Spending the holidays alone and away from family

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We talked to four Filipinos who are based abroad to ask what was it like to spend Christmas on their own.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Another layer of grief during this pandemic is that many people are spending the holidays away from their loved ones. In the Philippines, Christmas season is reunion season, whether it’s with relatives or family members who are coming home from their work abroad.

For Carina Santos, Dianne Torres, Don Ingal, and Jake Rivera, who are based in different countries abroad and couldn’t come home because of the pandemic, there are different ways to spend Christmas alone and still make it feel bearable.

“Technology made me feel connected to my family even though we’re staying in another country,” says Jake, who is a Masters student in Tokyo.

For Carina, an artist based in London, it’s important to treat Christmas Day just like any other day because “you add a layer of pressure to a day that’s not particularly different from any other day.”

Don asked his family to accompany him through a video call as he was “dreading having to spend it away from family.”

Though Dianne, an English teacher in Nagaoka, worked during Christmas day, she played OPM Christmas music and ate Noche Buena at midnight. “It was really sad to be on my own… especially in a country where they don’t really spend Christmas,” she says.

Watch their interview below.

Interview by SAMANTHA LEE