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Kami Namamasko: Filipino Christmas Carols to Make the Holidays Even Livelier

Filipino Christmas Carols

Filipinos are known to be vibrant and lively in nature. During Christmas, their cheerful spirit is reflected in the abundance of colorful decorations around the house and the variety of food set on the dining table. But if there’s one thing that really shows just how lively the festive season is in the country, it’s all those Filipino Christmas carols.

As you might have already known, a Pinoy celebration is never complete without a little singing and dancing. As evidenced by the hordes of karaoke restaurants and machines that line up the streets, it is clear that the locals just can’t get enough of all that singing. So to help you get in the festive mood, here are all of your favorite Christmas carols to belt our during this joyous holiday.

Filipino Christmas Carols to Put You in the Festive Spirit!

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Christmas Special

“Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit”

This is an upbeat song that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It literally translates to the words “Christmas Has Come.” The lyrics talk about the spirit of love and the importance of giving to one another.

“Mano Po, Ninong”

This is sung by the godchildren who wish to express their love and thanks to their ninongs (godfathers) and ninangs (godmothers). The song also wishes joy, happiness, and peace during the holiday season.

“Noche Buena”

Noche buena is a feast served on the night before Christmas. Filipinos deem it very important, so it’s just right that one of the most famous Filipino Christmas carols there is talks just about it! The “Noche Buena” carol describes the joy and togetherness of Filipino families as they sample their favorite dishes like queso de bola and of course . . . lechon!

“Namamasko” (Caroling)

Door-to-door caroling is one of the most common practices of Filipino during Christmas. This song is most often sung by children looking to earn a few pennies and treats from their kindhearted neighbors! This carol talks about gifts, generosity, and gratitude.

Filipino Christmas

“Christmas Bonus”

One of the most highly anticipated things during the holiday season in the Philippines is the annual Christmas bonus. This fun, upbeat song by Filipino pop-rock band Aegis talks about how every working Filipino waits for their bonus so they could start shopping for gifts and buy everything they need for the grandest holiday of the year.

“Pasko Na, Sinta Ko” (It’s Christmas, My Love)

Filipino crooner Gary Valenciano originally sang this heartbreaking ballad. It talks about longing for a loved one during Christmas.

“Kumukuti-kutitap” (Twinkling)

The bright lights of the parols easily make it a national symbol for Christmas in the Philippines. This song captures the beauty of this proudly Pinoy decor with a catchy chorus that’ll make you kutitap!

“Himig ng Pasko” (Melody of Christmas)

The lyrics of this well-loved carol brings about a feeling of warmth and joy that only a Filipino Christmas can bring. It’s no wonder this has become such a favorite track for the yuletide season.

Pinoy Carolling

“Christmas in Our Hearts”

Christmas will never be complete without the songs of Filipino-Chinese composer and singer Jose Mari Chan! Chan not only sang this iconic carol, but he also had his daughter Liza sing with him.

“12 Days of Pinoy Krismas”

Another beloved singers in the country are Jim Paredes, Danny Javier, and Boboy Garovillo, together known as the singing group APO Hiking society. These talented songwriters spun the famous holiday song “12 Days of Christmas” and added it with a surprising—or shall we say, fun—twist and a true Pinoy sound. The lyrics talk about 12 distinctively (and quite bizarre, to be honest) Pinoy gifts to give to your loved ones.

“Ngayong Pasko, Magniningning ang Pilipino” (This Christmas, Filipinos Will Shine)

Local television channel ABS-CBN releases a Christmas station ID each year, giving birth to several Filipino Christmas carols we always want to hear during the season. Last 2010’s song was a memorable one because it puts the spotlight on Catholic traditions Filipinos follow during Christmas.

Paskong Anong Saya (Christmas Joy)

This holiday Christmas carol expresses a sense of joy and peace on Christmas and New Year’s day. The lively lyrics of the song are an outburst of emotion filled with well-wishes for one’s neighbor and the rest of the country.

