Some known facts about Christmas around the world: It is said that the Philippines has the longest-lasting celebration of this particular Holiday season. Religiously speaking, the length of the celebration starts from December 16 when the “Simbang Gabi”/”Misa de Gallo” kicks off. Commercially speaking, the season starts at Day 1 of September, the first of the so-called “Ber months.” That is usually when the earliest Christmas music is heard in radio airplay. And some of the most ubiquitous songs for the season are sung by Jose Mari Chan, who himself has become a Filipino meme for this particular music association.
Inquirer.net has it that celebrated Chinese-Filipino singer and songwriter Jose Mari Chan has one again surged into musical prominence with the advent of the “Ber months” this September. That means once again his Christmas recordings, particularly from the 1990 Holiday album “Christmas in Our Hearts,” will once again be heard in radio and possibly television alongside traditional carols other similarly-themed songs. This was reinforced when Chan guested on GMA7’s Sunday noontime variety show “Sunday PinaSaya” on September 1, where he led the show’s hosts and presenters in a rendition of “Christmas in our Hearts. Social media exploded in memes afterwards.
The now-74-year-old veteran singer does not mind becoming the subject of such a seasonal meme. In fact, barring the blatantly offensive ones online he has embraced all the hullaballoo about him, even sharing his choice Christmas memes about himself on social media. During his time on “Sunday PinaSaya” he practically admitted how he felt complimented and flattered by the attention, especially with the assertion that his “Christmas in Our Hearts” album arguably makes him the “Father of Philippine Christmas Music.” The 1990 seasonal album did sell some 800,000 copies, which was an impressive figure at the time of its release.
Jose Mari Chan also took the opportunity to re-promote his 2012 Christmas album, entitled “Going Home to Christmas,” which he says is now available for listening on global music streaming platform Spotify. Chan noted that he had help from his family in recording music for the album, which he says contains no less than 22 songs for the Yuletide season. “We sang duet with my daughter, with my grandchild and with my three sons,” he said regarding the album production. He hopes “Going Home to Christmas” will also enjoy the prominence of “Christmas in Our Hearts” which received a 25th Anniversary Edition re-release in 2015.
The singer has been very game about his memetic status since years past. He figured in a “Ber months” special commercial for Shakey’s Pizza back in 2017, where he acknowledged how his singing heralds Christmas season in the “Ber months.”
Image: GMA Artist Center Twitter