Manila Bulletin

We’ll all be home for Christ­mas

- Lifestyle · Good News · Shopping · Celebrations · Makati City · The Most Interesting Man in the World · Cirque du Soleil · Zoom Video Communications · Manila · Jose Mari Chan

It’s be­come a tra­di­tion. Ev­ery year, around this time, the closely knit Tan­toco fam­ily in­vites the press over to lunch or din­ner at Rus­tan’s Depart­ment Store in Makati City for a cel­e­bra­tion that is noth­ing short of a fam­ily Noche Buena and it al­ways comes with sur­prises, such as Jose Mari Chan and his chil­dren, Michael Philip and Liza Chan, singing to us joy­ful and nos­tal­gic carols.


That was back in 2016, just be­fore the crooner be­came a Christ­mas meme on so­cial me­dia. But there had been more sur­prises— po­lar bears, Cirque du Soleil-in­spired shop­win­dows, The Nutcracker Suiteth­emed hol­i­day, Santa and his elves, even a Filipino mo­tif, if mem­ory serves me right. Ev­ery year had been dif­fer­ent, but ev­ery year had been a re­turn to mem­o­ries and a cel­e­bra­tion of life, de­spite the odds, such as af­ter storms and po­lit­i­cal or eco­nomic up­heavals. Each year, weeks be­fore Christ­mas, the Tan­toco fam­ily trans­forms Rus­tan’s Depart­ment Store into some kind of win­ter won­der­land.

But what about Christ­mas 2020? Truth be told, at some point, I must have canceled Christ­mas and packed it away in a box for storage un­til we are ready to cel­e­brate again. In fact, the in­vi­ta­tion came to me like a rekin­dled mem­ory. Of course, with so­cial dis­tanc­ing pro­to­cols in place, it would not be like the Christ­mas get-to­geth­ers be­fore it and, as it turned out, it was dif­fer­ent. First of all, it was on Zoom.

And yet it was the same—cheery and joy­ful and full of tid­ings. It felt even more fa­mil­iar to me with Manila Bul­letin Life­style’s very own Nikki Huang host­ing it this time. There were games, like Name that Tune and Triv­ial Pur­suit, all de­signed to reignite our mood to have the most won­der­ful time of the year. It’s still Christ­mas af­ter all, pan­demic or not, and, al­though our world has dras­ti­cally changed, what Christ­mas stands for re­mains, even more es­sen­tial at a time like this—hope, love, fam­ily, friends, and grat­i­tude.

This year’s theme “Home for Christ­mas” is per­fect for our time, if only be­cause at no point in re­cent his­tory has home meant more to us than now. And the Tan­toco fam­ily, through Rus­tan’s, in view of what is hap­pen­ing, is even more res­o­lute in their drive to fill our homes with joy.


A new feel­ing of joy, one that finds hope de­spite un­ex­pected chal­lenges, is the ra­tio­nale be­hind the theme that cel­e­brates “the Filipino fam­ily’s stead­fast hope for bet­ter days.” And so, guided by this in­sight, Rus­tan’s again will not only be decked out in Christ­mas cheer but will also be all packed with ac­tiv­i­ties to bring the whole fam­ily to­gether, whether it’s shop­ping, hol­i­day per­for­mances, gift giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing, hol­i­day dé­cor, or a one-on-one with Santa Claus on Zoom.

Rus­tan’s is a safe space. Cus­tomer safety is its ut­most pri­or­ity, so health and hy­giene pro­to­cols are firmly in place. But if you aren’t ready to go out yet, Rus­tan’s Per­sonal Shop­per on Call is at your ser­vice. Stress-free and se­cure, it’s de­signed to let you en­joy shop­ping, pick­ing through the depart­ment store’s trove of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional finds, with­out hav­ing to leave home. It’s all done on­line, in­clud­ing pay­ment, with free de­liv­ery for a min­i­mum pur­chase. This ser­vice is also tied in with the Christ­mas Gift Reg­istry, so even hunt­ing for the per­fect gift for ev­ery­one on your list is has­sle-free.



