Today is the 1st of September. For most people around the world, it’s just another day. For us Filipinos, it means the start of Christmas. You see, back in the Philippines, we start getting that Christmas vibe in September. We call it the start of the ‘ber’ months, it’s where we kick-off the Christmas spirit, as we like to call it.
But what does that really mean? For one, people start putting up Christmas lights and decors at home, and we start hearing Christmas carols everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE — in our own homes, shopping malls, the radio, public toilets, or from whoever is in the shower.
Though Christmas is arguably the best holiday season of the year, reason why it’s a bit sentimental and emotional for some (ok, me included), what prompted me to write this blog is far stronger and more powerful than any memory or emotion there is — the Jose Mari Chan memes. Hands down!
I mean, come on. It’s been around for a few years now but based on social media shares and reactions, it looks like it hasn’t gotten old yet. Still cracks me up to be honest.
Jose Mari Who?
To non-Filipino readers, here’s a little background. Jose Mari Chan is a renowned Filipino singer/song writer. His career was at its peak probably around the 80’s, or earlier (my guesstimate). In 1990 (I googled this), he released his Christmas album, Christmas In Our Hearts, and the rest was history. Meme history that is.
Remember when I said we start hearing Christmas carols by the start of September? I actually meant Jose Mari Chan songs. I don’t have the official statistics (not that there is one), but it’s safe to say that every Filipino, doesn’t matter how old, knows those tunes.
Now, before you look at the memes below, picture this – it’s August, you’re in a place where Christmas starts in September, everyone is looking forward to it, you know that Mr. Chan will be ruling the airwaves in a few days – then this floods your social media:
The list goes on.
All memes aside, I love JMC. Matter of fact, I watched him perform live at our school once, in an auditorium. Great singer with a surprisingly good sense of humour on stage. I’m a fan. And I’m not that old – just putting it out there. 😀
And by the way, the Chirstmas in Our Hearts album has been around for about 30 years now. Feeling old yet?
Christmas Before JMC
So, everybody knows Mr. Chan and how he defined a whole generation. Generations, actually. But surely, there must be something or someone before him. It’s almost similar to one of the biggest questions about our Universe – what was there before the Big Bang (just threw a little Neil deGrasse Tyson / Brian Cox for you all)? What/who was there before JMC?
Let me take you a few years back. And by few I mean, 30ish years. Like most Filipino kids, I was raised around my grandparents. I was literrally born and raised in their house. It was home. Back in the day, I have always been the techy one. You know, I can play the betamax, VHS, clean the tape heads with a piece of bond paper. I was the official ‘operator’ and I loved that job. As soon as the Christmas tree was up, it was time to play Christmas songs in our state-of-the-art Wakandan technology — the cassette player.
And what did I play before JMC was cool? Drum roll… The Günter Kallmann Choir.
Compared to JMC, the GKC sounds a bit more jolly, a bit more upbeat, and has more of the classics that everyone would know as a kid. There’s just something about the simplicity and that old school bass that gets me everytime. Or maybe it’s just nostalgia.
I’m only sharing this out of curiousity. I don’t hear many people talking about the Günter Kallmann Choir. But I can’t be the only one, right?
Shameless Plug (could have been)
I also wrote this blog thinking I could include affiliate links from Amazon. It’s all about the money, baby.
Kidding aside, if you grew up playing the GKC in vinyl or cassette, then you’d probably love to hear them again.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t find any vinyls or CDs in Amazon. Nothing to sell here.
The good news is, you can stream it in Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music. I totally forgot it’s the streaming era. Who buys records?
“Gunter Kallmann Choir Christmas Sing-in”
Which one is better? JMC or GKC? Neither. They’re different, but equally good in their own ways.
For some who haven’t heard of the GKC, I suggest you try it out, just because. 😀
For those who already know, I’m here to remind you that you had an awesome childhood.
That said, today marks the end of the JMC memes saga, at least for 2021.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! And no, it’s not too early. 😉