We have spent 5 Christmases as an expat family here in Dubai. It is during this season that we get homesick with all the festivities happening in the city and back home. The last time my mom, siblings and I celebrated Christmas together was 2006. Today, December 16 marks the first day of Simbang Gabi (Misa de Gallo) which marks the official countdown for the grand Christmas feast. Although simbang gabi literally means night mass, Filipino Catholics wake up early morning (5 am) for nine consecutive days to join the celebration of dawn mass. It is also believed that when you complete nine dawn mass, your wish will come true.