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Jose Mari Chan: ‘Please don’t call me Father of Christmas Music’ 

by Izel Abanilla

EVERYONE agrees that indeed, Jose Mari Chan is the “Father of Christmas Music” in the Philippines, except, well, him. 

As soon as his quintessential smash hit “Christmas In Our Hearts” debuts on the airwaves, plays in malls, Christmas parties and our trusty neighborhood, many say it is officially Christmas. Since its release in 1990, it has been the Filipino national Christmas anthem. Kids then and now know the words to the song, and for over three decades, it has been indispensable in Filipino culture and music. 

But it isn’t the only Christmas piece that the award-winning singer has released. His album, also titled “Christmas In Our Hearts” and released on November 17, 1990, also has other notable hits such as “A Perfect Christmas,” “A Wish on Christmas Night” and “A Christmas Carol,” among others. 

With all of these contributions, why doesn’t he regard himself as the “Father of Christmas Music?” 

“Let me first clarify things, I don’t consider myself Father of [Filipino] Christmas Music,” he said at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.

Many others had made beautiful Christmas music before he came on the scene, he said.  

“Long before I was born, many Filipino composers had written beautiful Christmas carols that are part of our lives, so no, I am not the father of Christmas music,” he said.

“I also want to say that music is truly God’s gift to me, God’s gift to mankind and what I do with that gift is my gift back to God,” he added. 

Rather than the “Father of Filipino Christmas Music,” Chan said he’d rather be known as  a “well-loved singer-songwriter [who is] proud of being a Filipino.” 

He also dedicates his success to those who came long before him. 

“Whatever honor they give me as a singer-songwriter, I dedicate it to all Filipino songwriters past, present and future. Because long before I was born, there were many. Many of them, of course, are not known anymore,” he said.

Chan was given a Lifetime Award, which came with a Plaque of Honor and a special medallion, by The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) for his outstanding contributions to Philippine Arts and Culture. 



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