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Art & Culture

Embracing Solitude: Making the Most of the Ber-Months Alone

Embracing Solitude: Making the Most of the Ber-Months Alone


Ah, spending the “ber-months alone” in the Philippines is truly unique! The moment September 1st rolls around, the entire archipelago dives headfirst into Christmas festivities. Seriously, where else on the globe can you catch the tunes of Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts” echoing through malls and jeepneys right from the start of September? Nowhere but in Pinas, mga kaibigan!

Now, let’s get real for a sec. Not everyone’s surrounded by a horde of titos and titas, inaanaks, and that one random cousin who only shows up during the holidays to eat your lechon. Some of us are riding solo during these festive months. And hey, that’s totally cool! Who needs unsolicited life advice from relatives anyway? “O, ikaw, kailan ka mag-aasawa?” Ugh, pass.

But here’s the thing: spending the “ber-months” alone doesn’t mean spending them feeling lonely. Nope, not on my watch! It’s all about finding that silver lining, that sparkle, that kilig in solitude. It’s the perfect time to dive deep into what makes you tick, to discover new passions, or simply to binge-watch that teleserye without anyone judging you. So, buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey of self-discovery, productivity, and a whole lot of fun – all while flying solo this Christmas season. Tara, G?

Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

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Alright, mga bes, let’s get down to business. No, I’m not talking about defeating the Huns (though that’s a catchy tune). I’m talking about diving deep into the abyss of our souls. Chos! But seriously, the “ber-months” are the perfect time to reflect, grow, and maybe, just maybe, become the next big thing since sliced pan de sal. So, how do we do it? Let’s break it down!

You might want to pick up this book: “The Road Less Traveled: The Psychology of Spiritual Growth” by M. Scott Peck.

Journaling: Documenting thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.

Ever had that moment where your brain feels like it’s on beast mode and you’ve got thoughts whizzing around like tricycles in Manila traffic? Grab a journal and start writing! It’s therapeutic, it’s enlightening, and who knows, baka you’ll discover you’re the next Lualhati Bautista. Write down your dreams, your hugots, and everything in between. It’s your world, and we’re just living in it.

Read next: Filipino Christmas: The Magic of the ‘Ber-Months’ and Time-Honored Traditions

Setting goals for the upcoming year.

New year, new me? More like, new year, better me! Let’s ditch those vague resolutions like “I’ll eat healthier” and get specific. Gusto mo bang magkaroon ng abs by March? Or maybe start a business selling homemade atchara? Write those goals down, make a plan, and go get ’em, tiger!

Reading self-help and motivational books.

Okay, I get it. The words “self-help” might make you think of cheesy quotes and stock photos of sunsets. But trust me, there are some gems out there that can genuinely change your life. Whether it’s getting tips from Marie Kondo on tidying up your condo or learning the subtle art of not giving a bleep, there’s a book out there that’s got your name on it. So, grab a cup of tsokolate, snuggle up, and get reading!

Taking online courses or attending webinars.

Who said learning stops after school? The internet is a goldmine of knowledge, and it’s time to strike it rich! Whether you want to learn how to bake the perfect bibingka or master the art of digital marketing, there’s a course or webinar out there for you. And the best part? Pwede kang mag-attend habang naka-pajama. Win-win!

Cultivating New Hobbies and Skills during’ber-months alone’

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Ehem, ehem! Time to channel our inner Don Juan and serenade our passions. Or maybe just serenade our plants. Either way, the “ber-months” are the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or skill. After all, who doesn’t want to be that cool tito or tita at the family reunion who can play the ukulele, whip up a mean kare-kare, and breakdance? Oo, ikaw ‘yun!

Read next: Ultimate Noche Buena Feast: 13 Essential Filipino Delights for a Memorable Christmas Celebration

Learning a new instrument or enhancing musical skills.

Ever dreamed of playing “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” on the guitar or maybe belting out “All I Want for Christmas Is You” while playing the keyboard? Now’s your chance! Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned musician, there’s always room for improvement. And hey, if all else fails, there’s always the tambourine. Rak na ituuu!

Taking up arts and crafts like painting, knitting, or pottery.

Unleash your inner artiste! Whether it’s creating a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre (or at least your lola’s living room) or knitting a scarf that’s more hugot than fabric, the world is your canvas. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, why not try pottery? Just imagine creating your own mug for that morning kapeng barako. Artsy-fartsy mode: ON!