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Food

7 Classic Pinoy Christmas Foods You’ll See on the Dining Table This Year

Pinoy Christmas Foods

It is a known fact that Filipinos love celebrations. For them, everything from baptism to graduation calls for a big party complete with a dining table filled with food and the loving company of close family and friends. So it does not come as a surprise that on Christmas, every Pinoy household would prepare a whole table of Pinoy Christmas foods that the whole family will share when the clock strikes midnight. Filipinos call this dinner noche buena, a Spanish term that literally translates to the night before Christmas. On this special night, a variety of palatable delicacies are spread out on the dining table much to the enjoyment of the whole family.

So what are the mouth-watering Pinoy Christmas foods prepared for noche buena? Well, this post lists down some appetizing classics that are sure to get you excited for December 24!

Classic Pinoy Christmas Foods That Are Served for Noche Buena

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7. Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a simple dish that includes a variety of ingredients including pineapple, ham, macaroni, and cheese. The mix of all these ingredients makes this dish a feast for your taste buds! It is a classic Pinoy dish that is not just enjoyed during Christmas but on fiestas and other celebrations throughout the year as well.

6. Christmas Fruits

Christmas Fruits
Filipinos serve Christmas fruits for different reasons. One common reason stems from the rich influence of Chinese culture in the country. The Chinese believe that fruits, specifically a variety of 12 round ones, will bring the family good luck and fortune in the coming new year. For others, the fruits are simply there to balance out the fatty meals served during Christmas celebrations.

5. Sweet Christmas Ham

Sweet Christmas Ham
Filipinos love all things sweet and tangy, which is probably why this popular dish is drizzled with caramelized sugar. The Christmas ham is often labeled as the “star of noche buena” and bears a similar concept to the Thanksgiving turkey. This dish is usually eaten on its own or with kesong maputi (goat cheese).

4. Bibingka and Puto Bumbong

Bibingka and Puto Bumbong
Filipinos are known to be rice lovers, so much so that they’ve turned rice into a dessert! A variety of kakanin (sticky rice) comes in different colors and flavors. The most common during the Christmas season has to bibingka and puto bumbong. This dish is typically served right after misa de gallo, but you can find it adorning the noche buena tables as well.

3. Keso de Bola

Keso de Bola
Edam cheese, or better known by its local name keso de bola, is quickly distinguished by its red paraffin shell. Other than the Christmas ham, this iconic cheese doubles as a centerpiece for Filipino families. The unique-looking cheese was first brought to Philippine shores by a Swedish doctor who immigrated to the country.

2. Lechon

Lechon Baboy
This dish does not need an introduction. The rich flavor and crispiness of lechon even prompted celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to declare it the “best pig ever” after feasting on the dish during his stay in Cebu. Speaking of the Queen City of the South, Cebu is known to serve the best lechon in the whole country. So if you’re looking for crispy, tender, and oh-so-good lechon, make sure you order from the best in the business!

1. Paella

Paella
Although known as one of the best Pinoy Christmas foods, paella was first served in Spain before it found its way to the Philippines. It may take a while to prepare considering the dish’s many ingredients, but the painstaking effort is all worth it in the end. The most popular version of paella in the Philippines is Kapampangan paella, which uses ingredients like chorizo, chicken meat, and peas. As it requires tedious preparation, paella is only served during special occasions.

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Food

Proudly Pinoy: Sinanglay na Tilapia Recipe

Sinanglay na Tilapia

You’ve probably heard of tilapia before. This type of fish is one of the most popular in the whole world for it’s easy to prepare, sold at a relatively low price, and is very delicious. There is an abundance of tilapia here in the Philippines, and as you might have guessed, the ergonomic Pinoys have found a dozen ways to prepare them.

Today, you’re going to learn how to make your own sinanglay na tilapia, a coconut-infused dish that originated from the Bicol region. It is somewhat similar to ginataang tilapia but differs on certain ingredients and preparation.

Quick and Easy Sinanglay na Tilapia Recipe

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Sinanglay na Tilapia Recipe

Bicolanos usually stuff the tilapia with onion and tomatoes before grilling and secure the stuffing with lemongrass. Aside from holding the stuffed fish together, the lemongrass provides a soothing aroma to the dish. If you can’t find any lemongrass, you can always opt for native pechay.

