Philippine Culture: October in the Philippines

Bazaars go into full swing as Christmas nears. There are tiangges galore and people start thinking about their Christmas bonuses.

This is the month for semestral breaks for most schools. Towards the end of October, the 2nd quarter of the school year ends and kids have a 1-2 week break going into All Saints' Day in early November.

The Philippines may be nowhere near Germany but this is also the time for Oktoberfests. Malls and various establishments will usually have some Oktoberfest gimmicks to bring in the crowds. San Miguel beer is a popular beer brand here in the Philippines -- so count on them to make the most of this season by promoting beer like crazy.

Halloween has started to become a fun time here in the Philippines too. A few years back, Trick or Treat events started and these are quite popular in malls, villages and subdivisions, and even in certain companies where employees can bring their kids to go trick or treating. Kids don their cute Halloween costumes although in some villages, for example, the kids hardly walk but board their cars and vans as they go around the subdivision.

A series of books called True Philippine Ghost Stories have become extremely popular of late here in Manila. The thin, relatively affordable books have captured the fancy of kids aged 8 and up. Not too surprising. Philippine literature is actually very rich in interesting creatures -- there's the dwende (or dwarf -- can be black or white, depending on whether it is evil or good); kapre (see Second Thoughts); the tikbalang (half-man, half horse); the manananggal (a winged creature which can split its body in half); the tiyanak (an adorable baby which turns into a monster -- did you see The Incredibles and Jack Jack?); not to mention the moomoos, mamaws, etc.

On the festivals, the Masskara Festival is celebrated on October 19 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. This Mardi Gras-like festival marked by colorful masks and costumes celebrates Bacolod's charter day.

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, October 27, 2005]


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