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'Namamasko po': Reliving the Christmas carolling tradition

Connect City Church in Melbourne will stage “Carols by Connect” for nearby communities in the Northern suburb. Source: Connect City Church

Inspired by the Christmas carolling tradition, Christian church volunteers have put together a Christmas carols show as a way of giving back to the community.

Buddy Abadilla still remembers his first Christmas carolling experience in the Philippines.

"Before the actual Christmas, my friends and I go to Project 3 (Quezon City, Manila). We go from house to house, my friends will sing while I play the guitar. Homeowners would give us one peso. It already made us so happy," he shares.

For some, it’s about receiving aguinaldo or cash gift. For others, it’s about the fun and the excitement of going to different houses, singing Christmas songs with friends, while using handmade musical instruments. But for married couple Buddy and Tess Abadilla, it's about bringing light and hope through carols.

Mr and Mrs Abadilla have been migrants in Australia for more than 30 years now, and although they have spent most of their Christmas in the place they now call home, for them, nothing beats Christmas in the Philippines.

"Normally in the Philippines, when its Ber month, it's already Christmas. The excitement builds up for several months until the actual Christmas day. I think the gathering of families and friends during Christmas is so important for Filipinos," says Mrs Tess Abadilla.

Mr and Mrs Abadilla have been migrants in Australia for more than 30 years now.
Mr and Mrs Abadilla have been migrants in Australia for more than 30 years now.
Connect City Church

'Namamasko po!'

Christmas carolling is a tradition in the Philippines where a group of kids or even adults go house to house to serenade homeowners with Christmas songs. In return, homeowners will give them money or food.

Inspired by the Christmas tradition, Connect City Church volunteers have put together a Christmas carols show as a way of giving back to the community.

And while they seek to relive the tradition through the show, Mrs Abadilla says it is also a way of reaching out to people who are lonely this yuletide season.

“Some people are sad and feeling hopeless this Christmas. As a church, this is our way of bringing hope and joy to the community."

The members and volunteers of the organisation have lined up different activities and performances free to enjoy by the multicultural community.
The members and volunteers of the organisation have lined up different activities and performances free to enjoy by the multicultural community.
Connect City Church/SBS Filipino

Mr Abadilla says that the members and volunteers of their organisation have lined up different activities and performances free to enjoy by the multicultural community. Thus, urging them to come and bring their whole family.

"There will be face painting, carnival games and photo booth for the kids at 4:00 PM. Christmas carols, nativity play and performances at 5:30 PM on the 15th of December, Sunday. The best part is we also have food to share for everyone" says the couple.

And while Christmas is the best time to gather and exchange gifts with family and friends, they are encouraging the community to remember the true reason for the season.

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