Nothing spreads holiday cheer quite as well as a good Christmas carol.
The evidence is clear: Here in the Philippines, preparations for Christmas begin as early as the first day of September, starting off hilariously with the annual flood of Jose Mari Chan (aka JMC) memes on the timeline. Funnily enough, no one knows when the national tradition began. Somehow, through some unspoken agreement, the country has just collectively agreed that there is no better physical embodiment of the Christmas spirit other than JMC. It’s a fun tribute — a nationwide acknowledgment of a legacy that has only become more fondly remembered with every Filipino generation.
(Yes, if it isn’t quite obvious yet, we’re talking about JMC’s 1990 hit, “Christmas in Our Hearts.”)
Although we’re now at the tail end of the holiday season, the song has been revived yet again in all its musical glory! Known for their magical renditions of carols from all around the world, the American Grammy-awarded a cappella group Pentatonix has included a cover of the JMC classic in their sixth and latest Yuletide album Holidays Around the World.
And if that’s not exciting enough, the track also features the globally beloved Disney voice and Broadway icon Lea Salonga! (Fun fact: The original singer that JMC had in mind to perform the song was actually Lea! It was only because of label contract conflicts that made Chan’s daughter Liza step in to record the song.)
Check out the music video here:
As “Christmas in Our Hearts” expands its reach with international audiences, Jose Mari Chan further cements his position as the Philippines’ most popular Christmas figure, even going so far as to land a feature on Time Magazine.
There, the Father of Philippine Christmas Songs shared his love for the holidays, commenting, “I’m in it for the goodwill and for the joy that people have in their hearts when they sing.”