Fish Recipe

For this recipe, wrap the tilapia in pechay leaves while making sure that the cavity remains closed while cooking. To secure it properly, try using kitchen twine (if you don’t have one, use floss or toothpick, just be sure to remove this later).

You will need the following:

  • 2 pieces of medium-sized tilapia with its scales removed and surface cleaned
  • 4 pieces wide bok choy leaves (or you may use lemongrass)
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 pieces medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 chopped ginger
  • 3 pieces long green chili
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Clean tilapia and remove the scales.
  2. Combine the garlic, onion, tomatoes, and ginger in a bowl, then mix.
  3. Stuff the tilapia with garlic, onion, and ginger.
  4. Wrap the tilapia with the pechay. You may use 2 leaves to ensure that the fish is entirely wrapped. (Optional: use a kitchen twine to properly secure the tilapia.)
  5. In a wide cooking pan, arrange the wrapped tilapia, then start pouring in the coconut milk and water. Season with salt, cover, and turn on the heat.
  6. The dish should be cooked on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat, remove the cooking twine, then transfer the fish to a plate.
  8. This dish is best served hot. Enjoy your sinanglay na tilapia!

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Home Designs

Filipino Interior Design Influences You Can Use to Redecorate Your Home

Filipino Interior Design

It does not matter if you live in the Philippines or not, you have probably spotted a hint of Filipino interior design in some living spaces. But why are people so drawn into creating a Filipino-inspired atmosphere? The answer lies in its versatility. Filipino culture, in general, covers a wide range of influences due to several years of colonialism from the Japanese, Americans, and Spanish. It hasn’t lost its sense of native culture as well, with most modern-day designers taking inspiration from indigenous works.

To connect with the country’s rich history and culture, here are Filipino interior design ideas you can use to remodel your home.

Filipino Interior Design Ideas You’ll Fall in Love With

Filipino design styles make use of neutrals, grays, and browns. Vibrant colors are usually seen in accessories like banig (sleeping mats) and curtains. You don’t have to stick to classic Filipino designs when it comes to redecorating your home, the last thing you’ll want is an interior space that looks like it is frozen in time. By simply picking a few details that reflect the true Filipino culture, you’ll be able to create a space that is both modern and artistic.

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Modern Filipino Interior Design

Handicrafts

Crate and Barrel Basket

The Philippines is abundant with natural resources found throughout its 7,107 islands. Throughout the years, people have acquired the creativity and skills to make use of these materials. For example, the Bicol region is best known for producing abaca and sinamay products. Baskets and placemats woven from any of these materials are perfect for those looking to incorporate a minimalist theme into their homes.

Other popular handicraft materials are bamboo, coconut shells, and fibers. You can either purchase a ready-made product made out of these materials or use your free time to make awesome DIY projects and create your own flower vases, seat pads, mattresses, and carpets.

Ethnic Figurines

Bulol God of Rice

Hand-carved statues have become a part of indigenous Filipino culture. In the Northern Luzon province of Ifugao, the locals are known to carve a human figurine known as the bulol or Ifugao rice god. Bulol are kept inside the house and usually come in pairs. They are made out of narra wood, a natural material that represents happiness, contentment, and wealth in Filipino culture. These unique statues deserve to be put on full display in your home. You can place them in the corners of your terrace or in your living room.

Elegant Furniture

Traditional Living Room

A combination of skilled craftsmanship, creativity, and unique materials makes Filipino furniture designs stand out anywhere in the world. Majority of Filipino-made furniture is constructed out of narra, abaca, or bamboo. Although most designers opt to use these types of wood in its purest form, combining them with each other can produce more creative results.

Egg Shell Sofa

It is not just traditional woodwork that Filipino have proven to be good at, Filipino designers are capable of creating modern pieces as well. The egg shell–shaped sofa shown above is a perfect example of modern Filipino interior design. It is made out of abaca and is supported by a strong metal stand.

