Images and icons.
Just came back from a short visit to Nepal and Thailand, and over there, it's Buddha. Over here, I suppose it's the Santo Nino (and jeepneys).
One key difference - Buddha seems to be making more money for Nepal and Thailand that the Santo Nino does for us. That's because Buddha - as pop art - is a bigger hit with the tourists, than the Holy Child. There's the laughing Buddha, the smiling Buddha, the reclining Buddha, the sleeping Buddha, even the sequined Buddha...
And because they're everywhere, attractive and easy to purchase, Buddha is not only a boon to their economy, the image also conveys a sense of the local culture that visitors can and do like to bring back home.