Christmas is, to most Filipinos, the most loved and awaited holiday of the year. Traditionally, it is also the season of endless partying and eating, singing and chatting, and even dancing—a true season of good cheer.
This year, with super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan wrecking lives, properties, and dreams in one large part of the country, the grandness is expected to be replaced with smaller, more intimate, and simpler gatherings.
Because, apparently, there is no stopping Christmas!
Even in devastated Tacloban, there are survivors putting up Christmas balls and twigs on trees, there are makeshift signs announcing "Merry Xmas!," and there are beelines to the few open stores to buy food for sharing with family and neighbors.
In the world of showbiz, this is certainly a most-welcome season as well.
Our favorite stars find the yuletide season the perfect time to take a break from their hectic work schedules and to have that much-awaited vacation with people close to them.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked a number of Kapamilya stars to share their Christmas plans as well as the traditions they enjoy the most.
RAYVER CRUZ. It was an amazing year for actor Rayver Cruz, 24, and Christmas is the topping on the cake.
After the critical success of his Star Cinema film, OTJ, where he appeared with fellow Star Magic stars Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson, Rayver thinks it will be tough to top that. But he says the whole experience motivates him to do better at his craft.
For his Christmas, Rayver will stick to the annual tradition of celebrating Christmas eve and Christmas day with family.
“Baka bahay lang. Simpleng noche buena with family. Laging ganun, e,” the dancer-actor says.
Rayver says he is not the type to buy himself a gift: “Unahin ko muna yung mga gift ko sa ibang tao at saka sa family ko.
“Mag-aabang na lang ako ng gift mula sa ibang tao.”
And for 2014, Rayver promises only that he will try to be better and to do better: “Every year naman, palagi ko sinasabi, to be more responsible siguro.
“And mas pagbubutihin ko pa sa pinagtatrabahuhan ko.”
AARON VILLAFLOR. Like Rayver, Juan Dela Cruz star Aaron Villaflor is also celebrating his Christmas with family.
“Sigurado sa [December] 25, kasama ko ang pamilya ko, nasanay na kami sa ganun na tradisyon.
“Masaya ako na kasama ko sila, kumpleto kami sa Pasko. Masaya din ako dahil makakatulong din ako.”
Aaron also told PEP that he and his friends are planning a trip to Tacloban to personally help in distributing relief goods to fellow Filipinos greatly affected by the typhoon.
The actor opts for a non-material gift this Christmas: “Siguro yung regalo, yung makita lang yung mga pamilyang masaya, lalo na yung mga nasalanta, yun na yung pinaka-best gift sa akin.”
Every year, Aaron resolves to keep his body fit with the proper diet, but, also every year, he fails to keep this promise: “Kasi hindi natutuloy lagi yung ano, e, malakas kasi ako kumain, e.”
This year Aaron was given the Best Supporting Actor award by the PMPC Star Awards for Television, for his role in the teleserye Juan dela Cruz.
Now his goal for 2014 is to work even harder to prove he truly deserves that award.
"So, siguro, dahil doon sa parangal na natanggap ko, siguro isang stepping stone para bigyan pa ng importansya yung ginagawa ko, para maging deserving ako sa parangal na ibinigay sa akin.”
MATTEO GUIDICELLI. Galema, Anak ni Zuma star Matteo Guidicelli admits that 2013 has been one busy and tiring year for him, and for this year-end holiday he’s looking forward to be with family.
“I’ll just go to Cebu with my whole family. We’ll have a get-together there, buong family,” says Matteo about his plans for Christmas.
Matteo recalls how they would celebrate Christmas when they were younger.
“You know, when I was a kid what I love the most about Christmas, every single family member gets together in one house and have dinner all together.
“As I grew older, everybody just started doing their own thing, but now I and my cousins are planning to organize everybody to talagang come back all together.”
The 24-year-old hottie says he’s not expecting any gift this year: “Nothing materially, I just want to organize something with the family, so we’ll be together.”
But Matteo has clear New Year’s resolutions, a practice he has kept for two years now.
As he puts it, “You know, every year I always write New Year’s resolutions.
“I’ve been having it for the last two years, and so far naman everything [I write], I’ve been doing it.
“I guess I’m just trying to improve everything for next year, trying to do better with my job, improve myself, and learning more every day.
“Siyempre, everything can’t be successful, but a little bit of everything can be done naman and, hopefully, next year I can do more.”
Matteo does not mention how he hopes to be a better boyfriend—something he has not admitted in public—to Pop Princess Sarah Geronimo.
MICHELLE VITO, LIZA SOBERANO, ALEX DIAZ. Newbies Michelle Vito, Liza Soberano and Alex Diaz of Star Magic Circle 13 feel blessed this year.
After their launch last March, they are now busy with their projects on TV, which have made their 2013 busy.
Liza Soberano said that this Christmas she will reward herself by giving away gifts to young girls in an orphanage in her province. “Probably, go to the province. And I also want to go to this orphanage and spend Christmas with kids.
“I want to buy a lot of things that I can give them—gifts—kasi mga batang babae po sila. Parang medyo gusto ko mag-give back instead of taking any gifts.”
(Note: Liza appears in the Beauty & Style section of YES! Magazine, January 2014 issue, already out in the market this December.)
Michelle Vito is going out of town with her family: “Siguro, mag-vacation with family, plano lang mag-Tagaytay or Baguio.
Alex Diaz is looking to buy a car as a Christmas gift for himself and his family.
“My Christmas plans are to keep taping, be better in acting, and then I might buy a car—a Christmas gift to myself and my family, because I keep using their car.
“I’m still hoping that I have enough money to shell out ‘coz I really don’t want my dad spending on me. So, probably, I’ll just buy a new car.”
All in all, for our stars Christmas is clearly a time of celebration with friends and family, which is just how it is for almost everyone else.