RICEANDSHINE There’s no resisting the smell of freshly baked “bibingka” (rice cakes), that greet early
Mass-goers on theirway to “Misa deGallo,” the series of nine dawnMasses that lead up to Christmas Day.
Bibingka, “puto bumbong” (violet-colored rice cakes) and “salabat” (ginger tea) are traditional Misa de Gallo
fare that enticeMass goers to brave coldmornings and join the church-bound crowd. LYNRILLON
#PaskoNaSintaKo, #Kumukutikutitap and other Filipino Christmas hashtags
Today’s holiday essentials: ham for “noche buena,” a good alarm clock to make sure you wake up in time for “Simbang Gabi” (dawn Masses), crisp bills for your growing list of godchildren and… Instagram?
Many Filipinos use the photo-sharing app to chronicle the holidays. Christmas is one of the world’s most Instagrammed days and in the Philippines, known for having the longest Yuletide season, the holiday Instagram action begins a lot earlier than Dec. 25.
“Instagram makes it easier for family members overseas to find out what we’ve been up to,” says Mark Frederick Bulandus, an English teacher.
Adelle Geraldo, a mom of two, agrees. “I love taking photos to share with loved ones away from home.” Adelle’s #paskongpinoy posts consist of pictures of her kids wearing Santa hats and receiving gifts, Christmas décor and food.
“It’s a way to preserve memories. We come from a huge clan so (taking Instagram shots) is also meant to show family based overseas what went on here in the Philippines,” says Jane Villa, a PR account director. Jane’s family has its own hashtag.
Jayce Perlas, a PR practitioner, takes pictures of his moments with his siblings, nieces and nephews. “I post photos of the family gathered around the tree in ugly sweaters. And of course, the Christmas spread.” He gets creative with his hashtags too. “My all-time favorites are #EatYourFeelings and #SeasonToBeChubby.”
Hashtags are your key to finding social media posts with specific content. There are more than 41,000 #pasko and #simbanggabi posts, more than 12,000 with the hashtag #paskongpinoy and more than 11,000 #maligayangpasko posts. #Paskonasintako has been used more than 1,500 times while #pasko2015 is just warming up with more than 1,000 posts.
Check out beautiful lanterns by looking up #parol. You’ll find over 12,000 of them on Instagram. #Putobumbong yields over 16,000 photos of the delicious purple dessert.
Cindy B., a recruitment consultant, says her favorite hashtags are #bibingka, #putobumbong, #simbanggabi, #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas, #kumukutikutitap and #salamatsasponsor.
Window to the world
Hashtags can also be a window to see how the rest of the world celebrate the holidays. #Christmas has been used over 58 million times on Instagram. Other popular hashtags include #happyholidays, #christmastree, #merrychristmas, #christmaseve, #christmasshopping, #christmasgifts, #christmas2015 and #santaclaus.
Apple Arana, an English teacher who plans to start documenting her Christmas on social media this year, says, “I’d like to remember the holidays of the past because I think (they) would be of great help to make the next one better.”
“Celebrations with family and friends are always worth sharing. It’s all about passing on the good vibes,” says Pat Lejano, an entrepreneur.
But netizens said they were also cautious about oversharing. “I try to limit my posts. I’m not the kind who floods the feed,” said Ben Francis, an interior designer.
While many think of Instagram as their virtual family album, others prefer posting photos of decorations. “I like posting interesting Christmas displays and Christmas lights,” says Ruby Gan, an entrepreneuer and athlete.
Mixing it up
Mom Ivy MC mixes it up. “I post snapshots of cute Christmas trees, fabulous holiday lights, Christmas decorations, parties and the family being together during the Yuletide season.”
For some, Instagram is also a place for seeking inspiration. “I check out the app to get tips on decorating my home and wrapping gifts. I even find a lot of gift ideas there,” says Cherry D., a lawyer.
Others take it a step further by doing their Christmas shopping on Instagram. Many local sellers use the app as a catalog, posting a wide array of goods—from beauty products and cute finds from Japan, to shoes and clothes—thereby allowing people to buy gifts without braving the holiday traffic.
Companies have joined the fun, too, launching their own Instagram hashtags and promos like SM Malls’ #MostFabChristmas and #MerrySMChristmas2015, Coca-Cola’s #WishMoKayaKo and Rustan’s #RustansChristmas.
The Instagram posts of Ms Trainer, a BPO product specialist trainer, wouldn’t be as festive. “I will post selfies with workmates to show other people that I still have to work on Christmas.” “Her chosen hashtags? “#CauseItsDoublePay #BusyAko #NasaanKaChristmas.”