Christmas Guide

The ‘Ber’ Months Are Here and Here’s What We Expect This Year

Virtual Christmas party is in!

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | September 07, 2021
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Metro Manila, Pandemic, christmas, health protocols, safety protocol, christmas season, virtual christmas party ideas, health and safety protocols, virtual christmas party, health safety protocols

Part of Filipino culture is celebrating Christmas as early as September.

Image: My Makati Facebook Page

As soon as September starts, it’s already the beginning of the Christmas season for most Filipinos —having the Philippines with the most extended Christmas celebration in the world. Before you know it, you can already see Christmas lights everywhere and hear classic Christmas songs on the radio. These sights are familiar to many Filipinos; this might be a culture shock for many tourists or foreigners living in the country.

But first, why do Filipinos start their Christmas season early? There is no record of any event in history that started this tradition, but a simple explanation is because Filipinos are fond of counting down to big celebrations [1]. When September starts, the countdown until Christmas begins at 100 days. Filipinos anticipate Christmas early as a way of preparing. For some people, the thought of Ber months brings comfort since they have something to look forward to—especially during difficult times like the ongoing pandemic. Given the circumstances, there are changes to expect during the ber months in the Philippines while we’re currently under lockdown.

1. Malls will be filled with more police and security guards.

As early as September, more cops were deployed in malls and various shopping centers in Metro Manila to enforce public health and safety protocols among shoppers [2]. Aside from this, cops will also survey the areas for pickpockets and thieves who are rampant during the holiday season—particularly in crowded places like Divisoria. Online shopping is still preferred, but buying gifts in malls is allowed as long as shoppers follow the health protocols. Mall hours are also adjusted.

2. Holiday vacations are restricted.

The ber months are usually filled with long weekends perfect for out-of-town trips and staycations. Sadly, tourism is a heavy hit sector during the pandemic due to travel restrictions in some areas with many COVID-19 cases [3]. Because some areas do not allow tourists from certain places like Metro Manila, city folks would have to do with staycations within the city if the government allows them depending on the quarantine level. Certain hotel amenities are also regulated carefully by limiting capacities like swimming pools and buffets.

3. Various throwback pictures and videos from holidays past

In the next few months, your social media feed is bound to include at least one throwback picture from previous holidays in the old normal. Many people tend to look back on their old photos to remember how everything used to be [4].

4. Virtual family reunions

Part of Filipino culture during the holiday season is to have an annual family reunion where you can eat and exchange gifts with your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Unfortunately, this tradition will be undergoing a digital makeover in the time of the pandemic. Virtual Christmas parties and reunions will be more viable, particularly to relatives living in different areas under different quarantine levels.

5. Christmas-themed memes and Tiktok vids

In an era where social media is king, it’s no surprise that memes and videos are popular for Filipinos of all ages. There are memes about Ber months, Jose Mari Chan, and Mariah Carey as early as August. Relatable Christmas memes are also abundant throughout the season, like experiences in giving gifts to godchildren. Younger generations can also create Tiktok videos [5] dancing to Christmas songs like “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Christmas in Our Hearts,” and “Last Christmas.” These contents will be more abundant since everyone has more free time at home.

6. Changes in holiday traffic

Even if movement is limited, traffic is still unavoidable in the Philippines during the entire Ber months. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) implements a suspension of number coding scheme [6] to allow more vehicles on the road. During December, the movement might be faster on major highways due to truck bans.

Visit Yoorekka Consumer Magazine for more holiday tips, updates, and guidelines in Metro Manila!

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.


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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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