In the Christmas story, there were three wise men-slash-magi who rode off to Bethlehem on their pet camels, bringing with them gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts for Jesus when he was born. How thoughtful! Giving away gold as Christmas gift?!
These days, bringing a camel-load of gold across the border is close to impossible. The camel will be able to clear customs. But the gold won’t. Ha-ha-ha!
I was thinking that perhaps, the three magi thought that gold, as a valuable commodity of exchange, would be useful as a start-up capital for Jesus’ parents. His dad could expand his carpentry shop, while his mom could open a small hair salon and make her win more friends. (There was gossip in her neighborhood on why she was marrying a carpenter, by the way).
But what about the frankincense and myrrh? Well, the magi, wise as they were, thought that the family could use these to fumigate the manger and deodorize the smell of sheep, cows and, of course, the shepherds. The manger wasn’t exactly a bed-and-breakfast inn; it had no working toilet, nor a shower with hot water!
Although I am not as lucky as the Jesus’ family, I have friends who bring and send me the next best thing to gold: Goodies from home!
I don’t exactly crave for things I enjoy when I’m back home in the Philippines, but I enjoy the thoughtfulness of friends who send them over.
From ensaimadas, cheese rolls, fruit cakes, hopia, Manila t-shirts, dulce gatas, buko pie, ube jam, garlic chips, polvoron, dried mangoes, dulong, bibingka and even slippers(!), my friends brought these on their already heavy luggage carried by their camels from Manila.
And other friends living in Hong Kong, Austria, US, Singapore, Italy and Australia (did I miss someone in the list?) have sent me moon cakes, chocolates, wine, panecotta and Timtams, too!
I’m not so sure if I would actually enjoy some gold bars if a friend brings me some. But I guess the Korean customs would. Ha-ha-ha!
But royalty or not, my friends are like these wise men, thoughtful and generous. And I always make sure I thank them by returning the favor by bringing with me (and sometimes sending over) goodies from Korea and turning myself, too, into a magus… without a camel!
As bringing pasalubong (presents) is a part of the Filipino culture, I guess, we are all in a way like those three wise men. But instead of packing precious metals and incense, we bring the yummiest gifts our friends and family would enjoy!