celebrations. more fun in the philippines.

birthdays are particularly important to me. however, i haven’t felt like myself the past few months (blaming the low carb diet). so my birthday week was one of my worst and i had to skip my usual traditions for my best bud’s.

yet i still managed to create a themed party for my son’s first birthday, reminding me that as a mother, my child’s needs are at the top of the list. that, and of course, i couldn’t pass up the chance of preparing for my son’s celebration. i live for moments like this after all 😉

the theme choice was largely based on my son’s name, Dakila, a Filipino term which means great. as Filipino names are rare as well as truly Filipino celebrations (in the city at least), i decided to come up with a modern take on the Filipino fiesta.

i made postcard invitations for the occasion (had to download bunting clip art for this project. everything else was formatted using MS Word 2010 program and saved as a PDF file), with wording in the local language, and had them printed at printcity invitations.

aqil bday invite cover

aqil bday invite back

the stamp on the postcard is from team manila, which i also printed and used to seal the loot bags. i also placed stickers at the back of a salakot and an abanico to separate the loot bags for the boys from the girls.



inside the loot bags are games from my youth – lastiko (rubber band), text (mini trading cards), plastic balloon, and jackstones – as well as a colored pencil with “i heart manila” and locally-available sweets (please ignore the roll-ups and hello kitty candies).


i put together buntings or banderitas out of colored paper with the now iconic Philippine map printed on it as part of the decor.


(the banderitas with the pabitin, a typical Filipino party game – courtesy of my mother-in-law who added the trimmings – which was flown in all the way from cagayan de oro in mindanao)


i arranged locally-made snacks (boy bawang, yema, curly tops, and chocnut) on a bilao along with pictures of my son the past 12 months as centerpiece for the tables.  i also placed a toy jeepney that was stuffed with balloons beside it (not in picture, unfortunately).  all the tables were covered with banana leaves which we purchased from the wet market or palengke.IMG_1333


guests were requested to come in red or blue or in any attire that had the Philippine map or the word Philippines on it.  the birthday boy was in bahag  (click the link! click the link!) or loin cloth.

in place of a tarpaulin, i attached a picture of my son on a bilao instead and this became the main backdrop.


i had cake made too! (and, yes, this was my concept.)


to complete the theme, the merienda included puto, calamares, pancit canton, chicken barbecue, and the-now-world-famous-courtesy-of-Anthony-Bourdain halo-halo at the Filipino classic Aristocrat Restaurant.

in a few years, my son’s birthday themes would most probably be the usual cartoon character of choice, much to the disdain of the right side of my brain.

savoring this moment in the meantime 😉


One thought on “celebrations. more fun in the philippines.

  1. Leslie Jane says:

    This is amazing! It gave me a lot of ideas for my boyfriend’s 37th birthday. We are celebrating in a big way since Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match on May 2nd! His birthday is May 7, so we are going to party a little early. If you have any tips of where I can buy items online to decorate with that are Filipino themed, please let me know. Any ideas for decorating I’m open to hearing about!

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