They say you can tell it’s already Christmas season in the Philippines when there’s Jose Mari Chan, puto bumbong, eye-catching decorations… and an ABS-CBN Christmas station ID.
While these station IDs are always star-studded, viewers and fans excitedly await what stories will be featured in them every year. The messages in these songs and videos have remained the same over the years, because Christmas in the Philippines means love, gratitude, faith in God, kindness, and family. And this is why these highly anticipated station IDs bear more weight – they have always been part of the Filipino Christmas tradition.
This year’s “Family is Forever,” for example, is a tear-inducing nostalgia-fest that every Pinoy, living here or overseas, can relate to. ABS-CBN’s previous station IDs are not any different. Here, we look back at the distinctly Filipino stories and values that have been weaved into these Kapamilya holiday tunes through the years:
1) Family and togetherness
Early station IDs such as 2004’s “Sabay Tayo, Kapamilya,” 2007’s “Walang Mag-iisa Ngayong Pasko,” and 2008’s "May Katuparan ang Hiling sa Kapamilyang Kapiling” focused on the importance of togetherness during times of triumph and despair. 2013’s “Magkasama Tayo Sa Kwento Ng Pasko" also highlighted ABS-CBN’s relationship and meaningful memories with its audiences.
ABS-CBN continues to celebrate the unconditional and enduring love of Pinoys for their biological and chosen families, such as in 2016’s “Isang Pamilya Tayo Ngayong Pasko,” 2018’s “Family is Love,” and this year’s “Family is Forever.”
2) Faith in God
With lyrics such as “Pag-asa’y magliliwanag, ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sisinag sa lahat” and “Pag-asa’y laging buhay… sa Diyos nating gabay, isang pamilya tayo,” Kapamilya Christmas carols don’t forget what the season is about: Jesus.
In 2006, the network used Orange and Lemon’s cover of Apo Hiking Society’s “Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin ang Pasko” to show that even if you have a tight budget or whether or not you have presents to give, God and love are enough reasons to celebrate this season.
The message was much stronger in 2009, when ABS-CBN released “Bro, Ikaw Ang Star ng Pasko” to give hope to Kapamilyas, especially the survivors of Typhoon Ondoy, which ravaged many parts of Luzon. It remains ABS-CBN’s most popular Christmas station ID to date, and an enduring reminder of whom to rely on in times of tragedy. It also introduced a new era for Christmas station IDs in that it brings to light what makes Filipinos going, despite seemingly insurmountable calamities and their everyday struggles.
3) Love and kindness
Christmas is indeed about giving, and 2017’s “Just Love Ngayong Christmas” centered around the power of selfless love and sharing it with your family or a stranger. Several “photos of love” were also featured in the station ID, where ordinary citizens were seen making a difference in their communities.
Many scenes in 2012’s “Lumiliwanag ang Mundo sa Kwento ng Pasko” were also inspired by real events that happened during Typhoon Sendong and at the height of Habagat. With lyrics such as “Ang magbigay ng sarili sa isa't isa… Ito ang kwento ng Pasko, ito'y liwanag ng mundo,” it featured stories of heroism and ordinary people helping each other.
Gratitude and giving back became the central themes in 2014’s “Thank You, Ang Babait Ninyo,” a meaningful take on Filipino Christmas carols that has since become a staple during the “pamamasko” season.
In 2015’s “Thank You for The Love,” Kapamilya stars expressed their gratitude to countless Filipinos whose stories inspire them in their work and personal lives.
5) #PinoyPride and love for Pinoy culture
What makes Christmas in the Philippines the longest and happiest in the world, other than spending it with your loved ones? It’s the uniquely Pinoy traditions and festivities that have been passed down from generation to generation, including the Simbang Gabi, pangangaroling, monito-monita gift-giving, and the displaying of the Belen. These take centerstage in 2010’s “Ngayong Pasko Magniningning ang Pilipino” and 2011’s "Da Best Ang Pasko Ng Pilipino.”
Through the years, ABS-CBN has also put the spotlight on Filipinos who have made their kababayans proud, including Journey vocalist Arnel Pineda, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarding champ Margielyn Didal, ASEAN Para Games gold medalist Arnel Aba, shadow play group El Gamma Penumbra, and YouTube sensation Maria Aragon, who performed the 2011 anthem.
Of course, there are our personal and everyday heroes whose selflessness inspires us, including loved ones who are working overseas, farmers, teachers, and people and organizations in our communities who try to uplift the lives of others. They exemplify our values as a people, such as love, perseverance, and generosity, that make us truly Filipino.