Maligayang Pasko! Christmas the Philippines way

Parol illustration by Michaela Gallardo (Instagram: @ruthgcreates)

Parol illustration by Michaela Gallardo (Instagram: @ruthgcreates)

All of us at Mount Mayon would like to wish our customers a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019.

It’s been a great year. In the last 12 months we’ve launched our Premium Pili Nuts in three unique flavors, and we’ve been thrilled with the overwhelming reaction to our products. The consensus seems to be that our nuts are unlike anything else out there, and word about Mount Mayon is spreading. This is a hugely exciting time for us!

Focusing on our local heritage, we were proud to launch a beautiful limited-edition Christmas box for our Premium Pili Nuts, available in the Philippines only. With most Filipinos being Catholic, it’s no surprise that Christmas is the most important holiday of the year in our country. It’s celebrated with a mixture of Western and native Filipino practices, and our seasonal packaging focuses on a very local tradition – the ‘parol’.

Parol illustration by Michaela Gallardo (Instagram: @ruthgcreates)

Parol illustration by Michaela Gallardo (Instagram: @ruthgcreates)

The parol is an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern and is the most popular Christmas decoration in the Philippines. Parols are often homemade and displayed in homes by windows and porches, and they are also used as decorations in churches, schools and markets.

The design evokes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the three kings to the manger. It also symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and the Filipinos’ hope and goodwill during the Christmas season. A parol is traditionally made from bamboo strips and coloured Japanese ‘washi’ tissue paper, or cellophane.

Other traditions local to the Philippines include a midnight feast that takes place after Mass on Christmas Eve, called Noche Buena (meaning “the Good Night”). This is a big, open house event where extended family descend on their hosts and happily dine until the early hours on roasted pig, ham, fruit, savoury cakes, specialty bread, pastries and alcohol – and, no doubt, the ever-popular pili nut!

Another local tradition is a visit from Santa R-Kayma Claws. Yep, that’s his real name and he’s a very real character. Part Filipino, part-Irish, way back in 1964 Santa R-Kayma established a band of countrywide Santas who dedicate their time to visiting children throughout the Philippines, spreading goodwill and cheer where it’s needed the most. This often happens outside the usual Christmas season, when the natural disasters to which our country is prone create a need for joy and humanitarian assistance in equal measure.

Once again, we’d like to wish you a happy Christmas and thank you for your valued support in what’s been a really extraordinary year for us. We can’t wait to share our new flavours and products in 2019 - watch this space as our little business keeps on growing, and our Premium Pili Nuts become more widely available

Chaunce Lee