Sunday, September 16, 2007


The colors in these photographs recently taken at the Orchidarium remind me of Christmas. But then again, even without these images, as always during this time of the year in Manila, the spirit of the holiday season has already started to assault everyone's senses -- from the malls' loudspeaker systems that blare holiday carols to TV news personalities who duly warn the public of pickpockets and con artists now that the so-called ber months are upon us.

I was made aware of the meaning behind this phrase "ber months" when I moved back to Manila. It refers to the final four months of the year; the names of which end with the syllable "ber." Therefore, according to local culture, September is deemed an acceptable start of the Christmas season shopping frenzy (its equivalent in the States would be the Friday after Thanksgiving Day).

Although the upside of this uniquely-Filipino phenomenon is that it expands the holiday spirit of peace and goodwill toward men, its downside, however, is the additional stress that it gives to the average Filipinos who are already
coping with financial constraints. Imagine their agony of having to endure an even larger sombre cloud that hovers above them for an even longer amount of time.

n all honesty, I am among those ambivalent about this ber months mentality; if anything, it mainly promotes commercialization of what is supposedly a highly spiritual time of the year; not to mention that it was only the business community that may have midwifed this silly but lucrative idea. Nonetheless, if you're one of those who get the creeps at the onset of these ber months, try doing what I do -- don't believe the hype. Instead, keep in mind what Susan Polis Schutz said:

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”

In other words, only nurture empowering thoughts and feelings.

Wishing y'all a wonderful Sunday and great week ahead!


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:29 AM


Anonymous kyels said...

I've always loved Christmas and how everyone gets busy buying gifts for friends and families. A joyous season indeed.


Happy Sunday!

September 16, 2007 12:39 PM  

Blogger Cyberpunk said...

wow i just realized that we're into the 'ber months' after reading your post hehe...

yeah christmas is commercialized... it's stressful during the holiday season... but i can't wait for christmas during the summer months :)

September 17, 2007 2:28 AM  

Blogger Francesca said...

Im not a xmas fanatics, i can live without, but with nature trips, I would love to spend time (or money if i have to).

when trouble sets in, I just look at flowers and animals, how beautifully created, I felt blessed already.

Good pics!

September 17, 2007 5:23 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Francesca!

Communing with nature can be a spiritually rewarding experience, indeed. I had a friend who'd camp overnight solo up in the mountain that's covered with virgin snow. He would then get up before the break of dawn and meditate until sunrise. He claimed the experience as simply spiritually exhilarating.

September 17, 2007 7:04 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Christmas is one of the most joyous holidays across the globe, Cyberpunk. It can also be the most depressing for some people ... hehehe. But I love it, nonetheless, especially, for the magical things that usually happens during that period.

September 17, 2007 7:06 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. In New York, Kyels, I was one of those who'd wait for the last minute to do my Christmas shopping -- hectic but fun.

September 17, 2007 7:07 AM  

Anonymous cacofonix said...

hmp,,,,i want to boycott your blog already SE, the pics and the description, plus the quotes make me want to move back to the Phils. for, i don't have the millions dollars he he....praying for the lottery or wait for retirement (not!)...:).

if not for my Christmases in Vegas (where my parents are based), the season would be depressing for me too...but seriously, i can't bear the thought of enduring another harsh long winter here - i'd trade it for the "overhyped" long Christmas celebration in Pinas anytime!.....*sigh*...

ibalik nyo ko sa Pilipinasssssssss....

September 17, 2007 9:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You just made me realize, Cacofonix, how silly of me to whine about the extended or over-hyped Christmas shopping frenzy here in Pinas. Come to think of it, I'd rather have it than endure the long dreary winter months of NYC.

Lol ... I guess, we really tend to take things for granted after a while.

Hey, hopefully you'd come home for a visit even if for a month or two. This way, you'll get to enjoy the country and all its offerings now instead of waiting until your retirement (God forbid!) .... hehehe!

September 17, 2007 11:20 AM  

Blogger dodong flores said...

September pa lang, marinig mo na Christmas song sa mga FM stations. Yes, that's how early is Christmas to be anticipated here in our beloved country :)

September 17, 2007 7:22 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Isn't that something, Dodong? I love Christmas songs but I'm used to hearing them for only a limited time which is usually between the last week of November to Christmas. They become even more special that way, I think.

September 17, 2007 8:02 PM  

Blogger mimi said...

ang galing naman nag water plant na yun..

September 18, 2007 5:23 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And the way they cluster together is quite an impressive display of nature, Mimi.

September 18, 2007 6:37 PM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

Nice shots as usual, eric. And please, don't get me started on Christmas yet. I don't even want to think about it yet. Although, I just had a meeting with my bosses last week and they were already talking about Christmas shopping already.

September 19, 2007 12:02 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ay, naku, Irene. Here in Manila, whether you like it or not, they've started with the holiday ambience -- sight and sound ... hahaha!

What an irony since the majority of local folks are far from having excessive disposal income to start on a shopping spree months ahead of Christmas.

September 19, 2007 2:01 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Gem and I both love shopping and wrapping Christmas gifts. Kahit maliliit na tokens lang, nira-wrap namin to give away to family and friends.

Dati, pinag-aagawan naming mag-ina ang pagbalot ng mga gifts. Pero para walang away, we learned to divide the task. At ang arte niyang mag-wrap, kung anu-anong mga bling-blings ang nilalagay. Minsan, mas mahal pa tuloy yung wrappers kaysa gift sa loob. hahaha!

September 20, 2007 10:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You and Gem remind me of a couple of people I know back in NYC who really gained much pleasure in wrapping gifts. They were so pretty that most recipients felt bad in opening the gifts so as not to destroy the wrapping.

Perhaps, you and Gem ought to take a trip to Divisoria because novelty items (like picture frames, figurines, and etc.) that are perfect for gift-giving are priced lower over there.

September 20, 2007 12:24 PM  

Blogger The Ironic Optimist said...

nice shots sir :)

August 13, 2008 6:26 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, The Ironic Optimist!

August 13, 2008 7:37 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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