The cool morning air, the ring of bells and the smell of puto bumbong and bibingka wafting outside the church—these add to the nostalgic experience of Simbang Gabi.
One of the longest and most popular Christmas traditions in the country, the Simbang Gabi is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother that starts on December 16 early morning and culminates with a midnight mass on December 24.
It is said that its roots began in Mexico in 1587, where the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, to hold Christmas mass outdoors since the Church could not accommodate the many people attending the evening mass.
For years past, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has been observing this tradition and will continue to do in this year’s Christmas season. CCP will hold a Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi from December 16 to 24 at the CCP Main Ramp from 5 a.m.
A Misa de Aguinaldo will culminate on December 24 at the CCP Main Theater at 8 p.m. with participation from the center’s resident companies and guest choirs. A pre-mass performance will be staged at the Main Theater at 6:30pm.
The Simbang Gabi at the CCP is held in cooperation with The Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, with various agencies such as the Philippine Navy, Manila Broadcasting Company, Star Parks Corporation, Harbour Square, Amazing Philippine Theater, Gloriamaris Restaurant, Design Center of the Philippines, Ticketworld, Inc., Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Senate Spouses Foundation, and the CCP Complex Employees’ Organization (CCPCEO) participating as sponsors/hermanas.