MANILA -- "Thank you. Thank you. Ang babait ninyo, thank you!" Sounds familiar?

Every Christmas season, kids and adults alike go door to door, belting out Christmas carols -- "Jingle Bells", "Silent Night", and “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” are among the popular ones -- hoping to get in return an "aguinaldo" of candies, chocolates, or cash.

There are those who sing a capella or to the accompaniment of a guitar, tambourine, or any improvised musical instrument. 

Caroling used to be simple. These days, however, caroling includes choreography, costumes and props.

Indeed, this Filipino tradition has evolved in many ways. Want to enjoy the music of carolers as they wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year? Here's where you can catch them.

1. In offices

The simplest kind of caroling could well be the one where carolers go house hopping. These days, include office hopping as well. Usually, carolers inform the office staff the date and time they would arrive. The office management then prepares an envelope for them.


In my previous work, one family went to the office every year. I've never heard them sing, but the kids danced to several song numbers. The employees were able to watch them because the family went there during the office's Kids Party.

2. In hotels

No solicitation is involved here. Hotels around Metro Manila often hire a choir to serenade guests every Christmas season, especially on Christmas day.

There's a choir at the lobby of Solaire Hotel in Manila every December 25. Some hotels even hire OPM singers to croon as guests enjoy their Christmas dinner.

The Manila Peninsula in Makati, for instance, presented its annual benefit Christmas concert at the lobby last Dec. 10, featuring no less than the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and singer Celeste Legaspi.

In Club Balai Isabel in Batangas, diners will be serenaded with Christmas carols at the Lakeshore buffet on December 24. The buffet rate is PHP1,200 per head. 

3. Inside buses/jeepneys

Every December in Cavite, many individuals carrying a lapel microphone and a mini stereo would ride a bus, sing a Christmas song, and hand envelopes to passengers.

In Manila, on the other hand, street kids clamber up jeepneys, hand envelopes to the passengers and sing a Christmas carol. Most of these kids carry drums and shakers made of cans.


4. In restaurants

There are people who go to restaurants to sing. I've seen a group of four, armed with a guitar and a violin. That group didn't sing any Christmas song but they still caught the attention of the diners at a pizza house through their good choice of songs and performances.

The Carnival Food Park in Marikina City will hold a Christmas concert at 6 p.m. on December 16. Admission is free. 

5. Along the streets/parks

Then there are those who perform where the crowds are. Street carolers include differently abled persons singing in train stations and outside the church. 

If you're looking for free performances, you may opt to go to the World Bazaar Festival at the World Trade Center as various celebrities and bands render some song numbers to entertain shoppers. 

The World Bazaar is open until December 22. (PNA)