Christmas & New Year’s in the Philippines with my Family


(Photo credit: Jo Delish)

Since moving to Korea, one of my goals has been to spend Christmas and New Year’s, the two biggest holidays in my family, with my family in the Philippines. Luckily, my schedule at school made it work.

It meant bee-lining for Busan on Christmas Eve in time for a flight delay that had me stumbling out of the airport in Manila at 2 in the morning (which in my head was 3 am due to time differences). But it also meant I got to stay for a week and a half.

I tried to have a real vacation for once. I was going to do mostly nothing and let myself be okay with it.

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(kaya and soy milk from Mr. Bean)

I spent Christmas Day with my siblings and cousins at the mall, shopping and eating my comforting favorites.


The next day, we went to the beach and slept in a converted shipping container. I swam, walked along the sandy beach, and played Monopoly Deal with my siblings.

I didn’t do much else past meditating, practicing the ukulele, blogging and practicing lines for my play. I also watched a Filipino film called Four Sisters and a Wedding with my family. It made me cry so hard for the best reasons.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were peaceful and largely uneventful. I stayed awake because they don’t really give you a choice: it’s a tradition in the Philippines for EVERYONE to shoot fireworks at midnight. And since midnight is really too short for fireworks, we were treated to two hours of lead up and another hour of an encore. There were fireworks to watch from afar and fireworks to watch on the street right outside our house. It was so noisy and very beautiful.

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My last full day in the Philippines was spent at my cousin’s baptism party at a huge buffet featuring food from all over the world. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I met him too.

All in all, it was an excellent trip. All I wanted to do was spend time and practice loving on my family. My family is like many other families: there are times where it’s hard to love them. There are times where it’s hard to love ME. But we make it work like all families do. For all the rocky times, I left feeling more in love with my family than ever.

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