Lights and Lamps

Woven Nito Lamp

Your choice of lighting fixtures such as lamps and light shades should depend on your city of residence. In Manila, you will find out that the selection is quite good but lacks the creative ingenuity of the province. Locally made lamps make great accent pieces for your home. They can come in different sizes that suit any space. Smaller lamps are ideal for apartments and condominiums, while larger models can liven up any forgotten corner of the home. If you want to go for a bolder design, choose a lamp made with abstract patterns or stained glass.

Filipino interior designs have a lot of ideas that will inspire. Whether you want to go for a traditional look or incorporate one of the most popular 2017 interior design trends, there’s always a design piece that will help you achieve the look you’re aiming for.

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Home Designs

15 Garden Fence Ideas That Are Cheap yet Effective

Garden Fence Ideas

If there is one common fixture in Filipino gardens, it is that most homeowners like to secure their space with fences. In a time where sophisticated home security systems have become a part of the trend, it pays to go for old-fashioned barricades to help keep your families safe and your daily activities private.

You don’t need to settle for razor wire fences that’ll end up making your home look like a high-security prison. Here are garden fence ideas that are inspired by the designs around Asia, Europe, and the United States.

15 Garden Fence Ideas Inspired by Modern Homes

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1. Use bamboo

Modern Backyard Garden Design

Already have a barricade set up? You can always mask a dull-looking fence with young bamboo plants, which have always been present in many garden fence ideas. Give it a few weeks to a month to grow out and you’ll be surprised to see just how chic your old wall has become.

2. Reclaimed wood

Garden Fence Design Ideas

You don’t need to spend a ton of money remodeling your home! Reclaimed wood is a sustainable and environment-friendly option you can use in constructing or remodeling your garden fence. Most reclaimed lumber comes from old barns, warehouses, and factories. All you need is a coat of varnish to bring it back to mint condition.

3. Fence creatively made using bamboo

Garden Terraced View

Fortunately, the Philippines has an abundant supply of bamboo, which is why most Filipino homeowners choose to incorporate bamboo fence ideas into their homes. If you happen to live in a duplex, one of the highly recommended garden fence ideas is to use freestanding bamboo to divide your property. Not only does it create a rustic feel, bamboo also happens to be one of the most affordable construction materials out there.

4. Ready-made panels

Garden Fencing Ideas

Premade panels are another affordable option for homeowners. They can provide a great deal of privacy for your backyard. Paint your panels with a color that blends with the rest of the house. Go for neutral shades like creamy beige, gray, and white to achieve this.

5. Strip fencing  made from pallets

Fabulous Garden Fence

Recycle your old pallet boards and reuse them as a slatted fence. You can create a backyard that is both child-friendly and low maintenance with a natural wooden fence.

6. Hedge fence

Cheerful Garden Fencing Ideas

Hedge fences are lines of small trees or shrubs that run along the barricade of your garden. It provides privacy and protection while adding aesthetics to your outdoor space. Many people choose hedges over wooden or wire fences to lessen the feeling of claustrophobia. Their height is a major advantage as well. Some hedges even grow up to 15 feet! If you decide to grow your own hedge, keep in mind that this will need a lot of care and maintenance.

7. Minimalistic at best: monotone chic

David Adjaye Garden

Picking a solid, monotone color does not necessarily translate to boring. Take the example above, the decking planks can be integrated very well into the linear fence. Another huge advantage of going monotone is its affordability! You might even get a sweet discount by using the same materials.

8. The secret garden

Garden Fence

Everyone needs a little space to call their own. So how about creating a secret garden at the comfort of your own backyard? While a small succulent garden would be enough to adorn this area in the house, it would look just as elegant—if not more—if you decide to add a bigger one to beautify your whole yard. Use open trellis fencing to separate the patio from the rest of the garden. It creates the illusion of an entrance to another world. Make sure the pathway is adorned with flowers to emphasize the fairy tale motif you’re going for.

