I don’t miss being in the Philippines during the holidays. And when the time comes that I would want to come home, I will never, ever be home during the holidays…
There I said it! I finally got it out of my chest and into the open.
Do I see dagger looks from you guys at me, the girl who Grinch-ed the most important get-together season of the year? Please hear me out first.
I don’t want to pay double the cost of airfare.
Yes, The Husband and millions of other Filipino expats do earn in dollars or whatever foreign currency that is worth so much more than the Philippine peso. BUT it doesn’t mean that we are all rolling in the dough and can spend a lot of money.
Take a look at this:
A round-trip plane ticket on Philippine Airlines from Los Angeles to Manila during the peak Christmas season costs around $2,500 PER PERSON.
Now, let’s compare this to the same Philippine Airlines ticket during September-October, which costs around $1,100. That’s $1,400 (For those really anal about the numbers, the difference is exactly $1,325) more expensive! And that’s more than double the cost of the airfare.
Since we will be paying for two people, a Christmas time ticket would cost us almost $5,000! Now that’s a LOT OF MONEY! I think that’s too much to spend for airfare, which could cost us so much less during off-peak season.
…UNLESS we’d get to stumble upon a really good deal / promotion in which costs would match off-peak season rates. Aaaaand besides we just got here anyway!
I don’t like wasting my time in traffic.
The traffic in Metro Manila, where most, if not all, of my family and friends reside, has evolved into this hideous monster, a Gremlin in fact, whose super horror powers increase a hundred fold whenever its hit by water (even the lightest of showers) or whenever it’s Christmas season. I’ve heard stories of friends being stuck on the road for 3-4-5 hours going to places in which travel time usually lasts an hour or two at most.
Those precious hours spent on the road could have meant more quality time spent with family and friends whom we have not seen for years, right? I certainly don’t miss Metro Manila roads that much to spend more time with it.
I don’t like spending more on expensive gas.
Oh and let’s not even talk about the cost of gas given the increased consumption because of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Would you believe that unleaded gas in the Philippines (PHP 53 / around $ 1.20 per liter…or can somebody please update the latest costs?) costs more than gas here in Texas (average of $3 per gallon / $0.79 per liter)?
I hate being in a rush.
I know I do hate a lot of things, but here’s one more that affects the possible Christmas balikbayan (i.e. Filipino term for returning expats) experience: the rush. I’m someone who likes to spend my sweet time savoring every second, minute, hour/s with people whom I have not seen for months – well, a little over year (I’ve been away for more than a year now). I am selfish, but I don’t want divided attention from them, competing against other Christmas get togethers and errands (and of course, the Christmas traffic) given limited time spent in the Philippines.
I don’t like crowds.
Okay, I think this is highly correlated to the cause of horrible traffic. In Metro Manila’s Christmas season, it seems that people are smoked out of their homes, like bazillions of ants scrambling for their lives out of the anthill, and are all on the roads and shopping malls, where you coincidentally need to be at to buy gifts and stuff as well as meet up family and friends. Being a certified introvert, who absolutely avoids crowds like the plague, I prefer peace and quiet and a semblance of order when I go about my business.
Christmas crowds? No thanks!
I know can spend time with my loved ones ANY time of the year and not just during Christmas season with lesser airfare, less traffic, less gas expenses, less rush and less crowds…less stress! Besides it wouldn’t make it any less special. In fact, any balikbayan’s homecoming does and will always feel like Christmas: heart warming, fuzzy and overflowing with love, no matter what time of the year.
Merry Christmas to all! Hope you all are enjoying the holidays no matter where in the world you are!