Professor Ambeth R. Ocampo Lectures On “Christmas In The Philippines” At PH Ambassador’s Residence

Professor Ambeth R. Ocampo delivering a lecture at the Philippine Ambassador’s residence on “Christmas in the Philippines”

On 3 December 2012, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez and Mme. Maria Teresa L. Lopez hosted a cultural event for the Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) of Japan entitled “A Filipino Christmas in Tokyo.” Held at the historic residence of the Philippine Ambassador in Tokyo’s Kudan district, a total of 89 guests attended consisting of spouses of ambassadors, representatives from various embassies and ALFS members.

Ambassador Lopez delivered the welcome remarks, briefing the guests on the history of the residence, which was built by Baron Yasuda, founder of the Fuji group of companies and grandfather of Yoko Ono Lennon. After noting that Christmas is the most important holiday in the Philippines, the Ambassador introduced renowned Filipino historian, journalist and author Ambeth R. Ocampo, who is currently a Visiting Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Professor Ocampo’s lecture on “Christmas in the Philippines” was the highlight of the event. He started by explaining how the Philippines became a predominantly Christian country, after which he discussed various influences from Asia during the Spanish colonial period. Professor Ocampo subsequently explained how the colonial Spanish cultural milieu shaped Christmas traditions in the Philippines today. The guests expressed keen interest on his description of Filipino Christmas traditions such as the Simbang Gabi, Noche Buena, the giving of aguinaldo to children, Panunuluyan, and the hanging of parol in Filipino homes.

After the lecture, the guests sampled various Filipino delicacies while listening to a rondalla perform Christmas carols.