December 08, 2012

Silent Hal-le-lu-jahs……or is it the Hal-le-jah-lus?

As you all know, Christmas in Philippines is a BIG deal! We hear carols in September, every building…even the ‘dancing’ bars and casinos have large (sometimes life size) Nativities displayed. Of course you feel that Christmas Spirit at work. Friday we had a few of the most fun Christmas celebrations that I have been to.  One was a Section wide party and another in the evening with my small Unit family.

We have a large party every year with the Section. Each of the four Units put on a presentation to compete as the representatives for the Section in the Mission party. Last year the group that one was AMAZING…choreographed and everything. This year everyone knew there was a bar that had to be matched or beat!

The first group to present did “Santa’s Bling Christmas Store” with a combination of dancing, narrating and of course some Gangnam Style PSY moves presented themselves. The crowd was hysterical by the end of their performance. That set the mood for the rest of the day. I am not sure that I had ear drums as I walked out of the room…one of my colleagues, that must not have enjoyed it as much said as we walked out, “I need to find a nice quiet room to relax for awhile…” Being a TOTAL extrovert I could not empathize the whole experience had me WIRED with energy!

The next group started out with an acapella number, there is one thing about Filipinos, they are not afraid to sing. We have seen it on the streets, at church, at group gatherings, and now at work. Then ripped of the Cathedral Choral attire to reveal their true identities... they too broke out their BLING for a choreographed rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” complete with flashing lights and paper machete cannons (I am glad I was not the one to clean up after the mess).

The Judges

The Critics

The group that won last year, did not disappoint this year…although it was not really Christmas-y it was a fine tuned program with several dance groups taking the stage at different times.

Memzmorized by the dancers...LOL

The final group was my Unit. We worked SO hard on our performance. It took some time because there was always someone missing for each practice and our performance took precision. He used an idea that is popular on YouTube (yes, unlike our three companion Units, we lost on the originality points, but it was still fun) and we adapted it. We were the Silent Men and Women in Black Choir performing “Hallelujah.” As the song was sung (Mp3) we each had a card with one of the words and as they sang our word we showed our card. Sounds easy, right?! That is what we thought until we practiced the first time…

I borrowed Lady Hiva's "Paris Hilton" glasses because I don't own Sunglasses

Timing is everything and since the audience can hear the words, they KNOW when you mess up. We practiced again and again to get it right. Many practices ended in laughter so hard our eyes watered. It became a running joke that the word was not, Hal-le-lu-jah but Hal-le-jah-lu because the end guy would always put up his “jah” card before the “lu” card had been raised. The crowd seemed to like it, even though we did not have the flashing lights or Gangnam Bling

In between the performances there were games. They were pretty intense. One of the games each team was given a box of trash and they had to create in outfit in 5 minutes for a runway model. It was hilarious to see them work hard and then see the finished product. The room was reverberating with screams as the “models” walked the runway…

Luckily one of our group members filmed our performance and at the end of the day we all gathered in a small room and watched it—twice. We laughed SO HARD at ourselves. People showing cards accidentally before they were supposed to…other people not showing their cards at all and even the wrong words—no wonder the crowd was laughing/cheering for us. We all laughed so hard that my cheeks hurt by the time we saw it for the second time around. That to me was the best part of the day.

The whole experience was to bring us closer as a Section and it did that, but as I watched my little crew laugh together, just for a moment we were all on the same team. No stress, no drama over our differences, just us. US. It was a sweet moment.
In the evening Lady Hiva party hopped, we went to our Ward Party for a few minutes, dropped off some cake and left with a promise to come back. Lady Hiva went to her work party and I went to mine in hotels right across from each other. Again we had a good laugh and were able to meet some of our colleagues spouses. Good times. Lady Hiva said that she enjoyed her party too. Although we still have a few months left here in Manila, we realized that we are really going to miss everyone when we leave. They treat us like family. HAL-LE-JAH-LU!!!

Here is a link to the video:

2012 CONS FPU Manila Silent Halelujahs


  1. Great recap of a very fun day! Congrats to all of us. :) I'm really proud of my team but I was really rooting for you guys. Your performance was very entertaining. From beginning until the end, tawa kami ng tawa. :)

    - Judie