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by | Photo gallery, TOP STORIES

Filipinos in Dubai brave the massive crowd every night at St. Mary’s Church, Oud Metha, Dubai to attend the traditional simbang gabi.

Thirsty in the desert of loneliness, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here get a mirage of home. Filipino custom dictates that Christmas Day is ushered in by the nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16.

In her four years in the UAE, OFW Maysa Castro said she’s already been used to bearing with the massive crowd and biting cold during simbang gabi in Dubai. “Sanay na ko na malamig ang pasko ko. Literal din.”

She, however, said attending night masses during Christmas is an opportunity for her and her compatriots to experience the gift of this Filipino tradition. “Ang nagpapainit siguro sa amin ay yoong pagsama-sama nating mga Filipino dito.”

Hailing her kabayan’s efforts in attending the pilgrim, Amor Rigor, 38, from Cebu said, “The mass puts us in the place of where we can feel our warm tradition–gathering at a common place to remember the birth of Christ.”

About 9 percent of people in the UAE are Christians, including Roman Catholics. Filipinos are the biggest non-Islam foreign population.

Until December 23, the nightly masses at St Mary’s starts at 8:30 pm. On Christmas Eve, masses will be held at the following schedule 6am; 6:45 am; 3:30 pm; 7 pm; 12 am.

On Christmas day, there’ll be 8 masses which will be celebrated in the following schedule: 5:30am; 7am; 8:30am; 10am; 3pm; 4:30pm; 6pm: 7:30pm.

Vic Dumlao Garcia shared The Filipino Times photos at St. Mary’s serving as an “oasis of grace” for Filipinos.

Here’s a look during last night’s simbang gabi:

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi

Photo Credits: Vic Dumlao Garcia/FilComRDIM

Article written by Mark Nituma
The Filipino Times Online Editor

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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