MANILA, PHILIPPINES — For Filipinos, the moment the Ber months arrive, it’s time to feel that Christmas spirit. So, with that time of the year finally here, everyone’s already starting to see bits of the Yuletide season propping up everywhere. There are tons of hints that the holiday season is already upon us, but the most iconic telltale sign has remained the same for years: Jose Mari Chan.
Whether it’s through the memes you see on social media the moment the clock strikes midnight on September 1 every year or the malls starting to play Christmas in Our Hearts on repeat, no one can escape Jose Mari Chan. From highlights of his long and lauded music career to being integral to the ways brands usher Filipinos into the holiday season, here are seven moments that remind us just how much Jose Mari Chan has become a fundamental aspect of Filipino Christmas.
Taking Pinoy Christmas all over the world
You know you’ve become quite the prominent Yuletide figure when your classic carol finds its way around the globe. Aside from singing the Christmas favorite all over the Philippines where he has become a household name, the iconic singer has also sung it in venues around the world, including Japan, London, and even at a packed concert at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York.
In Firefly LED Light’s digital video, Jose Mari Chan comes to the rescue of a family when their Christmas lights go out, showing them the proper products to ensure a safer way to brighten up the season. As Santa Claus himself witnessses it, he laughs in delight as he mimics the singer’s mannerisms and getup, on a mission to bring light to the holidays the proper way as well.
With 2020 came everyone’s first Christmas in lockdown. So, it was fitting that Globe tapped Jose Mari Chan to help them spread a reminder that has become even more crucial now that we’re spending more time online, including our holiday celebrations. In the PSA, the singer reminds everyone that while our Christmas festivities look different in lockdown, it should not stop us from celebrating by spreading kindness — and a big part of that is being vigilant in the midst of fake news.
Another huge part of Filipinos’ first Christmas season in quarantine? Online gift shopping, of course! And in the Philippines, that means looking for gifts and other things needed for the festivities could start as soon as September. So, it’s no surprise that Jose Mari Chan was the perfect person to promote Shopee’s 9.9 sale to kick off the Christmas shopping season.
When Lay’s released their holiday ad campaign made by BBDO Guerrero last year, it was a total hit. It comes as no surprise, of course, because their playful ad had the best approach to welcoming the season: Jose Mari Chan and Nico Bolzico — or, more aptly, RUN JMC and Nico Bol-Z — bringing to life the Christmas in Our Hearts meme with a remix that perfectly captured both the nostalgia and the meme-fication of the classic carol.
Last year, Jose Mari Chan changed the lyrics to another one of hits, Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile, to revamp into an uplifting song about staying connected while we were isolated in the early days of lockdown. While this was posted in April 2020 as part of a fundraiser for families affected by COVID, when PhilStar reposted it on September 1, it went viral as it uplifted everyone’s spirits despite having to kick off the season in isolation.
Singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan changed few lines from his classic song “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile” to uplift the spirit of the Filipino people amid the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/9ivNljlYtU
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) August 31, 2020
In 2018, Netflix’s ad starring the singer that they released on December 26 reminded everyone that Jose Mari Chan is a lasting icon that doesn’t become irrelevant the moment Christmas is over. The video shows him enjoying his downtime — from meditating to enjoying his favorite Netflix originals — as a clock starts its countdown to September again.
Chan has said in the past that he doesn’t think he should be referred to as “Mr. Christmas.” However, regardless of what you call him, no one can deny that he’s become a ubiquitous figure that has every Filipino breaking out the holiday cheer, and the singer reminds us of it with each yearly comeback that everyone readily welcomes as the season begins.