Simbang Gabi starts today in churches in the Philippines and among large Filipino communities all over the world. In San Francisco, Simbang Gabi has received the official imprimatur of the Vatican, thanks to the tireless efforts of Filipina church leader Nellie Hizon who worked for 20 years to get the uniquely Filipino tradition recognized. Regular Positively Filipino contributor Manzel Delacruz tells us the story of the commissioning of Simbang Gabi in the San Francisco diocese, a milestone achievement that brings Filipinos in the Bay Area together in tradition and prayer.
Another Christmas event that has done wonders for creating a sense of community is Belenismo sa Tarlac, an annual Belen-making contest that is now participated in by 17 municipalities and a city in Tarlac. Started in 2007 by the Tarlac Heritage Foundation headed by Mrs. Isabel Cojuangco Suntay, Belenisimo or the art of creating a Belen (nativity scene) has brought out the creative imagination of townsfolk and has changed the Christmas landscape of the province. Native Tarlaqueña Elizabeth Ann Quirino writes proudly about this event, which she witnessed for the first time this year.
In Atlanta, Georgia, meanwhile, Fil-Am radio producer Myke Johns is making waves in the arts community of the city. Positively Filipino Correspondent Rey de la Cruz introduces us to this dynamic personality whose heart is solidly behind public radio.
Our Happy Home Cook feature in time for the holiday gatherings is embutido, the Filipino meatloaf with homemade banana ketchup, courtesy of LA-based chef, food blogger and cookbook author Marvin Gapultos.
For Video of the Week, Micah Indiola took a video of two Filipino kids singing Parañaque Rebels' Christmas rap carol "Santa Klaws."