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Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.


Christmas Celebration

Christmas in Asia – celebrating in the Philippines.

For Filipinos, Christmas Eve on December 24 is the much-anticipated Noche Buena.

Noche Buena is the traditional Christmas Eve feast after the midnight mass. Family members dine together around midnight -: queso de bola (Span. literally “ball of cheese”; Edam cheese), “Tsokolate” (hot chocolate drink) and Hamon (Christmas ham).

Throughout the Philippines, Catholic devotees reenact the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary in search of lodging for the soon-to-be-born Jesus Christ – called Panunuluyan, also called Pananawagan and Pananapatan.

This pageant is performed after dark with the actors portraying Joseph and Mary going to pre-designated houses chanting wika, wika bang bang, a traditional folk song that is meant to wake up the owner of the house.

The couples are turned away by the owners by a song. Finally, Joseph and Mary make their way to the church to find that a manager has been set up. The birth of Jesus is celebrated at midnight with the Misa de Gallo, together with hallelujahs and Christmas carols.

Christmas Day is a family affair. It is usually attended by the whole family. Misa de Aguinaldo is the Holy Mass.

Misa de Aguinaldo is also celebrated at dawn or in the morning immediately after sunrise before 10 AM.

In the morning, Filipino families visit members of the extended family, notably the elders in order to pay their respect – called Pagmamano.

It is done by touching one’s forehead to the elder’s hand saying Mano Po.

The elder then blesses the person who paid respect.

Aguinaldo or money in the form of crisp, fresh-from-the-bank bills is given after the Pagmamano to younger children.

A Christmas lunch follows after the Pagmamano. Rich families tend to prepare grand and glorious feasts that consist of Filipino delicacies.

Poor families choose to cook simple yet special meals. After lunch, gifts are exchanged.

The day is spent singing carols and remembering the real meaning of Christmas.

How will you celebrate Christmas?


Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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