Move way Santa Claus… Filipinos got a lot of names on their minds first before they can even think of you!
(Photo with my dear coco, a friend told me I was really like a godfather (Ninong) here, hoho)
Not for anything, we all know that Santa Claus is one of the famous figures during Christmas (I got a simple joy to share about my Santa Claus experience soon), but in the Philippines we got a bunch of uncles and aunties, our parents’ college buddies and officemates that could satisfy what we wanted during Christmas from “Santa Claus.” Better replacement indeed =)
Time to visit, if not hunt, your godfathers (Ninong is the Filipino term) and godmothers (Ninang is the Filipino term) during Christmas, you get to see these people during this season, they’re excited to see you also and how you’ve grown since the last time they’re able to be with you.
Yes, it’s part of the Filipinos tradition, through the unwavering support of our parents to bring us around, all day, sometimes even days, just to complete the list the people who owe us some Christmas presents.
I remember my mom listing down the people we need to visit the entire day. She has a “to-visit list” for me, and for my sister too. Amazing Race? Yes, it started in the Philippines, talk about 20 houses to visit a day? We can do that in the Philippines! All for our longing to see our godfathers and godmothers, and of course, our much awaited presents. And the entire day I would ask my mom, “Ma, san na po tayo pupunta?” (Mom, where are we going next?)
Then she would mention names of my godfathers and godmothers I actually didn’t mind, I was just hoping that it keeps coming and it only gets better and better.
Two things every Filipino Kid expects when getting inside his/her beloved godfather/godmother’s house –
1. The Christmas Tree with lots of gifts under it, eyeing for the biggest present out there, with high hopes – that gift’s for you.
2. Or nothing’s under the Christmas tree, either yours is inside his/her room. Or it’s monetary! And the famous line: “Pacencia ka na ian ha hindi na nakabili si Ninong ng regalo” (apologies ian, I was not able to buy you a present) then he would suddenly hand over a small red envelope to me with money inside! And in my mind – “yes Ninong, no worries, forget the present every year, this one’s super fine! Hoho”
and more than the actual Christmas gifts, it’s the reconnection during the visits that brings simple joy. You won’t be spending the entire day in one house for sure, but quick as it seems, once a year, you share with your Ninongs and Ninangs much awaited stories, much awaited observations as to how you’ve grown up and the achievements you did all year round proudly shared by your parents and most importantly, much awaited love.
The Filipinos’ pursuit of their godfathers and godmothers during Christmas! – one simple joy of being a Filipino.