The Annual Filipino Christmas Shutdown

NEVER expect any work to get done in the Philippines during the last two weeks of December. It’s the Filipino Christmas Shutdown. The Philippines has the longest Christmas season in the world which begins in September, the first “Ber” month, and extends into the beginning of January with Three Kings’ Day. January 6. We have been waiting for an inspector from Guimelco, our so-called utility provider in Guimaras,  to check out my brother-in-law Joery’s handiwork at the nipa hut we are building for my father-in-law but it’s been an exercise in futility.

The Guimeleco inspector was scheduled to arrive last week. Joery was at the nipa hut waiting for him on the appointed day when my brother-in-law received a text message stating that it was the power company’s Annual Christmas Party. The reviewer NOW realizes he scheduled his inspection on the day of the Christmas Party? WTF?

Sexy Asian electrician

(A picture that deserves to be repeated. Happy New Year! Photo Source:  www.collegehumor.com  and NOT our Guimelco Inspector)

But my brother-in-law was assured that the Guimelco employee would arrive this Monday morning. Monday morning passes. No inspector. My asawa calls and is told that their man would arrive after lunch.

4:15 pm Monday, well after lunch, even for someone on “Filipino Time,” and still no inspector. I call.

“He will hopefully be there, sir” I am advised by the Filipina at the front desk.

“Hopefully?” I echoed, “hopefully, you say? Well, he canceled last week because of your Christmas party and we were told he would be there today, Monday morning. My wife called and was told your man would be there after lunch. And now you say ‘hopefully’ he will be there today. I hope you’re right.”

I knew I had a better chance of becoming the next Miss America then I had of that inspector showing up. 

I was right. Yesterday, Jose Rizal Day, another frickin’ Filipino holiday, and I knew no one would be at Guimelco. I sent the following text message:

“Is your inspector looking for a bribe? He does not show up 2x now. 5 years ago at our home in Inday Balbina we waited a month b4 a transformer we needed was installed. Our contractor had to pay a 1,000 peso bribe b4 the installer came. He came the day after the bribe was paid. Should I report this to the Daily Guardian?” (The Daily Guardian is published in nearby Iloilo City and I have submitted material to them  in the past which they have published.) Of course, no reply.

The Daily Guardian Iloilo

Photo Source: The Daily Guardian

I write this post now on Wednesday and my asawa has called our brother-in-law to see if Joery can go to Guimelco and find out what’s going on. Joery informs my spouse that the government has extended the holiday season now and has declared everything is shut down until January 5.

Why do I bother? The Filipino Christmas Shutdown. Coming to a barangay near you.


  • Derek

    Hi Dave , I forgot what I was going to say looking at that picture lol , any holiday in the Philippines don’t
    Expect any thing to happen soon,like you we said we have plenty of time, just keep telling yourself
    It’s more fun in the Philippines , Derek in pasig, wishing you and your family a happy new year .

    • Thanks, Derek, Happy New Year to you and yours. Yeah, it’s a good thing we have a lease on the farm that we currently live on until the end of October. We’re going to need the extra time, no doubt about it. (Glad you liked the picture. 😉 )

      • Well, the Crusty Old Expat will be spending a fairly quiet New Year’s Eve at “The Farm” with The Sainted Patient Wife and Lolo, my father-in-law, along with our niece, Shaina, and nephew, Sherwin. My asawa has prepared a noodle dish and Fiesta ham. No TV. Cignal Satellite is supposed to come around today (again) to fix our unit but who knows if and when they will arrive. Looks like it could be another night of karaoke. I think they are pissed because I emailed the main Cignal Office in Manila.

        Happy New to all of my faithful readers, new and old. I hope 2015 turns out to be a good one for you. Lots of stuff happening at “The Farm” as our new house (hopefully) will be built this year. Take care everyone and a sincere thanks for all of your support. Some of you have been hanging around for years. I appreciate that.

