For Filipinos, each festivity is incomplete without music being played during the celebrations. And on Christmas seasons, as early as October, you can already hear lots of Christmas carols being played everywhere --- in radio stations, malls, etc.
And on December 16, as the same date for the start of “simbang gabi”, children and other carolers already start doing “carolings.” For, it is the official start of it.
“Caroling” is the term used for going house-to-house or place-to-place and singing Christmas songs, and waiting expectantly to be rewarded with some amount of money.
It is now often done, by a group of people who belong to the same organizations to served as their fundraising activity for their goodly projects --- such as to help and give happiness to street children, less fortunate people and the like --- just like what churches and other religious groups often do.
But traditionally, it is a group of kids who do the house-to-house caroling every night, with the purpose of dividing their profits equally to each member every after the caroling. In order for them, to be able to save money to buy whatever toys or other stuffs they like to buy for themselves on Christmas.
Usually, one to two weeks before the start of the caroling, kids who would like to do the caroling already start preparing their handmade musical instruments such as tambourine made out of tanzan and their tin cans (lata) which serves as their drums. They also start memorizing or practicing all the Christmas songs that they’ll be singing when they go house-to-house.
And during the caroling itself, before they start singing Christmas carols, you will hear them say, “Magandang umaga/magandang gabi po. Namamasko lang po!” Then they will start singing the easiest and most known Christmas carols for kids, such as: “Sa May Bahay”, “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, “Joy to the World”, “Mano po Ninang, Mano po Ninong” and the one with the line --- “Sa paskong darating, santa claus nyo’y ako rin. Kaya’t kayong lahat ay maging masunurin…” --- I forgot its title (hehe!).
Funny thing about kids doing the caroling is that they don’t care if they sing it out of tune or if they missed a lyric or they just don’t know the correct lyrics itself. They don’t feel ashamed, they just didn’t mind. For them, what important is that at the end of their song or caroling, they'll be rewarded with some "aguinaldo" (coins or peso bills). Then after being rewarded, they’ll thank you by singing --- “Thank you, thank you, ang babait ninyo, thank you!” But otherwise, if you don’t give them some coins or totally didn’t allow them to do their carolings in your house by saying “patawad” (which I think is equivalent to saying ‘sorry’ or 'pass’), then other naughty kids will sing you, “thank you, thank you, ang babarat ninyo, thank you!” (which is equivalent to, “you, being selfish or unkind”…hehe ;p )
Oh, how I missed my childhood days wherein I joined my friends doing our house-to-house carolings and also did those naughty things sometimes (only if not being rewarded, haha!). But I just did it only thrice, though. Coz I’m kinda shy when it comes to doing it. Nyahaha :))
Now, it’s 3 more days to go before the simbang gabi and the carolings. I’m already excited to see kids knocking in our house saying, “Namamasko lang po!” then singing us christmas carols. Then at the end of their songs (after doing their efforts and all) I’ll just tell them, “patawad” --- wondering how they would react to that. (LOLz. I’m just kidding. Hehe)