9. Pale woven panels to add texture to dull walls

Stylish Garden Fence Ideas

Woven panels are ideal for countries with tropical weather like the Philippines. A combination of sun and rain may cause solid wood to expand and shrink, and it would eventually start splitting over time. Weaving is a great technique to avoid this. By weaving the panels like a basket, you should be able to make your fence last longer.

10. Keep it simple

Garden Design Ideas

At the end of the day, there’s really nothing like an adorable picket fence. You can show off your colorful garden with a wooden fence that best suits provincial homes. Although garden fence ideas that use picket are not apt to be a privacy fence, it definitely adds a lot of character to a little backyard garden.

11. White picket fences to make small-town dreams come true

Garden Fence Design

In the United States, the white picket fence is used to symbolize the middle-class suburban life. This style is slowly making its way to Philippine shores as well. White picket fences are actually a staple in communities around Laguna and Tagaytay.

12. A custom picket fence

Hedge in a Backyard

You know how the popular saying goes, “Fake it until you make it.” Well, tinkering with a boring wooden fence by covering it with artificial greenery is not only good for your pockets, but it will also keep your backyard looking modern and chic.

13. High fence properties

Impressive Garden Lawn

There are no formal rules governing high fence, so there is no “ideal” height in constructing one. A higher fence with the aim of creating more privacy should be about 1.8 meters. On the other hand, if you want to prevent intruders from entering the home, the height of your fence should range from 1.8 to 2.5 meters.  For obvious reasons, garden fence ideas like this may cost you a little more. But cheaper wood like reclaimed lumber will help you ease up on the costs.

14. Marine plywood

Neil Dusheiko Architects

Marine plywood is not waterproof or rot-resistant. What you’ll get, however, is good-quality hardwood plywood made with waterproof glue. It also tends to be lightweight, strong, and free of defects. To top it off, this type of wood is one of the most affordable options out there.

15. Stainless steel

Stylish and Cheap Ideas for Garden Fencing

Sheets of stainless steel aren’t too hard to find. A simple laser-cutting job to mold it to the shape of your choice should be too costly. To make your steel fence more long-lasting, try welding it with a wire mesh. The wire will make the fence resistant to rust, corrosion, and harsh chemicals.

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Home Designs

From Kubo to Townhomes: The Evolution of Filipino Homes Over the Last 100 Years

Evolution of Filipino Homes

The late artist Leandro Locsin once said, “Philippine architecture is an elusive thing.” And true enough, “elusive” just might be the most fitting word to describe it. Four centuries of Spanish and American colonization created quite the impact on Philippine history and culture. Spanish culture, in particular, is one of the most prominent influences found in Philippine architecture. From the grand churches and cathedrals scattered around the Philippine islands to the stone houses that combine Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese style elements, there is just no shortage of awe-inspiring structures around the country. It is certainly a designer’s dream come true!

To celebrate the diverse architecture in the country and to better understand the evolution of Filipino homes, take a trip down history lane and get a glimpse of the different houses in the Philippines erected in the past hundred years.

Evolution of Filipino Homes Over the Past Century

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Bahay Kubo

When we talk about evolution of Filipino homes, bahay kubo should always be the first subject we talk about.

The bahay kubo has long been regarded as a cultural icon of the Philippines. It can be found around the country and varies in terms of design. For example, Ifugao houses were visually similar in terms of architecture, but they differ in decorative details depending on the tribes. These indigenous dwellings can be found within the contour of the rice terraces.

Other bahay kubo designs in the Philippines include the torogan and the rakuh.

Bahay Kubo

The simple design of the bahay kubo coupled with its use of native materials makes it such a popular choice for Filipinos. It can be seen just about anywhere including provinces and tropical resorts. Modern versions of the bahay kubo are now structured to be more livable. They come with lighting and other electrical fixtures to ensure comfort and security. Though most kubos are still elevated with the use of stilts, you won’t find many homes designed to be carried from one place to another like they were before.