        I’m not hanging out at Camp Alfredo in Guimaras anymore on Wednesdays. Anyone that likes a cold beer and plenty of cow manure being shoveled around in the form of meaningless conversation, drop me a note here. I don’t discuss emotional, touchy-feely crap but if your boredom threshold is high and you’re in the area or planning to visit, give me a shout out. 🙄

  • Rease

    Hope your New Year goes well! At least on The Farm you shouldn’t be subject to too much firework noise. I have my custom fitted ear plugs issued by the USAF out of storage, cleaned and ready for the evening 🙂

    If you plan to be in Ilolo on Friday or any time from Monday on, I can pretty much meet you anywhere in Iloilo. I also have a new batch of pickles ready and sitting in the ref awaiting your call.

    We’re out for the night an likely up late since we can’t start eating the “13 Fruits” until after midnight. Should be fun, just woke from a nap in preparation.

    New Years will be celebrated with homemade cevite coffee icecubes in 20 years whiskey with friends. Yes, you heard correctly. That’s cat poop coffee icecubes in a whiskey pairing. Pictures will come later 🙂

    • Well we had a last minute change of plans, Rease. Our niece, Michelle, called from “The Compound,” Melinda’s other property in Guimaras, and invited us over for New Year’s. We packed Lolo into a trike and headed down the road. Started to rain when our brother-in-law lit his fireworks and far, far quieter than when we lived in Savannah Subdivision in Iloilo.

      We have some business to take care of in Guimaras on Friday. I’m all out of pickles but will have to check with Melinda to see when will be back to The Big City. Thanks for the pickles and I hope you enjoyed that whiskey and cat poop coffee. 😉

  • Tom Collins

    Time to drink Dave!
    Heading to Orlando to find my groove.
    Munchies will be involved. Farout man!
    Time to relive some of the glory days.
    Live long and prosper and remember patience is a virtue big dawg.
    T Cat =)

    • Happy New Year, Tom Cat! Man, I could use some new drinking buds. The meetings at Camp Alfredo are over. I have to go to Iloilo to hoist a few with Rease sometime. Dawg, I’m back in the States for most of the month of February. Maybe I could make a side trip to Florida. Hmmmmmm.

      Have fun in Orlando. Yeah, you’d think after over five years in the Philippines I would have learned to be more patient, but I’m still a work in progress.

      • Rease, I just shot off a email to Tom Cat. I will be in Vegas for three weeks in February. A side trip to visit TC would be sweet.

        Rease, I’ve made a rare executive decision. Melinda and I will be in Iloilo City this coming Monday. We are meeting with a lawyer to check on a title transfer on our property. Would a 11:00 am meeting at that burger joint you like across from SM Delgado work for you? Maybe you could steer me to their best burger. Let me know, thanks.

  • wayne

    Happy New Year Dave,Thanks for this post it brought back a lot of memories when I lived in the Subic area,gave me a few laughs thinking the same things I went threw,didnt seem as funny back then.Any way Dave keep a smile on your face and go with the flow.

  • Papaduck

    I know what you mean about the holidays. They should have just gave them the whole week off. We went to a friends for New Years Eve. Everybody and there brother was shooting off fireworks. Drank too much wine and than came home and sang a little kareoke. I see you guys got hit pretty good by the Tropical Storm. Hope you have a Happy New Year.

    • Not too many fireworks, Papa Duck, and everything was over by 1 am. NoNo had to go to a late Christmas party so he picked us up at “The Compound” at 1 am. Even on New Year’s Eve the streets were already rolled up and I had not even consumed one adult beverage. I struggled to stay awake but we had a good time.
      Happy New Year. Regards to Anne. Take care.

  • scott h

    Well COE (crusty ole expat–seeing the Filipino love for acronyms lol) I know the coming year will be exciting and give you plenty of food for articles,,,having built a house, I am looking forward to sitting back and reading about all your “adventures”. Happy New Year 🙂

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