Filipino Christmas: Christmas Through the Eyes of an Emirati-Filipino
Emirati-Filipino Fahed Al Baloushi aka the “Emaratino” has always been exposed to the duality of Filipino and Emarati culture throughout his whole life. He continues to discover and learn more about both his roots through his travels and interactions with the community. Here, he shares his experience and the insights he has gained from the recent Filipino Christmas celebration hosted by Philippine Ambassador to the UAE H.E. Hjayceeelyn M. Quintana and the Bayanihan Council in Abu Dhabi.
How did you feel witnessing the Paskong Filipino event in Abu Dhabi?
First of all I’d like to extend my greetings to the Ambassador and the Bayanihan Council for the great opportunity to attend the and event. And second I would like to say thank you. I felt like I was in the Philippines. The community has made such a remarkable event to be remembered. I have never seen such gatherings with all the representatives of schools , families, and nationalities come together. It was absolutely overwhelming and enjoyable!
What understanding did you gain about the Filipino people from your experience with them?
Filipinos are such a happy people regardless of everything in this world. They could literally turn any simple situation into a happy moment. I’ve encountered such situations many times in my life, and the most recent one, was the Pinoy Pasko 2018 in Abu Dhabi. You can only imagine how important Christmas event are to Pinoys. Despite their families being across the world, they still gather all together with their friends overseas and celebrate it with happiness and pride.
How was it like for you growing up Emirati-Filipino?
My father is from Abu Dhabi and my mother is from Pangasinan. The rewarding moment of being mixed is that I am able to understand and embrace both cultures fully. Although growing up in biracial family may be different from most situations, you would realize over time how much of a blessing it can be. I remember as a kid, I would communicate in Arabic with all my Arab friends but when I speak to all my kabayan friends, I would switch to Tagalog. These skills, for me, have become an advantage in the case of sending out a message, raising awareness and even spreading love and equality.
What Filipino nuances/values do you identify with the most? How about Emirati? How do you balance both cultures in your life?
The Filipino value that I identify the most would be social behavior in terms of being very welcoming and happy. Once you realize that you have two cultures together you’d look on the bright side and spread the happiness in the same way it was given to you. For a reference, the bridge created between what I do as an Emaratino is to show people that, despite our differences, our best values can always be shared together.
What is your message for Filipinos and Emiratis alike during this season of giving?
For the Filipinos, I would like to say, Maligayan Pasko! And happy holidays to my Lola, family and friends in the Philippines. May god bless you with health and more happiness. For the Emaratis, I would say “ Shukran” for all the guidance and the support from my culture, friends and loved ones. I will continue to give my best in representing both cultures to the max!
Stay blessed and positive, “ Stay astig and all the way pwede!”
Fahed Al Baloushi is an Emirati-Filipino blogger who learns about his culture through his travels and experiences with the Filipino and Emarati communities. His motto is: “Stay astig, all the way pwede!”
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