US Pinoys prepare for Christmas in PH amid security concerns

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The last time Cecilia Lemon spent Christmas in the Philippines was in 2001.

After putting some money away and now that her daughter 11-year-old Jennifer is older, Cecilia is very anxious to experience the holidays in the homeland once more.

“In the Philippines there are a lot of lights, carolers, especially the kids using tin cans to sing Christmas songs,” said Cecilia. “I miss the Philippine Christmas songs. Also, the Simbang Gabi – waking up early in the morning just to go to mass – all those things I miss in the Philippines during the holidays.”

Cecilia has brought Jennifer to the Philippines before; but this trip will be her first visiting during Christmas.

“I haven’t seen them, like my aunts and uncles and everyone, in a long time and it’s a lot of fun to be there,” said Jennifer. “And the way my mom described it, it sounds really fun and exciting. I’m really excited to go.”

Frequent flyer Lydia Neff makes a trip back home to the Philippines at least once a year; however, this will be the first time in five years that she will be going home during Christmas.

She says, if it was not for her best friend’s wedding she would have preferred to spend the holidays here in the U.S.

“The reason being is that I don’t like crowds very much,” said Neff. “Also, the traffic time is double and I’m just not just a big fan of all of that.”

With the recent bullet scam, these travelers are also taking extra precautions with their luggage.

“I made sure it is well taped – my packages and also my hand carry,” said Cecilia. “I’ll make sure it’s locked.”

“Some people saran wrap it and I’ll probably going to have to do that too,” said Neff.

And although the recent terror attacks are of great concern, these travelers believe they will be safe.

“With the laglag bala and then everything that’s happening around the world like in Paris and Berlin and all of that of course I’m worried but at the same time if something happens it happens,” said Neff.

“I’m praying that hopefully our travels will be safe,” said Cecilia.

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