23 November 2020
Date of Issue: 23 November 2020
Printing method: Offset lithography
Artist: Eunice Beatrix U. Dabu
Quantity Printed: 10,000
PHLPost’s pays tribute to Filipino contemporary family in new Christmas Stamps
Date Posted: December 1, 2020
In celebration of the National Stamp Collecting Month (NSCM), the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) released new stamps featuring “Pasko (Christmas) 2020”, a loving tribute to all families celebrating together this yuletide season.
Amid this pandemic, Christmas-time is still celebrated by Filipinos, no matter where they are anywhere in the world.
“At the end of this extraordinary difficult year, the Christmas stamp will remind us that spending time together with the Family will bring much needed respite from the worries and adversity, and looking forward for better days to come”, PHLPost said in a statement.
This year has been challenging especially with the onslaught of the Taal volcanic eruption, the ongoing public health crisis brought by COVID-19, and the recent devastation from Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
Despite the darkness presented by recent events, light still shines through.
In the face of harrowing grief we are bound together by our shared responsibility to each other. All of this, we learned from the basic unit of our society, the family.
The “Pasko 2020” stamps features an image of the contemporary Filipino family. They gathered around for support and encouragement, maintaining a positive outlook with the traditional Parol (Christmas lantern) in the background to complement the postage stamp.
PHLPost has printed 10,000 copies of the stamps at 12.00 each. In-house graphic Artist Eunice Beatrix U. Dabu designed the Christmas stamps.
Stamps and Official First Day Covers of “Pasko 2020” will be available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office, all Mega Manila Post Offices, Area 1, Tuguegarao, Area 2, San Fernando, La Union, Postal Area 4, San Pablo, Postal Area 5, Mandaue, Postal Area 6, Iloilo, Postal Area 7, Davao, Postal Area 8, Cagayan de Oro, and Postal Area 9, Zamboanga.
People in the Philippines like to celebrate Christmas for as long as possible! The playing of Christmas carols in shops can start in September! The formal Christmas celebrations start on 16th December when many people go the the first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses. The last mass is on Christmas day. The Christmas celebrations continue to the First Sunday in January when Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated.
In the Philippines the early masses held before Christmas are called the ‘Misa de Gallo’ or ‘Simbang Gabi’ in Filipino.
Most Filipinos are Christians with about 80% of people being Catholics. It’s the only Asian country with so many Christians. Because of this, Christmas is the most important holiday in the Philippines. December is actually one of the ‘cooler’ months of the year in the Philippines. The Philippines only has two real seasons, wet (June to October) and dry (April and May). December is one of the months in between the wet and dry seasons.
Christmas customs in the Philippines are a mixture of western and native Filipino traditions. (Christianity became widely known in The Philippines in the 1500s when missionaries from countries like Portugal and Spain traveled to the area.) So people in the Philippines have Santa Claus (or ‘Santa Klaus’), Christmas trees, Christmas cards and Christmas carols from western countries!
They also have their own Christmas traditions such as the ‘parol’ which is a bamboo pole or frame with a lighted star lantern on it. It’s traditionally made from bamboo strips and colored Japanese paper or cellophane paper and represents the star that guided the Wise Men. It is the most popular Christmas decoration in the Philippines.
Christmas Eve is very important in the Philippines. Many people stay awake all night into Christmas day! During Christmas Eve evening, Christians go to church to hear the last ‘simbang gabi’ or the Christmas Eve mass. This is followed by a midnight feast, called Noche Buena.
The Noche Buena is a big, open house, celebration with family, friends and neighbors dropping in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Most households would have several dishes laid out and would normally include: lechon (roasted pig), ham, fruit salad, rice cakes (bibingka and puto bumbong are traditional Christmas foods) and other sweets, steamed rice, and many different types of drinks.
One very special person who helps people in the Philippines celebrate Christmas is Santa R-Kayma Klaws. He is a Filipino citizen, in his 70s and is of Irish descent. He has been spreading Christmas cheer among poor Filipino children by dressing up as Santa Claus during charity missions and corporate events in poor areas of the Philippines for over 50 years. He has a ‘giant motor sleigh’ (an air-conditioned bus!) that is used in many missions all over the Philippines. Santa R-Kayma Klaws owns the Philippines’ only reindeer farm at Mt. Isarog in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Ocampo, Camarines Sur. The farm is open to the public for free. You can find out more about him and his work on his website: http://pacificsantas.com.
The Philippines has eight major languages, here’s how to say Merry Christmas in some of them! In Tagalog, Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Maligayang Pasko’; in Ilonggo it’s ‘Malipayon nga Pascua’; in Sugbuhanon or Cebuano it’s ‘Maayong Pasko’; in Bicolano they say ‘Maugmang Pasko’ in Pangalatok or Pangasinense they say ‘Maabig ya pasko’ or ‘Magayagan inkianac’; and in Warey Warey you say ‘Maupay Nga Pasko’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.
In 2013 the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan and thousands of people were made homeless, so lots of people can’t celebrate Christmas like they used to. Many charities like Compassion are working in the Philippines to help people.