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How stars celebrate 2021 holiday season amid COVID-19

Dingdong Dantes (right), Marian Rivera, son Sixto and daughter Zia

How are you celebrating the Christmas season to make it more meaningful despite the pandemic?

DINGDONG DANTES

“Dating gawi. For Christmas this weekend, we’ll all gather at my parents’ house, and then also on Marian’s side in Cavite. It’ll be the same for New Year. But it won’t be as big because we have big families, so it won’t be easy for everybody to get together. With the availability of [COVID-19] tests, we’ll all feel safer to do that and celebrate the holidays.”

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MAJA SALVADOR

“I still need to share because, even while we’re still in a pandemic, I received a lot of career-related blessings this year. Christmas for me means family. I will do everything I can just to make sure I get to spend it with my loved ones—my mom and my brother. I’m still working on getting a Canadian visa. Please pray for me. Every Christmas, my brother and I fly there to be with our mother. Since we’re experiencing a pandemic, I understand why the processing of documents can be very slow. That’s why to our friends there at the Canadian embassy, I’m here, saying hello!”

Charo Santos-Concio

CHARO SANTOS-CONCIO

“Christmas is always with family, but since I have a big family and I don’t want to organize a big gathering because of the pandemic, I divided them into three groups. This makes the gathering more intimate. Of course, time with my children is always fun. “One evening I will spend at my younger son’s house and another evening in another a day with my older son and his family. It’s me who visits them.”

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YAYO AGUILA

“After long months of being away because of work, I am looking forward to spending the holidays with my children (and loved ones) in our new home. I was in a taping bubble for ‘Nina Nino’ for a long time. Every day is a day to be grateful but Christmas day is a little bit more special just because… “My plan is to simply relax and be with my kids. I want to really experience tidying up the house that I can call my very own, as well as express how grateful I am for all the blessings I’ve received this year. The fact that I’m alive and healthy, and with a job, is already something to be thankful for, right? It’s true what they say about trusting and believing in Him because He will give you what you truly deserve.”

SHIDO ROXAS

My Christmases have always been meaningful. It’s a tradition that my family and I spend it together. As early as October or November, we would already put up decors at home. When I was young, I felt really happy to have received gifts. When I turned 22 and was already earning my own money, it felt good to be the one who’s giving the gifts, never mind that I’m receiving less. It feels better knowing that you’re the one sharing the blessings with others. “Of course, this year, gano’n pa rin. We’ll have pot luck. It’s just sad that there were family members who passed away, although not because of COVID-19. That’s why I always liked the ‘90s, when our family was still complete. The vibe then was different because there was not social media then. You always long for the presence of your loved ones, like your cousins, your friends. You make sure to really see each other, not like the way we talk today–via messenger or video call. It’s still better if there’s physical connection.”


James Blanco

JAMES BLANCO

“I really hope that everything will be back to normal next year. I wish that we could all be together, not just with our immediate families, but also our friends and colleagues in the film and TV industries. I also wish that the network that was shut down (ABS-CBN) will finally resume broadcast because this means employment for more people.”

This Christmas, since we’re still experiencing a pandemic, my family and I will still practice social distancing. Sadly, we will not be complete like last year. It’s a good thing that we have Zoom. We’ll just see each other virtually.”

JOHN ‘SWEET’ LAPUS

“I’ve been hosting my own version of the ‘Master Chef’ competition with my gay friends for the past seven years. They would always go to my house on the night of Dec. 24–others, after they had their Noche Buena with their own families. I don’t cook much because the money I saved is allotted as cash prize for the Top 3 winners. After that, we would also have parlor games, including our usual, ‘Ms. Gay Lotto.’ Ang saya! Tuloy ang Pasko!”

MON CONFIADO

“For me, Christmas and New Year’s are all about family. I’m content as long as I’m with my siblings and a few good friends. We would greet each other, hang out a little and I’m already good with that.

What good about what’s happening this year is that our infected cases are steadily decreasing. This enables us to gather, even though only in small groups. We are no longer required to wear face shields. That’s a sign that the situation in our country is slowly improving. This is already a big deal.”