Bahay na Bato

Ever traveled to Vigan? Well, you might have noticed the iconic bahay na bato popularly known as the Quema House. It is the ancestral home of the Quema family and was built sometime in the 1820s. The house is one of the oldest structures in the Philippines that is amazingly still used as a residential space to this day.

Other preserved examples of the bahay na bato around the country can be found in Batangas, Dapitan, and the province of Cebu.

Bahay na Bato

Stone and masonry construction was introduced during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. It is evident in ports, roads, lighthouses, and of course, the bahay na bato, all of which still stand tall until today.

The bahay na bato became the typical house for noble Filipino families. The design follows the traditional nipa hut’s arrangement, particularly the open ventilation and elevated rooms. The main difference obviously lies in its choice of building material. The bahay na bato is constructed from the ground up with a solid stone foundation and brick walls. It is usually fashioned with capiz shell sliding windows and a tiled roof.

Unlike the bahay kubo, which continues to be constructed in provincial areas, the bahay na bato is no longer part of modern Filipino architecture.

Tsalet

A discussion on the evolution of Filipino homes won’t be complete without mentioning tsalet. The tsalet homes in Baguio are reflective of the American influences in the country. Derived from the word chalet, the tsalet is made of wood with a gently sloping rood and a wide, well-supported eaves fastened at the right angles of the structure.

Tsalet House

The colonial shift from the Spanish to the American rule happened in 1898. It marked a drastic change in different sectors in the country, including architecture, making it an important part of the evolution of Filipino homes. This shift resulted in the construction of government building in cities and municipalities. A majority of these structures were modeled after Greek or Roman architecture.

This time in history was known as the revival period. There was no other city in the country that felt the progress of the revival period more than Manila. The American government employed world-renowned urban planner Daniel Burnham to redevelop the nation’s capital who in turn formulated the Burnham plan. Most of the principles included in this plan still prevail even after the turn of the century.

The urban advancement eventually led to Sanitary Barrios and of course, the tsalet. Sanitation is a big part of the tsalet’s design with the concept of the modern toilet and kitchen introduced through them. Private garages were also established with the tsalet.

Bungalow

Bungalows in the Philippines go a long way back, with its early models introduced by South Asians. More modern units have a more minimalist design, similar to the ones found in America.

Bungalow House

As you might have guessed, bungalows were introduced by the American regime. Today, it continues to be one of the most common types of house in the Philippines. Bungalows are one-story homes with a low-pitched roof and a horizontal shape. Roofs are typically made of galvanized iron, although a combination of clay and iron are common as well. Due to the constricted interior, bungalows make up for the lack of space with a yard, garden, and covered carport.

Townhouse

In a study conducted by Trans-Phil Land Corporation, there is a growing number of Filipinos viewing townhomes as a better investment for their growing families. Around 80 percent of the respondents interested in investing in townhouses were 35 to 45 years old. This sudden rise marked yet another big chapter in the evolution of Filipino homes.

Townhouses are a great alternative for Filipinos who are looking for something more spacious than a condo unit. Because of its small size, it makes for a more economical option than purchasing a typical house. A majority of those who can benefit from the cost and convenience of townhomes are OFWs and middle-income families.

Townhouse

Townhomes are often viewed as “starter homes.” They’re typically common in urban and densely populated areas, making them a popular choice among individuals and families based in the big city. Property owners have made a living out of them too by putting up some space up for rent.

One major misconception about townhomes is that they are “apartments.” Townhomes provide more privacy than apartments or condo for that matter. Some residential developments even include a small yard area, ensuring that you get more space for half the price of an actual home. Overall, the low cost of building and maintenance makes the townhome a perfect option for the always-practical Filipino.

Today, residential communities around the country boast everything from Mediterranean-inspired homes to environment-conscious living paces. The evolution of Filipino homes just proves that there has been a great change in the way we construct our houses and our choice of abode over the years, but with this comes the realization that Philippine architecture has remained true to its humble beginnings. Even with the advancements in home building technology and design concepts, you can still see bahay kubo–inspired homes just about everywhere. Hopefully, this continues onward to the future, as it is very important that the country preserves its rich cultural heritage.

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