MONITO MONITA The Philippines’ version of Kris Kringle


Christmas is one of the most favored holidays in the Philippines! It’s reputed the world’s longest celebration too!

Even if the Filipino is far from the family, even if there is no feast during Christmas Eve or Noche Buena, even if there are problems, tuloy na tuloy pa rin ang pasko! (Christmas will continue).  No matter the circumstance, ngayong Pasko magniningning ang Filipino (this Christmas the Filipino will shine) as a popular Filipino Christmas song mentions .

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Christmas songs and decors would be prominent once the “ber” months kick in which signifies that Christmas is indeed just around the corner.

It maybe hard to believe but starting September 1st you can see Philippine malls deck with holiday decors and Christmas carols hits the airwaves and this will last until the Feast of The Three Kings in January! My, my! That’s a long holiday to be merry and cheerful and that our friends is something that we love here in World Christmas Traditions. 🙂

Christmas is considered as the best time for gift giving and in keeping this tradition, Filipinos have come up with their own version of the Kris Kringle which is called the Monito Monita or Manito Manita depending on the region or dialect.

This gift giving tradition is usually done among family members, group of friends, office mates or schoolmates.

What’s the best you gift you received from your Manito or Manita? Share it with us in the comment section!


The mechanics of the Monito Monita varies and depends on what the group has decided.

This gift giving tradition starts by listing all the names of the participants which has to be raffled out. Each participant must never reveal the name of their monito or manita. Many people start their gift giving weeks before Christmas and the fun part is creating the theme of the day or the week.

Each participant must give their monito or monita a present which goes with the specified theme. Most groups do not set a specific budget for the presents during “week’s theme” or “theme of the day“. However, most groups would often decide on the amount of the gift which is to be given during the last day of their Monito Monita.

Here are some of the most common themes and their corresponding gift ideas:

Something long: Candy cane, ruler, tape measure, fountain pen

Something round: Candy, ball, Christmas wreath, coasters, button pins, round fruits

Something sweet: Basically anything that is sweet, sugary and everything nice

Something soft: Cotton candy, marshmallow, cotton, pillow, silk cloth

Something hard: Paper weight, rock or pebble ornament

Something wet: Bottled water, perfume or cologne, alcohol, lotion

The theme can actually be anything since many groups are now creating unique themes that can be very challenging for all the participants. The theme gift giving can be done every day or weekly again depending on what the participants have agreed on, some would choose “every Monday themed-gift-giving“. Some mechanics of the Monito Monita may also change since some groups may not allow the participants to give out anything that is edible.

Add a unique and fun twist to the usual Monito Monita

Most groups would just list the names of the participants but if you want a more fun and exciting Monito Monita, then you can ask the participants to come up with a code name instead of using their real names on the list.

Code names can be celebrities, cartoon characters, superheroes, etc.

The participants can also come up with their wish list on the revelation day but they must still keep in mind the amount of their preferred gift.

Another way to spice things up on your Monito Monita event is to set an unusual price or amount on the presents to be given on the revelation day. You can set the amount to 333.25 or 252.50 or any unique amount so the participants would have to be very clever and resourceful in finding the right gift. Participants must not remove the tag of the item to ensure that they have followed the instructions.

The Revelation Day: Who is Your Monito or Monita?

On Revelation Day, some groups prefers to place ALL gifts under the Christmas tree, then at reveal time, everyone will stand up and get ready.

One of the fun parts of the Monito Monita is when the participants would sing the lyrics of the traditional Monito Monita song.

I Love My Monito (Monita) Yes I do!

I Love My Monito (Monita) Yes I do!

I Love My Monito (Monita) But I won’t tell who!

The group forms a circle then once the song stops, the participant will then reveal his or her Monito or Monita. The mechanics of the whole gift giving tradition can vary since there really are no set of rules. You and your friends can actually come up with your own version of the Monito Monita and make it the start of your own Christmas tradition.

Oh by the way, we heard some make it a rule that no photo albums or photo frames allowed as gifts haha.

Why not try this fun Filipino Christmas tradition with your friends? Enjoy! 🙂

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