But at my back I always hear…jingle bells jingle all the way

(Crown Regency, Circa Fall 2007)

It’s a relief to see everything familiar once again. My fortnight at Mulligan Boracay gave me the break I needed not to break away. And now that everything seems to be as it is, it’s actually not that bad. The broad, windy streets of Cebu. Old friends. Shu Uemura. The usual room at the Crown Regency hotel in Cebu. Bosses breathing down my neck. Ayala Center. Starbucks. Wait, in red cups? And WTF are they playing?

Starbucks at the Ayala Center in Cebu, Philippines

Starbucks at the Ayala Center in Cebu, Philippines All right. Not everything. Something is definitely off. I walked into Starbucks in Ayala Center Cebu and then it hit me. Gradually. Like I was walking into unfamiliar territory. First the flickering lights. Then the Jingle Bells in the sound system. And then my decaf tazo tea in a red cup! It took me halfway on my tea that the realization came to me. Christmas!

Pffttt. It’s that time of year once again when we’re supposed to be festive and cheerful. At least by Starbucks standards. Well, maybe we will. It doesn’t make any sense why we should deny ourselves that. But in November? When most of us are in the thick of things, trying to give our To-Do-List-From-Hell some semblance of success?

Those living in the Philippines know that there’s no escaping Christmas. So I will not berate myself for ever getting out of my seclusion at the fairways of the Mulligan hotel in Boracay. It will come. Depend on it. Whether we’re ready or not. But Gawd! It’s not a case of the retail world helping us celebrate. It’s about the retail world asking us to part with our money. Starting now. But, all right, I’ve got to admit that the eggnogg and gingerbread addition to their coffee is way.. great! and I’m so ready for that.

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