Las Piñas City, is a first class highly urbanized city in Metro Manila, Philippines. It is bounded to the northeast by Parañaque, southeast by Muntinlupa, and southwest by Bacoor.
I know a lot of you are not very familiar with Las Piñas. Most of you might say, “it’s too far” or “I didn’t even know it was there” but this small city offers more than anything you can imagine. From fiestas, holy week, and Christmas, I can say that we (Las Piñeros) embraced our traditions wholeheartedly.
For starters, Las Piñas-Bayan is the very heart of the city. It is the home of the historical Bamboo Organ seen inside the St. Joseph Parish Church. And every Christmas season, this church and our little bayan turns into a Spanish era setting. How? Let’s just say it has a touch of magic.
So, how do we, Las Piñeros from Bayan celebrate our Christmas? Three words: lights, faith, and cuisine.
Plaza Quezon’s Christmas Lanterns
When the dim comes, the light shines brightly at Plaza Quezon. Every Las Piñeros know that it’s already Christmas when Plaza Quezon’s Parols are already on the streets.
Parol-making is a tradition passed down through generation in Las Piñas. Even though we’re now living in a modernized time, parol makers still continue to produce bright and colorful Christmas lanterns to keep the tradition alive and of course, to give everyone the Christmas spirit.
Misa de Gallo at St. Joseph’s Parish
This is the most awaited event of Las Piñeros every year (besides from fiesta) because of the belief that if you complete the nine days of Misa de Gallo, your prayers will be given to you.
Some of you may think that only old people participate in this mass but not here in Las Piñas, because almost everyone participates in our Misa de Gallo.
I remember my teenage self, waking up every 4 am just complete the Misa de Gallo with my friends. After the mass, we’ll buy some Kakanin and Lugaw then we’ll talk and talk for hours until it’s time for us to go home.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have any chance to complete the Misa de Gallo (until now) because well, let’s just say that our laziness won every time we try to wake up in the morning. We all agree and accepted the fact that we’ll never complete the mass especially now that we’re all getting o-l-d. Shoutout to my lazy friends!
Kubos of Pinoy Kakanin
After attending the Misa de Gallo, it’s time to get your stomach a snack. Freshly made Bibingka, Puto Bumbong, Gotto, Palabok, Puto, Kutsinta, you name it and they have it.
Kubos in St. Joseph’s Parish are only visible during the Christmas season that’s why people really make a lot of effort to go and eat here with their family and friends. Every Las Piñeros knows that Christmas is not complete if they didn’t visit the patio.
Change is inevitable. Yes, it’s true but keeping our culture is one way to give respect to our ancestors and history. These kinds of activities give us a taste of our own history, of what is ours. Keeping traditions are ways of telling stories to the next generation, not just through words but by experience.
I can say that I’m very lucky to grow up in Las Piñas-Bayan because we are taught to embrace our traditions and to be proud of how rich our culture is. To all Las Piñeros out there, let’s all be proud of who we are. Let’s embrace, support, and preserve our cultural practices for posterity.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture are like a tree without roots.” -Marcus Garvey