by Christine Bunuan
I am so grateful to Jamil, Malik and everyone at Silk Road Rising for always being so supportive of my work. As our friendship grew and they became a part of my artistic family, we wanted to collaborate on a project that was personal, heartfelt and fun—something that combined family, friends and my Filipino culture. This naturally lead us to my favorite holiday: Christmas! Through song and storytelling, I was inspired to write this musical revue to honor the people in my life whose backgrounds and cultures have helped shape so much of my life. Especially the holidays! Ho ho ho, hee hee hee!
My parents immigrated from the Philippines to the United States because they wanted to give their children a better life. They struggled to raise a family in a foreign country and succeeded in combining our Filipino traditions with American values. My experience of visiting the Philippines, my family’s original home, enriched my life and inspired me to explore and deepen my connection to my heritage. And Christmas is no exception! “Hay! Sarap ng buhay! Maligayang pasko!”
I am very close to my family but I had a dream of becoming an actor and that drew me to this amazing city. With the support of my family, I left California and moved to Chicago to go to school at The Theatre School, DePaul University. I was very fortunate that my lifelong best friend and now husband, Sean (who’s Jewish, so seriously, talk about adding new flavors to my Christmas story! Oy Vey! But that’s another story...), he also got accepted to the same school. So we each had a piece of home with us to start a new chapter in our lives. And as we grew to learn our new city, we fell in love with it and found our new artistic home.
My musical celebration is a journey to my different homes, both with my family in California and the Philippines, and my artistic family here in Chicago and across the country. I think all travelers would agree, one of the best parts of any journey is finally coming home. My holiday adventures ultimately bring me back to my husband where we celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in our little Catholic-Jewish corner of the world. It has been pure joy going back in time and reliving all these memories through songs, some that are funny and delightful, and others that are sentimental and classic...a mixtape of holiday standards along with love songs and showtunes. They have shaped my Christmas each year, adding just a little something new to my ever growing family tradition, like a new ornament on the tree.