gather together in one place, reunite with long lost relatives, exchange gifts and have a feast while giving thanks, sans the fireplace of course. It may not be unique, but the spirit of Aguinaldo or hooking up with your ninongs and ninangs (godfathers and godmothers) to ask for blessings (by putting their hands in your forehead) in exchange of gifts, cash or kind, makes it very Pinoy.

Let there be no mistake, Christmas in the Philippines is very festive. It is one event that everybody prepares for and anticipate for 364 days, starting from December 26.

Then again, I want snow. Real snow. Not the ones you get out of a giant snow machine or cute snow globes. I want to make snow angels and create a snowman in my backyard. I want to wear mittens and bonnets and see the cold vapor coming out of my mouth every time I puff a smoke.

Is it too much a favor to ask for a little snow ball?


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Wish I could send you some snow. And I would be happy to adopt you but just know that if I do there will be chores.

Steven Novak said...

I had my fill of snow growing up...

These days I want nothing to do with it.


The Wizened Wizard said...

Be careful what you wish for...!

Thanks for writing about your country. I enjoy reading your descriptions and comments. Human nature seems to want what we don't have, even when what we do have is pretty good. Here, we complain about the cold and grump about having to shovel snow. Of course, I suspect the truth is that we each are quite content in our respective habitats.

'Wish we could magically switch places for a brief time so that you could play in the snow and I could explore the tropics, but I guess we'll just have to exchange the occasional photo.

If you do come to the north woods, watch out for snowballs!

Dirk_Star said...

Uh,I make snow devils...

Snow is best seen at four in the morning when nothing in the workd is stirring in the workd but you...

Cinderella said...

I wasn't able to comment all day yesterday! It wouldn't show the word verification thingie!! I am highly upset...

Thank you for your royal visit..I shall return..=)

schaumi said...

hey, just 'meandering' around.
came via meander via the wizard.
great post.

russkal said...

Thank you all.

You just made my day (ironicaly as it seems) a bit... colder.

It's human nature to want what we don't have, indeed. For instance, Scarlett Johansson is at the top of my list.

But that's another story.

Again, thanks to all of you.

Smalltown RN said...

well you should come visit my sight as well...I have posted some outdoor shots and the snow...I have a pic I can send you that is very Christmassy.....

enjoyed reading your blog!!!


Erica Putis said...

I'm from Vermont and I also have had my fill of snow. Winter there last almost half the year and it's no fun once you get older. When you're little it's tons of fun though... What you need it a visit - not a move.

Very nice writing!

kate said...

great post! It was interesting to hear about your Christmas there! I just moved to the tropics(Florida lol) and am THRILLED not to have snow! There isnt anything like that first snowfall of the year... but the other 20 are just a mess and bother! I am happy to visit snow when I need to!

So there is my advice... visit snow!

The Wizened Wizard said...

Things thawed here today, so nobody is making snow angels. Higher up in the mountains, it was colder. A friend enjoyed the day and wrote:

My friends

The sun
on my left,
yet, a pale
white moon still hangs
the top of the mountain.
Oh, a morning, a lovely morning.

Golden dry beech leaves
tick, tick,
a delicate
in the breeze
as I pass.

I am headed
up the mountain,
on the lift.
holding hands
all the while
with glorious sun and moon.

Two skiers,
the first I have seen today.
carving their edges
all the way past,
and under my

there is only me,
the sun,
and the moon,
and the mountain.

By Becky Harblin
December 12, 2006

I thought you might enjoy the picture she paints.

russkal said...


Lovely writing. I can almost picture the images as I read. Thanks for sharing it.


You are right. Snow is fun for kids! I guess I'm just a li'l kid at heart. Thanks for the advice. And for stopping by.


Glad to know you're happy with your decision to move. I'll jump at the chance to visit snow, but right now, there aren't any opportunity so I guess I'll have to wait and be contented with what I have. Thanks for visiting. I'm on my way to your blog right now to say hi.