Filipinos so love Christmas that it has now become customary throughout the land to start celebrating it in September when the rainy season has ended and there’s a bit of chill in the air.
When I was growing up in the Philippines, our family did not have a Christmas tree during the holidays. What we always had on our windows were home-made brightly lit star-shape Christmas lanterns called parol from the Spanish word for lamp, farol. They represent the Star of Bethlehem which led the Magi to the Infant. But the centrepiece of our Christmas decoration was the Christmas Belen.