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A Filipino's First Experience of Snow

By Darwin Wally T. Wee, a freelance journalist from the Philippines on exchange with the Economic Observer

A week ago, I was woken by a scream from my roommate.

I was a little bit groggy and couldn’t decipher his words.

“Man! It’s snowing!” then I finally heard my Laotian friend saying, clearly.

I suddenly felt a rush of adrenaline. I stormed into his room, seeing him pointing out of the window to where kids were throwing balls of white stuff.

I rubbed my eyes, and looked at the plants surrounding our apartment, which were also fully covered with white-like powder. 

I rubbed my eyes again, and lo and behold, it really was snow.

The eagerness and thrill led me to open the window, ignoring the freezing temperatures outside. We held out our hands and let the snowflakes rest and melt.

Born in a tropical county, where there are only two seasons – dry and wet - the feeling was astonishing and curious. To sum it up, we were like kids again. Giggling.

Although, I had expected the snow to appear sometime during winter, its arrival was sooner that I had anticipated.

We didn’t waste time. Several minutes later, we were on the road, taking pictures of busy streets, cars, bicycles, buildings and sidewalks, which were now fully covered with at least two inches of snow.

The scenery had also changed dramatically. The dull road that leads to our office had became a spectacular site - bald trees had became more interesting, benches and gray sidewalks looked clean due to the powdery white of snow.

I could not help but mimicking the westerners that I had seen throwing snow in movies.

“How I wish I could trade in rain for snow. Why do only some parts of earth’s surface have snow?”  I asked myself.

While many Beijingers sees the first season’s fall of snow as a headache - disrupting the city's rush-hour traffic and stranding flights, we welcomed it by tasting the snow, not bothering that is was falling in smog. Smiles were on our faces.

Don’t get me wrong. Me too, I hate the bitter coldness of winter, but the beauty of snow overshadows the brutal and harsh effects of winter.

Those people who experience snow in their country may take snowfall for granted, but for those living on the equator it’s like a dream. We accept that somehow we would never witness one of Mother Nature’s amazing creations.

Also, snow was a comforting sign of Christmas spirit in the absence of Christmas decorations in Beijing.

Being raised in a highly devoted Christian country - the Philippines start celebrating Christmas in September - part of Filipino kids’ dream is to spend a Christmas in snow - building funny snowman and skiing.

Due to commercialization, shopping malls in our place set up winter-like decorations to give people a glimpse of how it feels to experience winter in Christmas, even forgetting its true meaning, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

When I was a kid, I also wondered why Santa wore thick red clothes and a bonnet. Only later did I realize that he only exists in snowy countries. Perhaps in the Philippines, Santa would wear “sando” shirts and shorts, in which he could easily slide down chimneys…. Then again, we don’t have chimneys.

Partially, my dream had been to spend this Christmas in a real winter environment, but the problem is that I am in China where the majority of people don’t celebrate Christmas.

I’m going to leave the lyrics to a Christmas song by my favorite Filipino band, Eraserheads. The song summarizes who every Filipino kid dreams of experiencing snow during Christmas, but has to make do with playing with “sytrosnow.” Shengdan kuaile everyone! 


Styrosnow, styrosnow

We believe in styrosnow

Styrosnow, styrosnow

We love to play in Styrosnow


The winter isn’t coming

Because there isn’t one

And all that falls on Christmas day

Are the warm rays of the sun

We dreamed of Mr. Frosty

And skiing down the slopes

Till our folks fulfilled our wishes

With a little Styrosnow, ho




It isn’t very pretty

And it’s not even cold

But when it falls from the factory

It’s a wonder to behold

We just use our imagination

Because we have a lot

We know we shouldn’t be so picky, oh

Not when all we got is


Styrosnow, styrosnow

Fill the world with Styrosnow

Styrosnow, styrosnow

Everybody loves that Styrosnow

Keeping it alive with Styrosnow

Everybody walk the Styrosnow


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