Your Ultimate Guide To Celebrating The Holidays In The Philippines | Clozette


Here it is, the last month of 2018. It's no secret that the festive season uplifts one's mood no matter how trying the rest of the year has been. And even if most of the Clozette Community reside within Southeast Asia, it's interesting to know that the differences in culture, history, and influences, no matter how big or small, contribute to how unique each country within the region varies in practising holiday traditions. So for the first part of our regional holiday guide, let's take a deep dive into how the festivities are conducted in the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines. 


The countdown starts on the first of September




Is there a country who celebrates Christmas longer than the Philippines? Starting the countdown as soon as the -ber months begin and usually ends at the Feast of the Three Kings (6 January), expect garlands and Christmas lights decorating neighbourhoods throughout this span of time. Clozetter Louise Agnazata shares, "From preparing the decorations outside the house to wrapping presents and, of course, preparing for my glam look for [Christmas] day, for me, there's no Christmas spirit without the art of [preparing your] self, the lights, garlands, and of course, poinsettias!" Talk about going all out with the decor as soon as the 4th quarter of the year begins.


Christmas songs from a certain artist fill the air



If the U.S. has Mariah Carey and Michael Buble hitting up the airwaves with Christmas classics once the holiday season starts, the Philippines also has its very own holiday icon in the form of artist Jose Mari Chan. With songs like "Christmas In Our Hearts" and "Mary's Boy Child" becoming the PH's own Christmas classics, the festivities in this tropical country won't be complete without a mention of this fella. 


Noche Buena, Media Noche, and Misa de Gallo are terms you need to take note of


With its history of Spanish colonisation, it's no surprise that some holiday traditions from Spain remain deep-rooted in the country's culture. Misa de gallo, for one, is the tradition of attending a mass held at dawn for nine straight days. Such an accomplishment is said to grant you a wish come true. Then, of course, there are gatherings over noche buena and media noche, the grand family meals before Christmas and New Year's day respectively.




Clozetter Aurora Basbas shares, "A meaningful holiday with the family is what's really important. Sharing stories with cousins, [uncles and aunts] over drinks and food, giving gifts, and singing and dancing make the holidays the most joyful." 


Red, green, and polka dots become wardrobe musts


(Photo from: LexiePuzon)


No matter how challenging the year has been both emotionally and financially, Filipinos still make it a habit to shop for new clothes during the holidays as the celebration holds massive importance embedded in the country's culture. It is a way of giving thanks and reuniting with almost everyone in your clan, making your wardrobe of significance. The choice of colours? Of course, it has to go with the season's theme. In this, we can see yet another foreign influence, this time from the Chinese. The belief in wearing polka dots and red for good luck is highly practised by both elders and children. Similar goes with round fruits to be served on the table for both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve to attract good fortune. And yes, such tradition does not just apply to Filipino-Chinese families but for almost every household in the country. Interesting, right?



Christmas carollers know no age


(Photo from: JulieAnnLozada)


Filipinos are known globally as music lovers and it manifests even more during the holidays. Young and old, everyone has had their moment of participating in this activity where bottle caps are turned into tambourines and old milk cans to drums. The next step? Walking down the streets at night and going house to house in your neighbourhood, singing Christmas songs in the hopes that someone would fancy your carol and hand you some change as a courtesy. Most of the time, this goes on almost every night as soon as the first of December starts until the 25th. Of course, a little bias goes into putting your best performance for house owners who are well known for being a bit fancier with their bills (with PHP20 - 50/~USD0.40 - 1 being a big deal when it comes to a street carolling gig).



Next, make sure you're all prepped and pretty for the festivities with our ultimate holiday beauty guide.


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Ah, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Home to many iconic supermodels and memorable catwalk moments, the lingerie brand's event has been much anticipated by both huge industry names and fashion fans ever since it began because of its unique take on the runway. Not to mention how it is considered to be a big opportunity-maker for budding models to be included in the show, given that they'll be lined up with names like Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, and Adriana Lima to name a few, who all have held the prestigious title of being a 'Victoria's Secret Angel'. 



But even with its outstanding production set that grows bigger every year, its glamorous take on lingerie, and the crowd-pleasing performances of well-known artists gracing its stages, numbers don't lie. For years, the show's TV ratings are consistently and inevitably dropping, making us think that maybe VS is already losing its appeal. It is said that in the U.S., viewership has dropped to 3.3 million people as compared to 5 million of the previous year. That, in comparison to how shows in preceding years have reached to even 10.5 million viewers, showed a significant decline, especially since it was expected that this year's show would perform well at the confirmed appearances of 'VS age demographic' favourites such as Kendall Jenner and the Hadid Sisters. 

For years, one major criticism about the show is how it lacked diversity for many of their models fit into the 'white, blonde, slim' stereotype. Since then, the brand has become more open to their selection of runway walkers, opening the floor for more racial diversity. However, considering that competitor brands like Rihanna's Savage X Fenty and Ashley Graham's Addition Elle are now winning the market by catering to a wider range of body shapes, sizes, and even gender, many have come to question how unyielding Victoria's Secret has been and how they have failed yet again to make a statement about inclusivity in their 2018 show. 



It also didn't help that the brand's Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek addressed the criticism in a recent interview by saying, "We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every speciality retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world." This statement caused many people to be taken aback at what seemed like the brand's apathy, even going as far to call a boycott.