Exploring culinary arts: Trying out Filipino Christmas recipes.

Food is life, but Filipino Christmas food? That’s heaven, mga kaibigan! From puto bumbong to bibingka, the possibilities are endless. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not put your own twist on classic recipes? Adobo with a touch of chocolate? Baka naman! Just remember, taste test muna before serving to the fam. Safety first!

Engaging in physical activities: Yoga, home workouts, or dance.

Let’s face it, with all the holiday feasting, we might need to burn off a few (or a lot of) calories. Whether you’re into zenning out with yoga, sweating it out with home workouts, or shaking that booty with dance, there’s a workout for you. And the best part? No need to brave the Manila traffic to get to the gym. Just roll out of bed, and you’re good to go!

Digital Connection and Virtual Celebrations

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Alright, mga kababayan, let’s get digital! ???? In this age of technology, who says you need to be physically present to feel the holiday spirit? With a stable Wi-Fi connection (sana all) and a bit of creativity, we can bring the “ber-months” festivities straight to our screens. So, grab your gadgets, and let’s get this virtual party started!

Hosting virtual “ber-months” parties with friends and family.

Miss the good ol’ karaoke sessions with the barkada or the never-ending chismisan with the titas of Manila? Fear not! With apps like Zoom and Google Meet, you can host your very own virtual “ber-months” bash. Just make sure to mute your mic during those high notes, okay? Birit pa more!

Watching Christmas movies or series together online.

Nothing screams Christmas like cuddling up with a cup of hot tsokolate and binge-watching holiday flicks. And thanks to platforms like Netflix Party, you can watch and chat with your loved ones in real-time. From tear-jerking dramas to kilig rom-coms, there’s something for everyone. Pass the popcorn and tissues, please!

Read next: Unwrapped! Top Christmas Gift Ideas for 2023 You Can’t Afford to Miss!

Sharing recipes and having a virtual cook-off.

Channel your inner MasterChef and challenge your friends to a virtual cook-off! Share your secret adobo recipe, or better yet, create a new dish together. Who knows, you might just discover the next big Filipino Christmas delicacy. Lechon with a side of… chocolate? Abangan!

Participating in online community events or charity drives.

‘Tis the season of giving, after all! Join online charity drives or community events to spread the love and holiday cheer. Whether it’s donating to a cause, attending a virtual concert for a cause, or simply sharing resources online, every little bit helps. Remember, it’s not about how much you give, but the love and puso behind it.

Giving Back and Spreading Joy

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Alright, mga mahal, let’s get into the real essence of the “ber-months” – giving back and spreading all that good, fuzzy, warm-and-fuzzy kind of joy. Because let’s be honest, while receiving gifts is sarap to the bones, giving is where the real magic happens. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, put on our Santa hats, and get into the spirit of giving – Pinoy style!

Organizing or participating in online charity drives.

In the age of social media, organizing a charity drive is as easy as posting a cute selfie. Well, almost. Rally your online barkada, pick a cause close to your heart, and start spreading the word. Whether it’s raising funds for typhoon victims or collecting toys for kids, every peso and effort counts. And hey, if you can’t organize one, join one! Bayanihan is the name of the game.

Sending thoughtful gifts or letters to loved ones.

In a world of instant messaging and emojis, nothing beats the charm of a handwritten letter or a carefully picked gift. So, why not go old school and send your loved ones a heartfelt note or a thoughtful present? It’s the thought and pagmamahal that counts, after all. And if you’re feeling extra, throw in a mixtape. Balik-tanaw sa 90s, anyone?

Supporting local businesses by buying Christmas gifts from them.

Christmas shopping? More like supporting local entrepreneurs! From handcrafted jewelry to artisanal chocolates, the Philippines is brimming with local talents. So, why not support our kababayans and buy local this Christmas? Not only will you get unique gifts, but you’ll also help boost our economy. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone! Suportahan ang sariling atin!

Volunteering time or skills for community-based projects.

Got mad graphic design skills? Or maybe you’re a whiz at organizing events? Whatever your talent, there’s a community out there that could use your help. Volunteer for local projects, share your expertise, and make a difference. After all, the best gifts are those that come from the heart and hands. Handa ka na bang magbigay ng oras at talento?

