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Live Abroad

Dec 22, 2005
Christmas in the Philippines
- Atty. Michael Gurfinkel Email this article

Recently, I went to the Philippines to tape some episodes of the TFC immigration talk show, Citizen Pinoy.  During the taping of Citizen Pinoy, I was touched by the audience’s participation and enthusiasm.  Filipinos came all the way from Bicol, Mindoro, Dagupan, and lined up as early as 5:30 am, waiting in line for several hours, just to be able to narrate their situations or seek answers to their immigration questions. 


While I was in Manila, I was also able to experience the Filipino way of celebrating the holiday season.  The coming of the “ber” months (September, October, November, December) signals the start of the holiday season.  Even though it was only early November, Christmas carols are played on all radio stations.  Stores are decorated with various holiday themes, and the malls are full of early holiday shoppers.  Many  “barangays” were already beaming with Christmas lights and huge lanterns (“parols”).  The “parols” made of bamboos and shells along Vito Cruz in Makati, and Gilmore in Mandaluyong, were especially beautiful.  In fact, I bought several parols, which are now hanging in my office.  I am sure most Filipinos feel homesick at the sight of those flashing parols. 


Christmas is celebrated by every Filipino wherever he may be.  The feeling of homesickness and nostalgia are felt more during the Christmas season by those who are away from the Philippines and their families.


My heart goes out to those of you who, because of your immigration problems, are away from your family at this time of the year, and cannot leave the U.S. to even visit them.  I know how much you want to be with your family, to spend the holidays in the Philippines.  That is why it is truly rewarding for me when I am able to help a client legalize his status.  Almost, without exception, their first thoughts are to spend Christmas with their family.  The media noche or noche buena, simbang gabi and the magnificent street fireworks on New Year’s Eve are the things that make the Filipino Holiday season truly unforgettable and remarkable. 


As the year comes to an end, I continue my commitment to you and your family – “To Help you make your American Dream come true and Bring your family together”.


On behalf of my Filipina wife, Millie, and my staff, “MALIGAYANG PASKO AND MASAGANANG BAGONG TAON SA INYONG LAHAT”.



Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 25 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  He has always excelled in school:  Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California. 



Four offices to serve you:

LOS ANGELES: 219 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, California, 91203 Telephone: (818) 543-5800 

SAN FRANCISCO: 601 Gateway Boulevard, Suite 460, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Telephone: (650) 827-7888

NEW YORK: 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 2101, New York, NY 10165 Telephone: (212) 808-0300

PHILIPPINES: Heart Tower, Unit 701, 108 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati, Philippines 1227Telephone: 894-0258 or 894-0239


(This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm's opinions and views on general issues.  Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar.  No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case.  Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)

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