However, we took it upon ourselves to read the interview in full and discovered that more was said regarding the matter. In his defence, Razek also mentioned, "...in 1999, 2000, after we’d done the show for a few years, none of the designers who did shows would use any of our girls. "They were too fat" was the prevailing wisdom of fashion at the time. You probably remember that. At the time the conversation was "they’re too big for us [pertaining to the curvier and more bombshell-esque models], we can’t possibly put them in our show." Progress gets made, and part of what’s happened in our show is that the girls have just continued to get more physically fit."



In support of this, the brand's Executive Vice President of Public Relations Monica Mitro also said in the same interview, "We’ve donated more than 1 million hours of associates’ time, hundreds of millions of dollars to women’s causes. And we’ve never said if you buy a bra, we’ll give a dollar to a cause. We’ve never promoted it. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. Nonsense gets written about us; God bless, we understand, we’re a big target, a very big target. We get it, we’re enormously successful and have been for a very long time."



Overall, it is quite interesting to see the two sides of the story. On one end, it is good that people are calling for more inclusivity and body positivity, especially towards a big industry player such as Victoria's Secret. However, it is also worth noting that some critics are also disposing of the fact that they are dismissing the efforts of the girls who also worked hard to get their physiques in the shape for this event. Not to mention how it seems like they're pitting women against women in the form of 'which show is better' rather than appreciating all these celebrations of beauty. Remember, body positivity drives diversity and that should go whether one is slim or curvy as long as health and holistic welfare are involved. We just have to leave it to the bigger corporations to approach it as they see fit and call them out when they go totally out of line, though still with the thought that some situations need a more careful and deeper assessment than others. Because at the end of the day, our money is our own and we can control how our purchasing power ties in with our convictions. 


(Cover photo from: @victoriassecret)



Next, check out how these celebrities clapped back from body shaming.


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Gatherings and parties are aplenty during this time of the year. Aside from making lists of gifts and whom to give them, we’re also busy preparing for parties here and there. With the many things on our plate, it can get really overwhelming. But you don’t really need to shop for a new outfit for parties. Your office-wear can pass as a party ensemble… but only if you follow these tips.


Embrace power dressing



Bella Freud Bianca double-breasted cotton velvet blazer, USD1,037 (net-a-porter.com); Max Mara cashmere and silk-blend sweater, USD626 (net-a-porter.com); Ellery Belted woven straight-leg pants, USD503 (theoutnet.com); Iris & Ink Siobhan velvet mules, USD155 (theoutnet.com)


From the boardroom to a bar at Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong, you can’t go wrong with a power suit. If you have one in a jewel tone, that’s perfect. But if you don’t, a sleek black pair would do the trick just the same. Opt for a coloured innerwear as a nod to the festivities.


Indulge in holiday textures



Roberto Cavalli leather tote, USD428 (theoutnet.com); Vionnet draped woven and velvet dress, USD548 (theoutnet.com); Gianvito Rossi Plexi 105 patent leather and PVC pumps, USD792 (net-a-porter.com)


Get into the celebratory spirit by wearing fabrics with textures that are normally used for celebrations. Think velvet, glitters and silk. Wear an item of clothing in any of these materials but make sure that the cut is still work-appropriate. Pair your usual work clothes with a silk shirt or a velvet skirt to up the vibe as though you’re living it up on a night of after-work fun in Kuala Lumpur.


Play with accessories



Kate Spade New York gold-tone crystal bracelet, USD213 (theoutnet.com); Vince silk-paneled gathered crepe de chine dress, USD796 (net-a-porter.com); Kenneth Jay Lane gold-tone earrings, USD30 (theoutnet.com); Charlotte Olympia Debbie suede platform pumps, USD272 (theoutnet.com); Yuzefi Asher small color-block textured-leather shoulder bag, USD569 (net-a-porter.com)


There’s no easier way to transition your usual work look from day to night than with accessories. We’ve been told to remove one piece of accessory before heading out the door, but when it comes to partying, we say pile on some more. Layer your necklaces or exchange your studs for hoops. These little changes can go a long way in making your look ready for booze and socialising in Clarke Quay, Singapore.


Go midi


Staud Shirley mini patent-leather tote, USD339 (net-a-porter.com); Givenchy pussy-bow silk crepe de chine blouse, USD1,524 (net-a-porter.com); J.W. Anderson asymmetric wool and cashmere-blend wrap midi skirt, USD325 (theoutnet.com); Chloe leather-paneled suede ankle boots, USD588 (theoutnet.com)


The midi skirt is an in-betweener when it comes to length, but that’s what makes it perfect for transitioning from one look to another. Opt to go for a midi skirt that’s a little light when it comes to the fabric and avoid tweed or other fabrics that are typically associated with workwear; this will also be especially helpful if you’re going to party it up in humid places like Jakarta. As a bonus, go for something that has an asymmetrical cut for a fun touch.



Pull off a trend



Diane Von Furstenberg velvet mules, USD173 (theoutnet.com); Cefinn button-embellished stretch-crepe dress, USD511 (net-a-porter.com); Coach embellished leather shoulder bag, USD571 (theoutnet.com)


One way to make an outfit veer away from being strictly for the office is by incorporating a trendy piece. Instead of your usual sensible bag, carry a beaded bag. Or switch your usual workwear shoes to something that’s a bit more jazzed up and bedazzled for some dancing in the Bangkok nightlife. 


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