The Philippines is said to celebrate the world's longest Christmas season, with the "Christmas bug" biting Filipinos as early as October or September.
Misa de Gallo, special masses celebrating the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, are held starting nine days before Christmas Day.
Also known as Simbang gabi, these masses begin as early as four in the morning. Going to mass this early for nine consecutive days is meant to show the churchgoer's devotion to his faith and heighten anticipation for the Nativity of the Lord.
Most Filipinos celebrate Christmas Eve with the noche buena, the traditional Christmas feast after the midnight mass. Here, families dine together on traditional noche Buena fare, which includes the queso de bola (ball of Dutch edam cheese) and special hamon (Christmas ham).