May 02, 2013

Celebrating My Son’s First Birthday

With 8 teeth and still on all fours, my baby celebrated his- eep! time flies so fast! –first birthday last April 13, 2013 at Sta. Elena Fun Farm. He turned a year older but all his guests regressed a year or two as they climbed ropes, rode horses and carabaos, fed rabbits and hamsters, rowed a boat, caught fishes, played trumpo (spinning top), holen (marbles), sipa, jackstones, and Chinese garter. They blew plastic balloons, conquered fear of heights as they rode the zip-line, and so much more. It was indeed a day of fun and laughter.

Kuya felt it was his birthday too, he ran and played all day.

Kids and adults shared the day enjoying the same things.

I wanted to have a birthday party that will resound my values and beliefs. I am his mother after all (husband nods head). As much as possible, we made sure everything was rustic, natural, earth-friendly, and handmade. There was this unexplainable and overwhelming want to keep it local and earthy.

Cake that the celebrant's older brother and cousins baked for him.

It was also the day when we blessed my son. We didn’t have a priest nor did we have a pastor just like in our wedding ceremony, but we all prayed and bestowed our deep and pure love on my son. We all enveloped him with our good intentions. It was an ideal “baptismal” rite for my husband and I. It was untainted with religious expectations and it was simple and direct but very spiritual. We also selected a lucky few who will serve as guardians and beacons for my son. We re-defined what Ninongs and Ninangs (Godparents) are. We selected specific people for specific reasons, we explained the reasons and handed them custom-made certificates. We wanted it as holistic, solemn, pure, and non-religion-specific as possible.

Lower pic: Awarding Tita Joni her certificate, she is Jaichi's Guardian of Happiness

My two precious boys!

I guess to encapsulate what I am trying to say is that we celebrated my son’s first birthday without much commercialized, controversial, and artificial materials and influences that may cause distraction or may deviate us from the innocence of the occasion. I didn’t even have blaring music; the party had laughter, excited conversations, and occasional animal grunts, cackle, and crows as ambient sound.

Of course my son will remember none of this, he’ll probably just know this party through photos and my video log. But I am sure that the good vibes, the unclouded and true energy and Love that vibrated that day will forever reside in him.

*If you wish to learn more about the details, or wish to see more photos of the party, please do read on (YouTube Vlog coming soon, please LIKE my Facebook page found on the right side panel for updates! Thank you!)...

The Theme:
We decided on a theme: Filipino. Plain and simple, because we are Filipino. My save-the-date, invites, reminders, and party décor all used Filipino language much to the dismay of most (if not all) my nephews and nieces who are all too westernized. My prayers, the “baptismal” rites, and our thank you speech were all in Filipino and most of the kids, and probably some adults too, didn’t understand me. But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t at all preachy, it was all fun.

Production Design:
Just like my wedding, I designed all the details and with the help of my little and not so-little elves, everything was executed right at home. I used old materials along with the new, re-used whatever I can, and went to good ol’ Divisoria (all alone!) for the Filipino toys. 

The centerpiece was a clay pot with “grass” and hand-drawn ‘kalye’ kids playing different Filipino games like Luksong Baka, sipa, and Luksong Tinik under colorful bandaritas. Around the pot were various old-school Filipino toys with colorful pamaypay as it was April (summer!). Guests were encouraged to get to know the toys and games in front of them, and they were more than welcome to take it home with them.

Plates and glasses were all stainless steel, bowls were paper, spoons and forks were all made out of wood. No plastic, no styro-foam.

The Give-Aways:
Apart from the toys on their tables that they can take home, they were also encouraged to get a ‘palengke’ (market) net bag and get fruits from the fruit stand. The fruits were santol (a fruit that can only be found in Southeast Asia), sinigwelas, and Indian mangoes. 

The Place:
It was a toss between a Nuvali Clubhouse Pool and Sta. Elena Fun Farm. The Fun Farm won for various reasons: location is private-ish, where else can you do the things you can do at The Fun Farm, it goes well with our theme, it’s closer to nature, and most importantly EVERYONE can have fun. This place is also close to my older son’s heart and with this party I really considered him of course!

The Food:
I admit it wasn’t as presented on the table as I wish it to be, but oh well. Guests were treated with champorado (chocolate rice porridge) with tuyo (dried fish), ginataang mais (rice porridge with coconut milk and corn, the coconut milk that we used was from the coconuts we got from our farm in Indang, Cavite), turon con langka (banana fritters with jackfruit), buko pie (young coconut pie, we got the best of the best, Orient’s Original Buko Pie), various Filipino kakanin (sweetened sticky rice snacks), pan de sal (Filipino bun) with grilled kesong puti (white cheese made out of native carabao’s milk we got from an aunt of mine who produces them in San Miguel, Bulacan). We also got two bilao (woven plate) of pansit (noodles) because what’s a Filipino birthday party without pansit? Our juice was fresh buko juice (coconut, again, from our farm) with pandan. 

The Cake:
I wanted the cake to be very rustic and made with 100% Love. So I asked my oldest son to bake it, and bake he did, together with his cousins. He baked 3 layers of Banana Cake with Chocolate Chips. Between the layers we slathered Nutella. We stuck bandaritas and hand drawn things (derived from the birthday logo) on it. Too bad we didn’t have a candle, and we also didn’t do the traditional sing-then-blow. But yes, the cake wasn’t store-bought and it was prepared with Jaichi in mind meaning all the Love and good intentions were poured in it. (see pic above)

I want to give thanks to all my family and friends who braved the sizzling summer heat and traveled far just to celebrate my son's special day with us. It really means a lot and we truly appreciated your presence.

Thank you to those who took their time to take photos! We didn't hire a professional photographer (big mistake), so your photos mean so much to us!

To my family who helped me, thank you. You guys know who you are! BIG HUGS!!!


  1. panalo talaga mga theme parties mo ate Piks! :-) But ever since talaga I noticed your family has a thing for being Pinoy :-) Nakakatuwa! I remember when your parents renewed their vows. It was Filipino themed as well :-)

    Anyway awesome party! So natural and so unique! (Oo unique na ngayon ang "all natural" haha!)

    1. Ah! Yes! Their 25th Wedding Anniversary where they married again at the same church! We all wore Filipiniana nga noh? Haha! And at the reception, my golly, the food! ADOBONG BALUT!!! You were there nga I was telling JD when I was explaining who you are the day we saw each other for Blog Inspired workshop! :)

  2. Ms.Pika! Was searching the internet for party ideas for my son... And saw this post! SO cute!!(:

  3. Looks like it was a very well-planned and enjoyable birthday party. Everyone must have had a great time, and the pictures also came out amazing. We will also be celebrating my son’s 5th birthday tomorrow, and I’ve organized a wonderful party for him at one of the best LA event venues.