Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas stamps of the Philippines

Philippines' first Christmas postage stamps

Above is the first set of Christmas stamps, printed in 1967 to be used as legitimate postage, unlike the TB seals, which were first printed in 1946 and continue to be sold to date as charity labels with no actual postal function, with option to affix along with the recognized postage issues. The 1967 Christmas postage set were printed in Japan for the Philippine Bureau of Post (later acquired by Philpost or the Philippine Postal Corporation). Ten million of the 10-centavo values and five million of the 40-centavo values were delivered to the Bureau of Post and were released starting December 1. The huge quantity makes the set affordable to today's collectors. Dealers sell the mint stamps for P50 -- relatively cheap for a 53 years old set.

The 10-centavo Christmas postage stamp was used for local mail in 1967; as a young student I got some used issues, soaked off the envelopes of letters. It was many years later that I saw and fell in love with the blue 40-centavo issue, not knowing the existence of such a bright partner to the so-familiar 10-centavo nativity scene. Lovely is the concept of Mary in saya carrying the haloed Jesus, and Joseph in barong holding a stalk of sugar cane, probably acquired in the field leading to Mt. Mayon, lighted by a star shining brightly. Completing the scene is the carabao, replacing the western donkey. I learned that 40 centavos was the air mail rate, and, receiving no mail from abroad, I did not get to see it until my allowance was increased to start my collection of Republic stamps.

1968 Christmas caroling set
The caroling set was released on 1968 December 16. Then, for some reasons, no Christmas postage were printed in 1968-1971. The next set was the Lantern-making set of 1972 (December 14), which showed people indoors because a curfew was imposed after the Dictator Marcos placed the entire country under Military Rule.

1972 set

There were no Christmas stamps again in 1973-1975. The solemnity of the midnight mass set in 1976 set, however, made up for the three-year dearth. This was followed by another caroling set in 1977. And the post office issued no Yuletide stamps in 1978; 1979 gave us a miserable pair, followed by a pedestrian single in 1980.

1976 set
                                1977 set
1979 set
1980 Christmas Tree single and FDC
1980 and 1981 surcharges of 1979 set
 Also a 1979 issue was surcharged in 1980, and the other was surcharged for 1981. Then followed the issues 1982 to 2016.
                                 1982 Santa in Barong set
                             1983 Lechon strip set with first Christmas S/S
                                   1984 se-tenant set
                             1985 set
        1986 set

1987 set

1988 set

1989 set

1990 set
 1991 set

1992 set

1993 set

1994 set
1995 set
1996 set
 1997 set

1998 set

1999 set
2000 set

 2001 set 

2002 set

2003 set 

2004 set 

2005 set 

2006 set

2007 set

2008 set

2009 set

2010 set

2011 set

2012 set

2013 set

2014 set

2015 set

2016 set
                                                                            2016 sheetlet

                                                                              2017 set

                                                                             2017 sheetlet

                                                                              2018 set

                                                                         2018 sheetlet

                                                                              2019 set

                                                                           2019 sheetlet                                                                

                                                                    2020 Covid Christmas

2020 Christmas FDC

2021 Christmas set

2021 Christmas FDC
2022 Christmas set

2022 Christmas FDC

2023 Christmas set

2023 Christmas sheetlet

2023 Christmas FDC