For many people especially Pinoys, climate is one of the biggest considerations in choosing a place to visit. Because the Philippines is a tropical country and is usually hot and humid, a lot of Pinoys want to experience or see snow (yelo).
Some first time tourist visa applicants apply for a B2 visa even before the start of the winter season in anticipation of seeing that wonderful, fluffy cold stuff.
In the States, winter officially starts December 21st. The day is known as the Winter Solstice. However, in many states, snow can begin as early as October. Depending on their geographic location, cities in the U.S. might get a few inches or a few FEET of snow. States located farther north (Michigan, New York, New Jersey) tend to get a lot of snow, while states in the south like Mississippi, Texas, Florida etc., may not see any snow at all.
Americans have many different feelings about snow. Some Americans hate snow because it can freeze house pipes, close work and schools and makes driving dangerous. You may recall the bizarre snow storm in Washington, DC in February 2010 that the Washington Post called “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse.” Others love the “winter wonderland” experience.
Why is snow so fascinating to Filipinos? Is it the season that is associated with it? Is it a picture of Santa Claus riding on a sleigh and giving gifts? Is it the sports & activities that come with the season? Or is it just the cold sensation that we are so keen to experience every time El Nino hits the country?
Before you go to the U.S. and make snow angels, we at the Visatisfied Voyager have some suggestions for what to wear during this time of the year. We’ve also got some thoughts from our colleagues regarding snow and some pictures depicting snow’s joys & sorrows…
I. Things You Wear During the Winter:
Head & neck gear – knitted hats, sunglasses, ski mask , goggles & scarf (or a jacket with a hood )
Body – Wear layers. Jacket, long sleeved shirt, sweater & pants. There are also waterproof snow pants & specialized snowsuits that are designed for winter sports
Extremities - socks (waterproof if you have), insulated boots, mittens, gloves & earmuffs
II. Excerpts from our colleagues here at the embassy on their thoughts & experiences
“I remember walking my dog at my parents’ house in Montana. I’ve skied and hiked for years in the mountains of Oregon so I thought I knew what snow felt like. However, I had no idea that Montana was so much colder! I was not outside with my dog for more than 10 minutes when my mustache started to feel strange. I touched it and realized that the breath from nose had frozen it solid! At that point I didn’t care if my dog was finished doing his business. We were going inside where it was warm!”
-NIV consular officer
“I like the snow because:
you can stick your tongue out and catch the snowflakes as they fall
You can build snowmen, women, rabbits, dinosaurs or whatever you like
Snowshoeing through a snowy forest is like walking on marshmallows
There are no bugs in the snow (or winter)
Walking on a snowy night in the country is one of the most peaceful things a person can do: the snow falls silently, the birds and animals are quiet, and you can hear your thoughts as you watch the flakes fall to the ground
Cross-country skiing is one of the most aerobic sports there is, and when you reach harmony between your movement and your body, you glide across the snow like a perfectly choreographed dance”
-Dan (American Citizen from Minnesota)
III. Joys & Sorrows (Pictures)
Photos by Michaela Hackner and Laurie Munroe Bird