SEPTEMBER 1 pa lang ay nagsimula nang patugtugin sa radyo ang Christmas in Our Hearts ni Jose Mari Chan at ‘yon ay hudyat para sa mga Pinoy na malapit na ang Pasko.
Ilang taon na rin ngayon na ganoon ang nangyayari sa Pilipinas pagpasok ng Setyembre. Pero kahit pala parang magiging tradisyon na sa Pilipinas ang pagpapatugtog ng Christmas in Our Hearts tuwing September 1, ayaw ni Joemari (palayaw ng napakamosong singer) na mabansagan siyang “Mr. Christmas ng Pilipinas.”
Hindi n’ya season ang Kapaskuhan.
“It is not my season. This is the season of the Baby Jesus. Not my season. I am just the Little Drummer Boy,” pahayag n’ya sa Philippine Daily Inquirer na may tatlong reporters na nainterbyu si Joemari sa pamamagitan ng Zoom mismo noong September 1.
Ang tatlo ay sina Pam Pastor, Ruel S. De Vera, at Ruth L. Navarra. Bungad nila kay Joemari: “We would like to greet you on the official first day of your season!”
At ang sagot nga ng singer-composer ay ‘yung direct quote sa itaas.
Binanggit din ng mga reporter na marami ng netizens na ang tawag sa September 1 ay “Mr. Jose Mari Chan Day” at icon na nga ng Pinoy Christmas ang singer-composer, parang ang Parol na Pinoy.
Ang reaksiyon ni Joemari: “I don’t want to be called an icon. Because it’s really the season of the Baby Jesus. And I want, when you think of Christmas, you think of the image of St. Joseph, Mother Mary and the Baby Jesus. That’s the image.
“Those are the icons of Christmas. Yes, my song became popular and it heralds the Christmas season but it should not make me Mr. Christmas.”
Ni hindi nga n’ya in-expect na magiging ganoon kasikat ang komposisyon n’ya tungkol sa Pasko. Actually, 30 years old na pala ang Christmas in Our Hearts.
Pahayag n’ya tungkol sa awitin: “No, I didn’t expect it [to become iconic].
“You know, each song of mine is like a child of mine. Each one is different. Each song is unique. Each song was written under a particular circumstance . . . So as the children are growing up, you can see now ito magaling ito sa basketball, ito mabilis siya sa mga figures, he will be good in mathematics, or this one is religious, I think he would become a priest. What a father hopes for is for all the children to fulfill their maximum potential.”
Tanong pa rin ng tatlong reporters: Does it mean that ‘Christmas in Our Hearts’ is your overachieving child?
Sagot ni Joemari na natatawa: “I have a song about children. It’s called ‘No Rewind, No Replay.’ In life, especially with the children growing up, there’s no rewind, nor replay. So I always tell myself, if I get too busy at work, if I’m always away, out of the country for business, when I come back, I have missed a chapter in the lives of my children. No rewind, no replay.”
Dahil inihambing niya ang mga komposisyon n’ya sa mga anak n’ya, naalala ng tatlong interviewers na kumustahin ang anak n’yang ka-duet sa recording.
Sagot naman ng butihing ama: “Her name is Liza. Liza Chan but she’s now married to TJ Parpan [a well-known marketing executive] and they have three children. Lisa is now 49 years old. She’s married and they have their own home….”
Dugtong na paggunita pa ng ama: “Every Christmas, we sing that together in concerts. We’ve sung it in New York in Carnegie Hall. We’ve sung it in Atlantic City. We’ve sung it in London. We’ve sung it in Japan, all over the Philippines.”
So what does Liza think about the attention the song is getting after all these years?
Joemari very casually replied: “Well, she’s proud that I have written a song that hopefully would last long after we are gone. So yeah, she’s proud. She’s still a little bit shy about singing. She’s now a corporate person. She almost like an auditor. She’s in finance.”
Paano ba nag-a-adjust ang bantog na mang-aawit (at mahusay na negosyante) sa pandemic at sa quarantine?
Sagot nya: “You know what I did? As I told you, I have three children married, and two children that are single. What I’ve done recently, I invited the family of one, let’s say Liza and her family to have dinner here (sa bahay ng pamilya). And then another night, I would invite Joe and his wife and children to come and have dinner with us.
“We cannot all be together at the same time. But I’ve been able to do that. With proper protocol, face mask, face shield, I think we can do it.”
Ano naman ang balak niya sa Pasko?
“So this Christmas, I want to make it meaningful for my grandchildren. I want to give them a taste of how I spent Christmas when I was a little boy. I think I will invite one family at a time. Plus, you know, every week we Zoom.”
Kasama n’ya sa bahay ang misis n’ya at ang dalawa nilang anak na single pa. Maganda naman ang epekto ng kwarantina sa pamilya.
Kuwento nya: “We’ve become close. And more importantly, we’ve become closer to God. You know, we hear Mass every day online. Sometimes it’s the Jesuit Mass. Sometimes it’s the Mass of Santuario de San Antonio, sometimes we even hear Mass of Cardinal [Luis Antonio] Tagle in Rome.
“And sometimes we hear Masses from Massachusetts or from New York. So many masses all over the world that you can get online. Yeah. So every day, we hear Mass. And so it has brought us closer to our Creator, to our Lord.”
ni Danny Vibas