liliw christmas tradition-2

Liliw Laguna’s Unique Aguinaldo Christmas Tradition

The Philippines is so big with 7000+ islands scattered across the archipelago that there are bound to be traditions unique to an island, province, and town. Liliw in Laguna has one such unique Christmas tradition that kids will love and will look forward to during Christmas day. 

May kakaibang tradisyon ba sa bayan niyo tuwing Pasko? Share kayo! 

Nestled at the foot of the majestic mountain, Mt Banahaw, Liliw is a lovely town blessed with cool climate especially when the holiday season rolls-in.  This town is also home to the picturesque, centuries-old stone church built and named in honor of St John The Baptist, the town’s patron saint. 

liliw church st john the baptist parish
Liliw Church

It is in Liliw’s St John The Baptist Parish where this unique Christmas tradition will start. On December 25, kids in Liliw gets up early excited for the promise of Christmas Day. 

Together with their families, they will troop to the church, wearing their Christmas best, new dress or new shoes or both. Nakapang-malakasan, ika nga. The kids will also be bringing something special with them. The girls will usually bring a sling bag or a shoulder bag. The boys will have wallets or pouches safely tucked in their pockets. They would hear the 8 AM mass and when the mass ends, excited chatter will soon ensue among the kids, still in the church, but raring to go out. 

Friends will find each other, cousins will get together with cousins, the smaller ones will stay with their older siblings, barkadahans will organize. They are now ready for Liliw’s aguinaldo Christmas tradition.  

Magbabahay-bahay ang mga bata sa Liliw para humingi ng aguinaldo.  

namamasko po
Mga batang namamasko sa bayan ng Liliw, Laguna

The kids will go around town, knocking on the doors of the houses that they will pass. They can knock on anybody’s door even if they don’t know the residents inside and ask for aguinaldo. This is done with joy in their hearts. 

Now, on the part of the adults, they welcome the kids. They look forward to giving the kids money gifts. They know that on this day, the kids ay “mamamasko”.  So adult Liliwenos will usually prepare mounts of coins – 1 peso, 5 pesos, 10 pesos, plus small bills.  

Weeks before Christmas day, Liliwenos usually will go to the bank or stores to exchange some bills for coins, in preparation for this Pasko tradition sa bayan nila.  

liliw christmas tradition
Pasko tradisyon sa Liliw, Laguna

Some parent/s will accompany the very young ones, infants and toddlers sa pamamasko. Usually, the parents will only bring the small kids to the houses of their relatives and godparents. This tradition also foster closer ties since the pamamasko can instantly turn into a happy reunion.   

When the kids grow-up, they will go around Liliw, solo or with friends. And when they knock on a door, they tend to know if the resident is a Tita, Tito, Ninong, Ninang, Lolo, Lola, just because their moms and dads brought them there on previous Christmases.

Usually if the house belongs to a relative, mas malaki sa piso or limang piso ang ibibigay. 🙂 

What Aguinaldo Will The Kids Get?

Masaya na ang mga bata makakuha ng piso, because they know one peso can pile up soon enough after visiting houses on just one street. How much more aguinaldo can they get if they will go through the entire town center?  

Oh, their bags and wallets? Their aguinaldos goes in there, safe and getting heavier as the day progress. 🙂 

It is not always coins that they will get, because usually if they will knock on a relative’s door, they will get bigger aguinaldo. Some are extra lucky to be getting crispy new bills. Nice!

If they will knock on the houses of their ninongs and ninangs, they will usually get the customary wrapped Christmas gift or aguinaldo. Yeyyy! 

aguinaldo pasko
Bisita at mamamasko sa mga kamag-anak

This Christmas tradition is so popular that the streets will be filled with children of all ages, happily and excitedly going house to house, or congregating, counting how much they’ve got so far. Even some kids from nearby towns like Majayjay and Magdalena will visit Liliw on December 25 to also join in this unique Christmas tradition. 

Usually the pamamasko ends mid-afternoon, because after this tradition, the kids are expected to go home and be with their families, enjoying Christmas. Some kids will give most of their aguinaldos to their parents, for safekeeping or for use for school. But they will retain some to buy candies and treats. 

My husband is a proud Liliweno, he has regaled me with stories after stories about their pamamasko. I wish we have this same tradition in Cebu when I was growing up but alas, this Christmas tradition is unique to Liliw. But it’s okay, I still got to experience this as an adult waiting with our doors wide open, for the kids na namamasko.  

It’s priceless to see the smiling kids, really thankful as they say “Merry Christmas po, thank you.”. 

P.s. another uniqueness of Christmas in Liliw is that one barangay, Brgy Calumpang, celebrates Christmas Day in January 6, in time for the Feast of the 3 Kings, instead of December 25. 🙂