Donato Manliclic, 29, a systems administrator in Vancouver, Canada, fondly remembers how Christmas in the Philippines meant being with family and friends, decorating homes, and spending much of one’s salary for gifts.
“Growing up, I’ve always wondered what it’s like to experience a white Christmas. Twenty-six years later, I found out. The first snowfalls were awesome. The white everywhere is surreal for someone from a tropical country,” he said.
“Then Christmastime came. The cold was felt, and I realized, as many Filipinos abroad would in their first Christmas away from home, nothing beats how we celebrate,” he added.
Manliclic is no stranger to how passionate Filipinos are when it comes to spending Christmas, living in Pasig City until his family moved overseas in 2009.
He fondly remembers Christmas spent with family and relatives in the Philippines, pointing out that he had “gigabytes and gigabytes of photos I took back home and a folder-full of Christmas ones.”
And coming across Inquirer.net’s photo contest Paskong Pinoy which was done in partnership with Instagramers Manila made Manliclic miss holidays spent in his homeland much more.
“The holiday trees here in Vancouver are nicely and most, expensively decorated, yet that Paskong Pinoy feel I grew up with is missing,” he said.
His winning photograph of a Christmas tree ablaze with lights and festooned with ornaments is more than just a keepsake from his last Christmas in the Philippines. “It brought me back right away to my last Christmas spent in the Philippines in 2008. I chose my entry because I was with a loved one when I took it, whom I miss a lot.”
Taken way back in 2008 while he was still experimenting with his Nikon D60, Manliclic said that he shot the photo of the Christmas tree at a park facing Glorietta while playing with his new camera’s features.
“I positioned myself near the foot of the tree and framed the subject at a dead center, letting the lights give life to the image,” he said.
For Manliclic, the warmth of being around family and friends during Christmas in the Philippines “cannot be replaced by a hot peppermint choco by the fireplace.”
“Winter wonderland is fun, but Paskong Pinoy wonderland is the best,” he said.