it doesn’t feel like Christmas at starbucks.

The holiday spirit seems sadly depressed this year at Starbucks here in Manila.

Oh, I don’t mean the decor. The marketing staff have done lovely things with ornament balls wrapped with green and red twine as door wreaths and table centerpieces.

Yet the powers-that-be have committed several major blunders: opting not to bring back the Peppermint syrup (which I waited the entire year for!), and having no cute costumed Barista Bears, instead foisting upon a dismayed clientele their ragamuffin reindeer that lack personality and charm.

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This year, they brought back past seasons’ Toffee Nut Latte and Praline Mocha, and introduced Dark Cherry Mocha. Those syrups are fine, but only Peppermint truly evokes a Yuletide flair.

But Starbucks Philippines has redeemed themselves – to an extent – by coming out with makabayan (patriotic) mugs and tumblers. Anything that has “Pilipinas” or “Maynila” written, engraved, or otherwise emblazoned on it inspires my patriotic sentiments and gets my stamp of approval.

Manila girl that I am, I couldn’t pass up the tumbler that proclaims my origin.

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Starbucks “Manila” tumbler, wireless phone by Uniden, and a limited edition blue-and-red Lamy 1.1mm italic fountain pen inked with Private Reserve Naples Blue – the tools of this modern-day scribe.

Note to Starbucks: to enjoy my continued patronage next holiday season, please bring back the Peppermint syrup and the Christmas Bearistas!

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