Embracing Solitude and Mindfulness

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Okay, mga ka-tropa, let’s take a deep breath. Hinga malalim. The “ber-months” can be a whirlwind of festivities, but amidst the chaos, there’s beauty in finding moments of stillness. Alone time doesn’t have to be lonely; it can be a journey of self-discovery, peace, and kakaibang saya. So, let’s dive into the world of solitude and mindfulness, shall we?

Meditation and mindfulness practices.

Ever tried meditating? No, it’s not just for monks or those who can twist themselves into pretzels. It’s for anyone and everyone who wants a slice of inner peace. Start with just 5 minutes a day, focus on your breathing, and let go of that mental sabog. Trust me, it’s like giving your brain a spa day. Relax, relax din pag may time!

Nature walks or spending time in local parks.

Nature is the OG therapist, and the best part? It’s free! Take a stroll in your local park, listen to the birds, feel the wind on your face, and maybe even hug a tree (just make sure no one’s looking). It’s a great way to reconnect with Mother Earth and find that inner kalmado vibe.

Creating a home sanctuary or relaxation space.

Turn your home into a haven of relaxation. Light some scented candles (adobo scent, anyone?), throw in some comfy pillows, and voila! You’ve got yourself a sanctuary. Whether it’s a corner for reading or a space for yoga, make it yours. Remember, it’s not about the size of the space, but the feels it gives.

Listening to music or podcasts that uplift the spirit.

Music is the food for the soul, and podcasts? Well, they’re like the bagoong to your green mango – the perfect complement. Create a playlist of songs that make your heart sing or tune into podcasts that inspire and uplift. Whether it’s OPM hits or talks about the universe and everything in between, let your ears feast!

Planning for the Future

Alright, mga kapwa ko mahal sa buhay, let’s talk future! While the “ber-months” are all about the present (and presents, hehe), it’s also the perfect time to look ahead. Because, let’s face it, while we’re all for living in the moment, a little planning never hurt anyone. So, let’s get our crystal balls out (or maybe just a pen and paper) and start plotting our next moves!

Financial planning and setting a budget for the next year.

Money, money, money! It might not buy happiness, but it sure can buy that dream trip to Palawan or that drool-worthy lechon for Noche Buena. Start by setting a budget for the next year. Track your gastos, save up for big purchases, and maybe even invest a little. Remember, it’s not about how much you earn, but how much you save. Kaching!

Researching and planning potential trips or vacations.

Got bitten by the travel bug? Or maybe just tired of seeing the same four walls? Time to plan that dream getaway! Whether it’s lounging on the beaches of Boracay, trekking the mountains of Sagada, or eating your way through Pampanga, the Philippines is your oyster. And hey, with a little research and planning, you can make that dream trip a reality. Lakwatsa mode on!

Organizing and decluttering personal spaces.

Out with the old, in with the new! Start the year fresh by decluttering your space. Get rid of stuff you don’t need, organize your belongings, and maybe even give your room a fresh coat of paint. Trust me, a clean space is a clean mind. Plus, think of all the space you’ll have for new stuff! Shopaholics, unite!

Setting resolutions and intentions for the upcoming year.

New Year’s resolutions might sound cliché, but there’s something powerful about setting intentions for the year ahead. Want to learn a new language? Go for it! Dreaming of starting your own business? Why not? Whatever your goals, write them down, make a plan, and go chase those dreams. Ikaw na!


So, here we are, mga suki, at the tail end of our festive journey. And what a ride it’s been, ‘di ba? From diving deep into self-reflection to plotting our next big adventure, we’ve covered a lot of ground. But if there’s one thing I want you to take away from all of this, it’s the beauty and power of solitude.

Being alone during the “ber-months” isn’t a sentence to loneliness. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s an invitation to grow, to discover, and to truly get to know the person staring back at you in the mirror. And hey, that person is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!

Life is full of big, grand moments, but it’s the little things that truly make it special. The smell of freshly brewed kapeng barako in the morning, the sound of children laughing, the feel of your favorite blanket on a cold December night. These are the moments, the memories, that make life worth living.

So, whether you’re spending the “ber-months” solo or surrounded by loved ones, remember to cherish every moment. Embrace the solitude, find joy in the little things, and know that you’re never truly alone. After all, the best company you can ever have is yourself.

Here’s to the “ber-months”, to solitude, and to all the adventures that await. Mabuhay ka! And remember, in the wise words of a famous Filipino saying, “Sa gitna ng kagipitan, laging may ginhawa.” Cheers to finding that silver lining, always.

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