Emotional, evocative, and enduring, the Christmas station IDs of television networks are more than just a seasonal standard and signature. From a mark of triumph to a message of heart and hope, this is an endearing reminder of what matters most.
The rest of the world may not understand it, but with just 46 days before Christmas, in the Philippines, there is not enough time left to get everything done. Sure, the holidays may still not be as festive as it was years back, but with the assimilation to a pandemic-compounded way of life, it is perhaps as good as it gets for the time being. Not one to be deflated by the necessary austerity of the yuletide season, the Filipinos are finding ways to celebrate where and when they can. By now, the plastic Christmas trees have been dusted and aired out, the decorations slowly being put up, and the carols steadily gaining airtime. (Mariah Carey is already warmed up for a full calendar of All I Want For Christmas Is You.) Speaking of, another tent pole propping up the merry season has arrived: Christmas station IDs.
In what has become a modern-day tradition in the Philippines, the airing of Christmas stations IDs on television signal that Christmas has truly arrived. More than just an indicator or identification, networks in the Philippines have co-opted the station IDs and turned them into a gathering of its biggest and brightest stars to come together and celebrate. From a mere commercial opportunity, the station ID has grown to be a signature that connects both the stable of talents to the viewers during summer, anniversaries, and Christmas.
Since the reinstating of ABS-CBN following its closure during martial law, the standard station ID was a mark of triumphant return and would over the years give us memorable classics in music video form such as Ulan (2002), which has spawned reiterations in 2010, 2011, and 2012, as well as of 50 Years of Television (2003) and Kwento Natin Ito (2013). But when the year cools down during the holidays, the heartwarming orchestrations, swings of nostalgia, and overriding sense of family comes into full view with the Christmas station IDs.
The Christmas Station ID Story
Over the decade and more since the first Christmas station ID was assembled by ABS-CBN in 2004 (Sabay Tayo Kapamilya) its impact could not be discounted. Already iconic at its mere mention, the Christmas station ID immediately comes with a warm and fuzzy feeling that completes the holidays. Whether it be the endearing songs that eventually soundtrack the season, the sense of community from the stars, talents, employees, and executives of the network, or the spirit of Christmas, there is a lot to take from this iconic undertaking. At the first few trills of instrumentals, the family immediately huddles in front of the television, a group assembles light footsteps and bated breaths before a performance in a Christmas party, and for some, just to sit quietly and watch the visual narrative play out is enough merriment akin to the season of joy.
Inspiring many Christmases since, the station IDs have been nothing short of uplifting and touching, with such enduring efforts as Star Ng Pasko (2009), Thank You For The Love (2015), Isang Pamilya Tayong Pasko (2016), Family Is Love (2018), and Ikaw Ang Liwanag At Ligaya (2020), the message of hope, love, and family continue to color the season despite whatever context we’re in.
Now, while the conversation typically skews towards ABS-CBN, that doesn’t mean that GMA Network is exempted. In fact, they too have been big with this tradition, producing their own memorable efforts. From Sama-Sama Tayong Mag-Pasalove, Puso Ng Pasko, Isang Puso Ngayong Pasko, and Ipadama Ang #PusoNgPasko, there is a whole lot of heart that goes around for their own Christmas station IDs.
The Sound Of The Season
As it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas (the nights are longer the traffic standstill is back to mimicking Christmas lights, and dazzling parols have been hung), it also is starting to sound a lot like it, too. Recently, GMA unveiled its Christmas station ID lyric video, Love Together, Hope Together, which is led by Julie Ann San Jose, Rita Daniel, Christian Bautista, Maricris Garcia, Aicelle, Santos, Mark Bautista, and Lani Misalucha, together with Anthony Rosaldo, Hannah Precillas, Jeremiah Tiangci, Jessica Villarubin, XOXO, Thea Astley, Garett Bolden, Arra San Agustion, and Faith Da Silva.
Meanwhile, over at the other side of Quezon city, ABS-CBN also released the lyric video for its much-awaited Christmas station ID. In less than 24 hours, the theme song penned by Love Rose De leon, Robert Labayen, and Thyro Alfaro, burned through social media with multiple trending topics on Twitter and a whopping one million views on YouTube. In the prelude to what is dubbed as “Ang Christmas ID ng Pilipino,” the song for and by the Filipinos is brought to life by Erik Santos, KZ Tandingan, Darren Espanto, Inigo Pascual, BGYO, Andrea Brillantes, Seth Fedelin, Donny Pangilinan, Belle Mariano, Kathryn Padilla, Daniel Padilla, Vice Ganda, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Sharon Cuneta, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Piolo Pascual, and Sarah Geronimo.
Even with just a few musical bars and lyrics that pierce right through, Andito Tayo Para Sa Isa’t Isa bounces between being a ballad and a mid-tempo beat that makes it both moving and easy on the ears. Needless to say, the spirit of Christmas is slowly and surely made real by the introduction of this season’s station IDs.
It won’t be too long now until the fine, fuzzy form of these evocative and emotional endeavors will start to air and once again stake their claim in the zeitgeist of Philippine pop culture. Besides, is it really the holidays without the Christmas station IDs? More than the dazzling, star-studded production that it has become over the years, may the message of home, heart, and hope ring loud and true at a time when we need it most.