Throwing a Filipiniana-inspired theme for your 18th birthday party is very easy. After all, you have your inspiration around you. Our rich cultural heritage is something that we should be proud of and what better way to exhibit this patriotism than to showcase it on your debut party. Not only are you showcasing our very unique cultural heritage, you are also promoting some of our homegrown products. Be a national hero for a day. Let your guests be inspired by your patriotism. I am positive that your party will always be remembered.
Some key ingredients to pulling off a Tatak Pinoy debut party are the following:
Invites: Print your invites on handmade paper from fibers of banana, salago, sugarcane and abaca. Consult your invites supplier about this. If you are doing it DIY, your paper should not be so thick that it is impossible to feed it into a printer. There are now commercially available locally handmade paper that are printer friendly. Wordings is of utmost importance when you want to infuse a Filipiniana theme. Using the Filipino language would not only make your invites more elegant but it will also give your guests a clue on your theme. An example would be “Kayo po ay malugod kong inaanyayahan na dumalo sa aking kaarawan.”
Ask your guests to wear Filipino-inspired outfits. Your female guests can go for the baro’t saya or dresses made of local materials such as pina and abaca. Male guests should wear the traditional barong. Emphasize this in your invites.
Dress: There are a lot of designs to choose from in creating a Filipiniana-inspired dress. The most prominent, however, would be the Maria Clara terno of baro’t saya with panuelo. There have been numerous modern designs that stemmed from this original design so you won’t have a hard time creating your own version of the modern day Maria Clara gown.
The puffed sleeves popularized by Mrs. Imelda Marcos is another design that you can modernize to make it your own. You can go for a tube gown with a detachable puffed sleeves. Wear the sleeves on your grand entrance, cotillion, 18 roses dance and some photo-ops and then remove them as the partying begins. (Some people find it uncomfortable wearing those overly stiff puffy sleeves) Doing this will not only make you comfortable for the rest of the evening, it will also create two looks for a single gown.
Décor: An elegant addition to your decoration would be the use of capiz shells, coco pokalets, puka shells and buri seeds. Hang a capiz chandelier in the center of your venue to create an elegant yet cozy ambiance. Hang salakot on the walls surrounding the venue to also add to the Filipiniana feel that you are aiming for. You can also sprinkle some coco pokalets, puka shells and buri seeds on your guests table top to create variation on the usual table centerpieces.
Favors: For your party favors, you can give away scented candles or soaps. You can personalize it by having your name engraved on it. You can even pack them into sinamay pouches to give it a touch of Filipino. The trick is to use indigenous materials. Other options would be salakot (for male guests) and native buri hats (for females). A miniature version of these made into a keychain would be nice as well. You could also go for edibles such as miniature wicker basket of goodies (polvoron, pastillas de leche, etc.). Why not try decoratives like picture frames made of Mount Pinatubo ashes, capiz shells and sea shells, and potpourri wrapped in sinamay fabric. You could also go for Francis M’s nationalistic t-shirts but they might be a little pricey for a party favor.
Food: Go for menus that are “Tatak Pinoy.” The choices are endless; lechon, adobong manok, kalderetang kambing, pinakbet, etc. The challenge is to create a menu that is balanced, exotic and all Filipino.
Music. There are so many excellent OPMs that you may use for your Filipiniana themed debut party. You can use the old but classic compositions of Filipino music legend Levy Celerio, or go for the more modern OPM songs.
Other things that will Filipinize your party are hiring a wooden flute player to play for your guests near the entrance of the venue and ushers greeting them “Magandang Gabi Po,” putting up a dessert bar or cart of indigenous foods (pastillas de leche, polvoron, yema, kakanin, bibingka, puto, among others).
Incorporating these suggestions for your debut party will surely make it “Tatak Pinoy.” Maligayang Kaarawan!