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  • Jose Mari Chan Takes His Ninong Duties Seriously! The Promise He Makes To His Inaanaks

    He wants to make sure his inaanaks doesn't have the same experience that he did with his ninong.
    by SmartParenting Staff .
Jose Mari Chan Takes His Ninong Duties Seriously! The Promise He Makes To His Inaanaks
PHOTO BY Summit Media
  • September 1 is unofficially Jose Mari Chan day. No other singer heralds the Christmas season — or the national mood come ‘ber’ months — the way that Tito Joe does.

    And, in an exclusive interview with the Summit Media editors for the Summit Sandwich Sessions, Jose Mari Chan shares he feels “blessed” to be the star of countless memes and the harbinger of joy that is uniquely Pinoy. He is humbled that generations of Filipinos know and continue to love his songs, especially “Christmas In Our Hearts,” now 31 years old.

    “I feel blessed and complemented that somehow I am being associated with the most joyful season of the year. That is a gift, a gift from God.”

    Then, the icon touted as the father of Philippine Christmas Music adds with laughter in his eyes, “I did not want to be associated with Halloween!”

    When we told the parent-members of our Facebook group, the Smart Parenting Village, we would be chatting with the man who wrote the melody of “Mamang Sorbetero, “Beautiful Girl,” “Tell Me Your Name,” among others, more than a few left messages of thanks and love.

    This one from a mom encompasses the sentiments of many: “Mr. Chan, kayo po nagbibigay sa amin ng pag-asa pagdadating na ang Pasko. Kahit mahirap ang buhay marinig lang namin ang mga kanta nyo ang sarap pakinggan simula nung bata pa ako nagbibigay kayo ng saya at pag-asa!”

    Questions parents want to ask Jose Mari Chan

    Many members also left questions in the comments, which we decided to ask during the exclusive interview. And Jose Mari Chan came in ready to answer everything, breaking into a few songs in between to make a point (you’ll have to wait for the video of that one) and just brought the warm and fuzzy feelings.

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    “Nangangaroling din po ba kayo nung bata?”

    Spoiler alert! Tito Joe, who wrote his first song at 13 years old, never got to experience caroling as a kid. Still, he has always looked forward to Christmas “because it meant school break,” Christmas music on the radio, and the “brightly lit stores” in his hometown of Iloilo.

    He adds, “But speaking of caroling, there were many caroling groups that would come to the house, and they would have that kumbatsero. One of the carols I remember fondly is an Ilonggo carol. I don’t know the title, but  it starts with, ‘O dunggan man ninyo.’ 

    “Beautiful melody! I would like one day to go to Iloilo and get some people to sing for it. Then, I would record it because it’s too bad that a beautiful song like that could be forgotten.”

    When asked about his favorite Christmas songs, Jose Mari Chan loves the “immortal Christmas classics” and sang us bits of “O Holy Night,”  “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

    “Ano pong paghahanda ang ginagawa nya kapag malapit na ang ber month?”

    The Christmas tradition in the Jose Mari Chan household is to put up the Christmas tree after November 2. And they gather around a big box containing ornaments and decor that they’ve put up on the tree since his five kids were little. “It has all the history, memories of Christmas past.”

    “Has Jose Mari Chan thought of reading children’s books? His voice is so soothing maybe he can make a Christmas special reading books in a video or audiobook! This will be beneficial for kids too!”

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    Guess what? Tito Joe was more than happy to hear this. “Anytime you want me to read an audiobook, I would love that, especially for children. I would read with feelings, stress the right words, I would be imaginative in my storytelling. So anytime you need it, just give me a call.”

    “Baka po may bago po syang kanta? Ano po title?”

    While he hasn't been actively creating music in the last two years, Jose Mari Chan does have a song that he hasn't released. He would only reveal the title: “Dad And I.”

    “There is one song that I wrote some years ago. And I don’t want to sing it here in case people will copy it. It’s called 'Dad and I.' I won’t tell you the story behind that song. Baka kokopyahin ng iba (laughs).”

    “'Dad And I' has a soft spot in my heart. And if one day there is a female artist who would come to me and ask can I hear that song, I’ll be happy to sing that to her.”

    “Describe yourself as a ninong and any gift-giving tips?”

    Tito Joe takes his ninong duties seriously! Why? Because he wants to spare his inaanaks with his experience. He recounts that his ninong from Iloilo never gave him a gift!

    “One time, I tried to visit him. He could not see me, he was busy, so I was a little bit disappointed. That’s why with that experience I know how an inaanak would feel if I didn’t pay attention to him.”

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    So Jose Mari Chan makes sure he has a “generous gift.” But, more importantly, he tells every inaanak that he will make himself available anytime they need him. Awww!

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