In Filipino culture, they do more than just tell you the date. As a child, I was surprised why there were so many calendars at home around Christmas time. Dad would stock up on them and give them to his employees, who to my surprise were very eager to grab a hold of them. I mean it was just a calendar. Printed on lousy paper. Heck, if I wanted to, I could calculate the days of the month manually.
Yet this wasn’t a phenomenon exclusive to my father’s business. I mean I’ve heard this conversation several times, either waiting at the door of a random office, or more commonly, in an elevator:
Guy 1: Ano ‘yan? (What’s that?) [Pointing to a stack of rolled sheets of paper.]
Guy 2: Kalendaryo. (Calendar.)
Guy 1: Pahingi naman o. (Can’t you give me some?)
Initially, I attributed the desire for calendars due to the lewd pictures a number (especially those released by alcoholic drinks companies or soft porn magazines) are known to possess, but that’s not always the case. Even my late grandfather’s calendars, which are in Chinese and shows the lunar cycle of the year, are in demand.
I honestly don’t get it. If it was the semi-naked women (or sometimes just naked women) on the covers (and is fact the draw of many wallet-sized calendars, especially the ones you rub or burn to “unveil” the figure’s form), I’d understand. But that’s not the only case. During a certain period of the year, calendars are simply in demand just as cigarettes and beer are.
Here’s a tip to employers who pay their employees meager wages. Give them calendars during Christmas. They’ll appreciate it very much.