The Mystery of the Movable Holidays in the Philippines

Maybe holidays are fixed in your country. So when you take a vacation, you know exactly the time frame and you know whether others would also be on vacation at that time (which is crucial for those who don’t want crowds in resorts, beaches or other vacation spots). We Filipinos use to have fixed holiday dates in the Philippines, but that changed a couple of years ago.

The “holiday economics” — which simply means moving the holidays nearest to the weekend, to have a longer vacation — was already in place when Congress passed a law “rationalizing” the celebration of national holidays. The rationale is still the same: to have a longer weekend. Holidays are moved, as a rule, to the Monday nearest the original holiday date. This is illustrated in the list of national regular and special holidays for 2008 and 2009 (although as noted in that article, there are still a number of holidays not falling on a Monday).

Clear waters of Panglao Island, Bohol
Panglao Island, Bohol

As may be gleaned from the list, the remaining holidays for 2008 are in December. There’s one long weekend on the first week (Bonifacio Day, which is traditionally celebrated on November 30, was moved to December 1, which means that the Saturday to Monday from November 29-30 and December 1 constitutes a long weekend).

There’s a VERY long Christmas vacation: the days from December 25 to January 1 were already declared as holidays. December 25 is Christmas Day. December 26, a Friday, is an additional special non-working day. December 27 is a Saturday and December 28 is a Sunday. December 29 another special non-working day. December 30, a Tuesday, is Rizal Day. December 31 is another special non-working holiday being the last day of the year. January 1, a Thursday, is of course New Year’s Day.

For those asking if January 2, 2009 is a holiday, maybe that’s asking for too much =). But hey, we’ll never know if the President Arroyo will issue a proclamation declaring January 2 as a holiday. After all, all we need is a Proclamation to know the definite dates of the holidays. That’s the mystery of the movable holidays in the Philippines.

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