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Celebrating Christmas alone is more than just rocking around the Christmas tree

The reality, however, is the polar opposite. Christmas — along with an abundance of (faux) gaiety making the last leg of 2020 bearable — is not spared from the ruckus created by the pandemic.



Photo by Joshua Herrera/ Unsplash

In an alternate Christmas reality, the morning mist accompanying us in our ​Misa de Gallos​ is welcomed with an ardor for its skin-pricking merriment without an air of hesitation. We roam the crowded streets, admiring the annual parols adorned with Christmas lights hung on every lamppost. We take for granted how we can have a glimpse of people’s faces as we try to avoid the slightest window of eye contact when shopping in a crowded mall. The hugs at our Christmas gatherings are met with an awkward dance of how tight our hugs should be or how long. Despite the minuscule struggles of accustoming ourselves in the physical language of others, we get to embrace what we were used to.

The reality, however, is the polar opposite. Christmas — along with an abundance of (faux) gaiety making the last leg of 2020 bearable — is not spared from the ruckus created by the pandemic.

Home alone fiasco
MaCaulay Culkin’s portrayal of Kevin in the Christmas cult classic, ​Home Alone​ (1990), fueled the fantasy that celebrating Christmas alone is a league of its own (even though he celebrates not on his own volition, but because *not so spoiler alert* his family forgot to bring him along to their Christmas trip). It does not work for everybody though and we rarely encounter people who celebrate Christmas in the Philippines alone. For one, our country is collectivist as a culture, which includes putting great value on nurturing the close-knit ties we have with our family and friends.

As for those who celebrate Christmas in isolation and away from their families before the pandemic, they know it was a conscious option privy to those who had the choice of making one.

Now, Christmas in isolation is neither a trope carved out of a movie or a self-curated choice. Christmas in isolation today is making an abrupt peace with the fact that most celebrations of Misa De Gallo​ are mediated by the internet, that fewer parols lit the road at night, and that swerving the annual (closely personal) questions of your titos and titas would be put off for another year or so. Christmas in isolation is a sensible necessity in trying to lessen the aggravations brought by this pandemic.

Photo from Reddit

Not everybody, however, is prepared to actualize the ‘Home Alone’ musings, even with months of practicing quarantine measures giving us a headstart in isolation. Quick searches on the internet will tell us how to celebrate Christmas alone, which are tailor-made for those who are doing so because of the pandemic. Some suggest to recreate and create traditions that are a compromise from what one is used to like celebrating Christmas going through the family’s favorite films or badly recreating the macaroni salad recipe that your mother tirelessly makes every Christmas eve. Almost every article suggests that Zoom karaoke or “e-nom” hangouts ease the lack of interaction, and even if it does not measure up to the actual thing, it is better than not having it at all.

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More than just rocking around the Christmas tree
Despite every internet manual that instructs what one — who will be celebrating Christmas alone this year — should do to celebrate the (supposedly) happiest season known to mankind, there are tangled yarns of thoughts curled up in a ball that still have a hard time fitting in the crevices of people’s anatomy but need acknowledgment.

Firstly, the changes brought by the pandemic took every individual in a sweeping motion. The holidays are no exception to these changes, and it is especially jarring for us Filipinos as our holidays are synonymous with fiestas and reunions. It may take a lot of emotions to adjust to the idea that we won’t be surrounded by people we value. If all persuasion fails, we should give ourselves permission to let the Christmas shapeshift into an ordinary day of staying in because, sometimes, the holiday is not all about having to desperately find something worth celebrating if there is none.

Secondly, having the capacity to celebrate and prepare for Christmas in isolation as part of the quarantine measures is a privilege itself that not everybody is provided with. Some may be dealing with financial limitations as byproducts of the pandemic, while others may be emotionally fragile to even deal with the thought of being alone. Although these examples may sound like a taunting infliction of guilt upon those who will celebrate Christmas alone, it is a mere reminder that there is a greater feat beyond these age-old traditions.

Embracing Christmas solitude
“Kapag may itinuro sa’yo ang pag-iisa, yakapin mo”​ (“When solitude teaches you something, embrace it”), the closing credit reads in an episode of one of the most popular web BL series written by Juan Miguel Severo, ​Gaya sa Pelikula​. The quote flashes after showing one of the protagonists realizing important things after celebrating Christmas alone.