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Pancho Magno

PANCHO MAGNO

“Celebration is always with the family. Our relatives visit us in our home and play games. But we make it a point that everyone is vaccinated and following protocols. It’s hard, but we have to stay disciplined to stay safe. “I’m super excited because our 2-year-old son, Skye (with wife Max Collins), has gotten bigger, so I think he will be able to appreciate gifts now. I hope he now knows how to unwrap gifts. He’s a bigger boy now so I hope he doesn’t just toss the gifts!”

GLAIZA DE CASTRO

“I think I will be reunited with the family. The protocols had been strict earlier in the year, but things are slowly opening up. We have decided to celebrate Christmas in Baler, Aurora.”

XIAN LIM

“Since the restrictions aren’t as strict now, I was thinking that maybe my mom, grandma and I can go travel somewhere. We still don’t know where exactly, but I will definitely spend time with the family.”

Winwyn Marquez

WINWYN MARQUEZ

“We will just stay at home with my family. My mom (Alma Moreno) and dad (Joey Marquez) are both so excited about my pregnancy. My dad in particular always wants to be with me. Our celebration will be nothing grand. We just want something intimate.”

LLOYD SAMARTINO

“There’s the Omicron variant of the coronavirus going around. But God-willing, I hope there will be no more lockdowns. But for now, we have to celebrate life. What we have been going through is no joke. So every little bit of happiness this Christmas, just grab it. I’m hoping that this Christmas will be a good one for everyone. Naitawid natin ‘to. Let’s see what happens next year.”

BIANCA UMALI

“There’s still no solid plan because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and we want to protect each other. We don’t know how we will be able to see each other, or how we’re going to celebrate. “Traditionally, we would go to our lola’s house and eat together. But now, since we’re also trying to protect her, we’re not sure if we would risk seeing her. She’s a senior citizen, of course, so we have to take care of her. My family hates being sick, because we can’t work and our lives go on pause. “The pandemic has made life hard for everyone. But I’m thankful for all my projects this year. I’m thankful with how this year is ending because it looks like the next one will start on a good note.”

KELVIN MIRANDA

“We’re just staying at home. But this time, I can happily say that we will have a better table spread for Noche Buena! I’m a bit emotional because I have experienced being on the table sharing with my family what little we had. But now we will have a nice spread as a reward to myself and family. I’m very thankful for the blessings. We will love and enjoy each other’s company.”

MIKEE QUINTOS

“We have already booked flights to Boracay. The last time I was there, I was only 12 years old… What this pandemic has made us realize is that at the end of the day, family is what truly matters. I’m thankful we’re complete and everyone’s healthy. And it’s important to enjoy the simple things in life—these are all blessings.”

Jason Abalos

JASON ABALOS

“We spent Christmas last year on our farm in Nueva Ecija. And it was still quite bare then; there weren’t a lot of structures. But we enjoyed ourselves. My family, plus other extended family members, gathered around a bonfire till the wee hours. But we just stayed in camping tents, so we got cold at around 2 a.m. “That’s why I told my father that maybe we can build a place there where people can stay. We felt we had to improve it for the next holidays. We’re doing that again this year, and I think this will become a new tradition for us from now on.”

SEF CADAYONA

“I still have some worries about going out. I usually just go out for work. Leisure things are just done at home or houses of family friends. But this Christmas I think we will be able to go to Pampanga to visit our lola and other family members.”

Rita Daniela

RITA DANIELA

“Sana dumating na ang regalo sa’kin ni Ken Chan. Tapos na mag birthday ko at magpa-Pasko na! “He doesn’t know this yet, but me and his stylist—whom I became close with—plan to go visit him, invade his house and say. “Merry Christmas! We’re here! May bote ka pa ba diyan?”

KEN CHAN

“I will bring friends to Cafe Claus, which is my new restaurant in Quezon City. It’s Christmas-themed all-year round! It’s opening this month, and I hope my two other planned branches turn out well. My wish is for Rita and I to be given another project—maybe a movie if we’re lucky.”

LANCE RAYMUNDO

“I’m spending it the same way since I was born. Every Christmas, I’m with the family. I don’t spend the holidays away from home. Family is the most important thing for me. Externally, we have our ways to make it meaningful, but within the family—my mom, dad, kuya (singer Rannie Raymundo) and me—we’re always together. Except that my dad passed away in 2018.”

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