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"Sa may bahay, ang aming bati, Merry Christmas na maluwalhati..."
Yes! that all familiar tune almost always syncopated by the beat of home-made tambourines made of flattened cola metal caps and a maracas made of coconut with monggo inside. It is Christmas once again and make sure you leash your dogs, for the revelry of carolers is just around the corner - literally...
But is it? I think somewhere along the way, it lost its meaning.
The last time we were in the Philippines for Christmas, there was little to almost none Christmas carolers. In fact, I discovered a few years back that the 4 sets of Carolers in our neighborhood were actually one group who divided themselves into 4 teams. Preying on generous households, they will keep tab and let the next team know that this house gives generously.
Well, the antidote to that is to just give proportionate to the number of kids singing. Php 2 per head.
The next week, they will come again. This time, bringing non-performing assets as props. Yes, they know you know your math and so they bring in more glad tidings from kids who haven't even said their first word. So you give in. And yes Php 2 per head, approximately 3 per team x the number of team, 4 = Php 24. That included that baby in the ate's arms who was sleeping while his kuya was shouting "Pasko, Pasko, Pasko na namang muli..."
Then the next week, as if to really make Christmas a whole lotta money-making concept, the same group divided by 4, with non-performing assets, now bring their mother and father and sing as a family, complete with a medley of song and dance. I was half-waiting for one of the "kuya" to put his hand under his armpit and do the armpit bass sound...but to no avail. How can you resist not giving them something?
They started as a start-up with the mindset of flanking the market and milking the cow. Then they hired and outsourced some more heads to help them, and finally, sealed the deal innovating their services by bringing their top honchos.
Yes, Christmas Caroling has been made a business. But I guess, as long as I enjoy the songs, and they give us joy with their routines, a Php 2 per head is nothing to a place, cold, as the great white north, where the only Carol you know is the neighbor who doesn't even believe in Christmas.
Thank you,thank you, ambabait ninyo - ahhh, music to my ears.
o I'm not sure of its basis but Mariah Carey owns the Top Christmas Song, and no Jackson 5, woo hoo hoo...
o This list from a company who collects royalties for artists who have Christmas hits has "Last Christmas" by WHAM, UK led by the effervescent, George Michael as its top Christmas song:
The rest of the list shows:
1. Last Christmas - Wham!
2. Do They Know It's Christmas? (original 1984 recording) - Band Aid
3. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
4. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
6. Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewie
7. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard
8. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
9. Lonely This Christmas - Mud
10. White Christmas - Bing Crosby