To make shop­ping to­tally a breeze, Rus­tan’s is also launch­ing one univer­sal num­ber—0917 111 1952—for the Per­sonal Shop­per on Call be­gin­ning Oct. 24. Trivia, to help you re­mem­ber the num­ber: Rus­tan’s was founded in 1952 by the re­tail icon Glice­ria Rus­tia Tan­toco and her hus­band, Amb.

Bien­venido Tan­toco Sr., or Lolo Benny, as we know him now.

What’s more, just as the depart­ment store is laid out for easy nav­i­ga­tion, the Rus­tan’s on­line cat­a­logs have been care­fully cu­rated for those who’d like to shop from home. Take your pick from a wide se­lec­tion of hol­i­day dé­cor, hol­i­day wear, clas­sic and trends, gifts, and nov­el­ties.

E-com­merce is now at full swing at Rus­tan’s. On its web­site www.Rus­, new se­lec­tions and fresh drops are done ev­ery week. On top of its rich con­tent, the web­site will host the Home for Christ­mas vir­tual mi­crosite, where cus­tomers can view all hol­i­day con­tent, in­clud­ing videos of per­for­mances, yule­tide dec­o­rat­ing tips, gift sug­ges­tions, and sched­ules of all up­com­ing in-store and on­line ac­tiv­i­ties.

Plus, if you think Santa has been quar­an­tined in the North Pole, think again. At Rus­tan’s he is back. The Santa-on-Call pro­gram con­nects Santa and his elves face-to-face with chil­dren via Zoom for sto­ry­telling and one-on-one ses­sions. Just reg­is­ter not only to have the kids meet Santa but also to get Santa’s helpers at Rus­tan’s to help you cre­ate wish­lists you can share with the fam­ily, es­pe­cially the kids’s ni­nongs and ni­nangs. Chil­dren are also en­cour­aged to send Santa let­ters with their top three Christ­mas wishes at hel­losanta@ rus­ Three lucky let­ter sen­ders will each re­ceive a spe­cial gift, de­liv­ered straight to their home ad­dress—in a Christ­mas sock, I hope.

SHOP­PERS’ WON­DER­LAND There’s a lot more go­ing on at Rus­tan’s won­der­land, in­clud­ing a two-day hol­i­day promo at all branches on Nov. 7 and 8, with zero per­cent in­ter­est on in­stall­ments for min­i­mum sin­gle re­ceipt pur­chases, as well as re­wards ga­lore, such as bonus points and lux­ury stay­ca­tion pro­mos, es­pe­cially for FSP mem­bers. Don’t for­get the dis­counts—up to 40 per­cent off on se­lect items at the Sil­ver Vault,

20 per­cent off on se­lect kitchen­ware

brands, 10 per­cent off on many bath and body prod­ucts, and other great deals with brands like Deb­o­rah Lipp­man and Mario Bade­scu.

Dur­ing our Zoom get-to­gether, I was go­ing to ask An­ton Huang, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at Rus­tan’s and pres­i­dent of its lux­ury af­fil­i­ate SSI Group Inc., if, on ac­count of the pan­demic, Noche Buena, Christ­mas din­ners, ex­change gifts, or hol­i­day re­union­sthis Christ­mas would be any less or more spe­cial.

But of course, it was a stupid ques­tion, es­pe­cially when An­ton said he would dress up as Santa on Christ­mas Eve now that his en­tire fam­ily, in­clud­ing his daugh­ter Nikki, would be home for the hol­i­days.

Yes, pan­demic or not, life goes on. So does Christ­mas. www.rus­

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 ??  ?? HAPPY TO­GETHER Jun and Menchu Lopez, Mar­ilen Tan­toco, Re­nato and Maritess En­riquez, Ed­die and Merl Pineda, Pa­trick Jac­into, Ze­naida "Nedy" Tan­toco, Nena and Rico Tan­toco in a fam­ily gath­er­ing last year
HAPPY TO­GETHER Jun and Menchu Lopez, Mar­ilen Tan­toco, Re­nato and Maritess En­riquez, Ed­die and Merl Pineda, Pa­trick Jac­into, Ze­naida "Nedy" Tan­toco, Nena and Rico Tan­toco in a fam­ily gath­er­ing last year
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