Do not be fooled for it is neither a romanticization that glamorizes isolation during the Christmas season nor an attempt to downplay the struggles combing through its actuality. Rather, it poses as a comforting idea that through all this, there is and always will be a greater trade-off at the end. We just have to get through Christmas while rocking around the Christmas tree alone — for now.



Thomasian musicians to add to your playlist

With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists.



The rise of Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and other music-streaming platforms paved the way for more artists to share their craft with a broader audience. It is now easier to promote your material through social media, while people can seamlessly listen to your music through different audio platforms on-demand without splurging too much cash. A basic subscription plan lets anyone stream all the music they want and play your songs on repeat. With this boom in the music industry through technological advancements, artists are inspired, now more than ever, to produce more music and give sick beats to avid listeners.

Here is a shortlist of Thomasian musicians you can stream on your music platforms.

1. Al James

(Photo courtesy of Jilson Tiu)

Before he was front and center in most gigs and before his music was blasted through the speakers of bars, Alvin James Manlutac, famously known as Al James, also sat in the rooms of Beato as a student under the College of Fine Arts and Design. In launching his first hit, he also doubted himself because he knew his style did not follow hip-hop norms. But fast-forward to today, his crafts are among the most famous songs played in the nightlife scene, as well as in casual get-togethers with your friends.

Manlutac permeated the fine line between underground and mainstream when he released his song ‘Pahinga,’ gaining more than 7.3 million views since its release three years ago.

Screengrab from Presko Life PH

2. Migo Señires

(Photo from DBTK)

Like Al James, Migo Señires also spent his college days in Beato, studying Advertising Arts in the College of Fine Arts and Design. They are both a part of the Baryo Berde crew, a multi-talent collective that fixates on culture and art. 

Señires released his song, Kara,which garnered more than 141,000 views since it was posted on his channel. He claims that he wrote it for the younger people who forgot their roots and the older ones who get frustrated when they can’t keep up with modern times. 

3. Schumi

(Screengrab from YouTube/Schumi)

When he is not walking around the halls of Ruaño, he may be singing center stage. Albert Guallar, famously known as Schumi, has been catching ears in the local hip-hop scene. He first started producing music and uploading it to SoundCloud, which then garnered the attention of people who had an interest in hip-hop. In an interview with TomasinoWeb, he said that his Schumi persona — writing music and such, is his gateway to express his emotions. It was an effective venue to vent out feelings of heartbreak and sadness, which, in this instance, was his breakup with his girlfriend. 

Schumi’s hit song ‘Bakit Why Not’ talks about breaking norms and protesting against some stereotypes like gender roles. Its music video has amassed more than 10 thousand views within two months of its release.



4. Himig Borhuh

(Photo from Himig Borhuh’s official Soundcloud)

From walking around the halls of the Albertus Magnus to being in the spotlight of #USTPaskuhan, Himig Austin Borja, a Music Technology student from the Conservatory of Music, has been making a name for himself. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he said that he didn’t really envision himself to major in music since he was inclined to sports and was a basketball varsity player during his high school years. He also did not expect his hit song, ‘Watawat,’ to become well-known and was surprised that lines from his song became widespread after its release.

Himig Borja’s ‘Watawat,’ featuring Schumi, was a song that garnered attention during the last UAAP season. The line ‘ang medalya at korona ibalik na sa España,’ reflected the community’s yearning to secure another championship and showed the support Thomasians have for all our sports teams as well as the pride we have for our school. 

5.  Adrian Aggabao

(Photo from Adrian Aggabao’s official Instagram account)

Adrian Aggabao, popularly known as ‘Don Bao,’ is a Raymund’s local from the College of Commerce and Business Administration. Like Schumi, his music career also began when he started publishing his music on SoundCloud. Since then, he has secured multiple gigs during his downtime. Most of his music speaks about social realities and what’s nice about it is that he has his family as his inspiration. 

Don Bao’s song ‘Pasanin’ emphasizes on the lessons that a life filled with struggles and obstacles brings. Having dropped this first video on his Youtube channel about a year ago, it has garnered more than 2.3 thousand views. 

