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Portrait of a Filipino family: Rustan’s president shares Tantoco family’s Christmas traditions |

Health And Family

Portrait of a Filipino family: Rustan’s president shares Tantoco family’s Christmas traditions

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Portrait of a Filipino family: Rustanâs president shares Tantoco familyâs Christmas traditions
Donnie Tantoco, President of Rustan Commercial Corporation and Zenaida R. Tantoco, Chairman and CEO of Rustan Commercial Corporation (left); a holiday table setting in Rustan's Makati
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — Are the holiday decorations and vibe inside a Rustan’s store the same in the household of the Filipino retail giant’s owners and founders, the Tantocos?

Donnie Tantoco, President of Rustan Commercial Corporation, affirmed to that his family breathes and lives the Christmas in their 70-year-old department store chain right in their own homes. 

“I remember Christmas, the best parts of it, the most memorable parts of it as a child, was always something that started in Rustan’s – the windows, the whole village and the whole world of Christmas, the diversity of Christmas, and the whole senses of Christmas… energy of Christmas, as I remember it, for me,” he shared.

“Christmas is not the same until we experience it through the artistry, through the craftsmanship, through the world of Rustan’s.”

According to him, Christmas in their family’s home, like in their department stores, are a 360-degree experience – from decorations, to clothing, food and mood.

“There are traditions that are all around food… We’re a family of aesthetics and food. Our decorations at home and our Noche Buena, we’re surrounded by beautiful Christmas aesthetics, Christmas artistry. It’s a traditional interpretation but it’s also a modern interpretation. Because everyone in the family is very talented when it comes to aesthetics. We’ve got the second and third generations – all of that talent coming together (in the) way the decorations, the tables are fixed, the food is prepared – it’s all quality, it’s all the taste of the family. 

“Even the way the people are dressed across generations… so everybody’s creativity is fully expressed in the clothing, in the preparations of the food, in the beautiful decorations, and how everything comes together in this amazing environment.”

Rustan’s Christmas launch was celebrated by friends and family including dancers from Skydance Avenue and (L - R) Janeena Chan, Anton Huang, Eddie Pineda, Marilou Tantoco-Pineda, Catherine Huang Endriga, Baby Cruz, Patrick Jacinto, Zenaida R. Tantoco, Kenzie Huang, Kathy Huang, Kameron Huang, Michael Huang, and Tim Yap
Photo release

His family personally go for nostalgic Christmas decorations: “Some are also whimsical and playful. I like to give that with my grandchildren, so I like (Christmas decorations that are) Philippine-made, using Philippine fabric and Filipino design.”

As for Christmas “OOTD” (outfit of the day), he goes for “ethnic but with stories, artisanship and craftsmanship.”

“Personally, what I like to wear are the modern Barongs. I love those things because they’re not only alternative clothing to wear for work. But the craftsmanship and the fit are modern. It’s traditional craftsmanship but still, the expression is still modern. I feel young and stylish wearing something Filipino. And I love Barongs because I can wear them like this (with pants), but if I change to shorts, I can wear them to the resort,” he explained.

“It’s not commercial, it’s cultural. I like everything that’s cultural.”

Apart from the looks and ambience, their family also imbibes the Christmas spirit of togetherness through bonding activities.

“There are a lot of games. There are some people who perform. It’s different ways of creative expression in full-on display.”

What is most important, according to him, is to extend the happiness of Christmas from their stores and family to others.

From left: Marilen Tantoco, Director of Rustan Commercial Corporation; Zenaida R. Tantoco, Chairman and CEO of Rustan Commercial Corporation; Nena Tantoco; and Pinky Tobiano
Photo release

“Spreading the spirit of Jesus, spreading the joy of Christmas, living in and out as fully and as holistically, meaningfully within ourselves, within our families, within our communities, but also beyond that, making sure that we’re also sharing that joy with the most marginalized, the most vulnerable members of our society, and really making it a Christmas of forgiveness, of healing, of mercy, of love,” he expounded.

“Love, they say, is about dying to yourself. And dying to yourself is for the good and benefit of somebody else… Taking the attention off yourself and being really the kind of person, not only in Christmas but throughout the year, wherein our lives are loving service toward others and always pointing toward Jesus.”

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