It's three days before Christmas, but our home here in Manila is quiet. We don't even have a Christmas tree or a belen, although we do have some Christmas stockings up. There are no gifts in the living room, and no one's in a frenzied hurry to wrap Christmas gifts. Oh we know Christmas is this weekend already, but somehow we're just ... quiet about it. You see, tomorrow, half of the family will fly out from Manila to Japan to meet one-fourth of the family based there, and one-eighth of the family will fly out from the US, where they are based, to Japan for the same holiday reunion.
Meanwhile, half of those based in Manila will be staying put in the city, but we still had to convince half of that half –one-fourth–to come over on Christmas Eve instead of just staying at their home like they were planning to do.
As for the remaining one-eighth of the family, they'll stay in the US and connect with the rest of us–in Manila and Japan–via Facetime.
It's not always like this though. Most of the time, my two siblings based abroad would come to Manila, leaving behind their own families, to spend Christmas here with my parents, my sister, me, and our own families. As they would say–and other Filipinos abroad no doubt would, too–iba pa rin ang Pasko sa Pilipinas.
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