Sat under bobbles and festive jingles as walking dead mall cops pass between tables. Sounds bizarre but this is the norm for Halloween in Manila. In the Christian God-fearing country of the Philippines shanty towns and mansions are plastered with fairy lights and giant Santas long before they are seen in the West.
I made an effort this Halloween. Normally I’m not big into playing dress-up but for Halloween in Manila I went all out. Fake eyebrows. Having bought a pack of 10 the previous week at Bangkok’s Sampeng market I am now sorted for the next 10 Halloweens. Our original plans for Halloween in Manila were the Big Fish Halloween Ball and P.Burgos Halloween Parade. No luck. These events had come and gone the previous weekend. As always weekday workers ruined our mid-week Halloween fun. Now on Halloween night we sit at Manila’s SM Mall of Asia eating Halo-Halo working hard to ignore the persistent begging of a street kid (I give him half my halo-halo). The Mall of Asia and fronting beach is the one place guaranteed for hijinks and celebrations on Halloween in Manila. More family fun than adult entertainment but plans for later would take us to the trendy Skye Lounge Rooftop Bar for a Halloween bash with Manila’s middle-class cool.
I love the Christmas spirit in the Philippines. If only the same effort was made in the West. I never feel properly happy until people start complaining about Christmas. “Coca-cola adverts!”, “Selection boxes at Tescos!”, “Durkin with his Christmas tree up!”, “Snow!” I love how happy things make others so miserable. The constant complaining is a jolly reminder of how depressing life can be back in the UK. I now have Home Alone 2 downloaded and will be whistling Jingle Bell Rock till New Year. Up yours from the jolly Pinoy Santa.