6. BarbaCola

(Photo from BarbaCola’s official Facebook page)

From UST Musikat’s band pool, the band BarbaCola was formed with Renz Jerique from the Faculty of Arts and Letters on vocals, Raja Rayas from the College of Education on bass, Cedrick Santa Cruz from the Faculty of Engineering on lead guitar, and Raemonn Petr on drums.

BarbaCola’s song ‘Senseless’ runs along with the themes of alternative and indie genres, mainly focusing on the ups and downs of love and how it is a war that one might not survive.

7. VFade

(Photo from Patrick Valentine Cabanayan’s official Facebook account)

Patrick Valentine Cabanayan, more commonly known as VFade, hails from the College of Science under the Department of Mathematics. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he stated that his interest in music developed when he was in Senior High School, specifically during an apprenticeship under the Music, Arts, and Design track. He tried out music production and also ventured into rapping. 

His song ‘Andito Lang Ako’ expresses love and affection for a significant other. The song itself embodies the wide array of emotions one might feel when in love and how some minute details in the world seem brighter in the presence of strong feelings of attraction.

8. OMEN, Carty and Ballen

(Screengrab from YouTube/OnlyOneOmen)

All coming from the same Advertising Arts class in the College of Fine Arts and Design, third year students OMEN (Ron Flores), Carty (Zack Garcia), and Ballen (Allen Agulay) recently made their brainchild available to the public. The trio, who consider themselves brothers from another mother, has collaborated to release a new song entitled ‘Karma Comeback.’

As a collective, they claim that they made the song ‘Karma Comeback’ for fun since quarantine made it hard for them to bond and share their sentiments. By collaborating, they delved into their passion, music, art, and dumb sh*t, as they say.

Thomasians have always been present in every field, more prominently in the music industry. Their growth as artists and musicians will be exponential if we continue to support them and their work. With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists. 


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How to apply clown makeup

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free?



(Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb)

When Miles Edgeworth said, “You are not the clown. You are the entire circus,” I felt that.

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free? It’s the first day of April and what better way to commemorate this annual holiday than putting on your best clown makeup! From McDonalds to your local emoji, we’re here to help you channel that inner Boo Boo the Fool in you. 

First, make sure your skin is prepped nice and clean. Bold assumptions and hasty generalizations usually make a good base. These tend to last longer because you refuse to take them off. You can use your two fingers, a sponge, or your foolish thoughts to apply it evenly. 

Now it’s time to build on those assumptions and paint your canvas. Start off by carving out spaces on your eyes and mouth where you will be applying the colors. Depending on your preference, you can choose to paint the eye with the same color or two different colors. When deciding which color, be quick and impulsive. Then, remember to paint it with inconsistency just like your thoughts and words. 

The cheeks and mouth will be red. Luckily, there are a variety of rouge shades in clown makeup. We recommend using the palette “Red Flags,” which you can get for free when you use the code “NOLABELS” or “CAN’TCOMMIT” at checkout. Color in your cheeks with a soft red color, perhaps in the shade “Here for a good time, not a long time” or “Only talk about themselves but never ask about you.” Don’t spend so much time blending because the key here is completely ignoring it.

The mouth is the highlight of clown makeup. Our tip is to overline your lips to the degree you overthink. You can then go ahead and color it in, but this time with a more intense shade of red. The shades “Entitled,” “Manipulative,” and “Caught cheating in 4K” are the most tolerated in the clown community. 

Accentuate the details of your look by making outlines around your eyes and mouth. Again, depending on the look you’re going for, you can make the outline as thin as your chances with that person you’re simping over or as thick as your audacity to get back with your ex after getting off a 3-hour phone call with your best friend who clearly told you not to. 

Of course, we can’t forget about the cherry on top and the crowning glory of clowns: the wig. There’s a wide variety of colors you can choose from but select a wig that will fit your head and perfectly cover up all your tomfoolery, bamboozlement, and wishful thinking. 

If you have cash to spare, throw in a costume and some oversized shoes that will help you jump into conclusions better. Don’t forget to pop on a red nose and voilà! The circus is complete. 

The art of clownery is one that is hard to master, yet the community keeps growing. And that speaks volumes. Clowning isn’t just a coping mechanism, it’s a cultural reset, a lifestyle, a reason to breathe, and an escape from this cruel world. 

Most importantly, it’s harmless because the only person you’re fooling is yourself. Happy April Fools‘!

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