Enduring singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan isn’t done giving out Christmas presents yet. Some days ago on cloudy Saturday afternoon, he hosted a special luncheon to recognize singers, arrangers and a host of other artists who collaborated on his “Going Home to Christmas” album, which officially reached Double Platinum status over the 2017 holidays.
While considered an icon in OPM for such hits as “Afterglow,” “Deep in My Heart,” “Can We Just Stop And Talk Awhile, ” and “Beautiful Girl” spanning the 1960s through the 2000s, Chan, in more recent years, found composing and recording Christmas songs into albums most fulfilling. To say that he succeeded in doing so would be an understatement what with his single “Christmas in Our Hearts,” his duet with daughter Liza, considered by Filipinos in the league of such classics as “Silent Night,” “The Christmas Song” or the much older “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit.”
Proof is the single’s same-titled album’s Double Diamond Record Award in 2006, which exceeded the 600,000 standard for the category by 250,000 copies. According to statistics, Christmas in Our Hearts is considered the first OPM album to surpass the Diamond status, and remains to be the biggest-selling album in the Philippines to date.
Earning the title “The Father of Philippine Christmas Music,” it took Chan another six years after the Double Diamond Award to release his second holiday album, “Going Home to Christmas”—a compilation of 22 songs, among them “Ring in the New,” Let Love Be the Gift,” “December 24” and “A Christmas Song for You,” among others.
Grateful to hit the Double Platinum mark even as he laments the negative effect of the digital age in music—a dramatic plunge in CD sales and a crippling rise in piracy—he made it a point to share his award at the luncheon with the likes of Father Johnny C. Go, SJ; Joel Trinidad; Homer Flores and daughter Hannah; Moy Ortiz and The CompanY; Psalmo 47; Jun Latonio; Mary The Queen Children’s Choir; Ria Villena-Osorio; Kitchy Molina; Jude Roldan; Yaron Gershovsky; Robert Delgado; Alan Smallwood; Loren Steele; Junie Devecaiz: and Joe Mari’s musician sons Jose Antonio, Michael Philip Ciprian and Francisco Rafael, and granddaughter Ramona Isabel.
Also in the list of awardees but were unable attend were Jimmy Santiago, Gerard Salonga, Freddie Santos, Ogie Alcasid, Pinky Valdes, Shiela Valderrama, Noelle Cassandra, Teenee Chan, Louie Ocampo, Trina Belamide, Noel Mendez, Marvin Querido, Rudy Lozano, Khalil Refuerzo and Liza Chan-Parpan.
Today, a Platinum award is given to an album for selling 15,000 copies, whereas the standard was set for the category at 40,000 units, making Going Home To Christmas’ sales a veritable feat.
“I’m giving this Double Platinum awards to recognize everyone who helped me make this album because no album can be the work of just one artist, no matter how established he is. It is the collective effort of many artists as you can see—musicians, composers, arrangers—and they rightly share in this achievement,” Chan said with gratitude.