Beautiful Celebrations: Five Facts about Filipinos Debut You Probably Didn’t Know



18-roses“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” –E.E. Cummings

In the Philippines, a debut is not only a social event that a girl looks forward to celebrating all of her teenage life. Rather it is a girl’s symbolic transition from being a naïve lass to a woman. It has been said that this traditional practice has been around for years and has been meant to be celebrated to prepare the woman for the world of womanhood. In the age of social media and going viral, how this eighteenth “coming out” birthday party is celebrated will be starkly different to how it was celebrated decades ago. However, while there may be significant differences in how debut parties are celebrated now and then, there are still distinct aspects and notes that are present regardless of how a debut party will be thrown such as the cotillion dance and the customary eighteen roses dance.

If you are planning to celebrate your debut anytime soon, here are some of the facts about this coming of age celebration that you might want to know:

1.) It has been a tradition.

In the Philippines, girls are known to dream of their eighteenth birthday as it has been a long- held celebration observed by most Filipinos dating way back to aristocratic times. Today, some young women may choose to celebrate it differently but regardless of how they decide to greet their eighteenth birthday, turning eighteen is a big deal for them.

2.) It calls for a celebration.

Western countries are known to celebrate their sixteenth birthdays with a bang. Filipinos treat the eighteenth birthday of their daughters in the same regard. Depending on how the daughter wishes to throw a party and how much the parents would be willing to spend, eighteenth birthdays are usually elaborate events—second only to wedding celebrations.

3.) It is a big deal.

Turning eighteen is a big deal for most Filipino women and for this reason, they would wish to throw an elaborate party. In fact, some would regard debut parties in the same regard as wedding and baptismal celebrations. Although it is primarily up to the parents whether or not to give their daughters a debut party, a celebration of some sort is expected. With this in mind, some parents would throw an incredibly big bash for their daughters and would even prepare as early as nine months before the expected date.

4.) It is for women.

Debut parties are primarily geared towards women. It is a girl thing and is an occasion meant to be celebrated by women. However, this is not to say that boys do not have their own celebrations as well. As men are said to mature much later than women, they are to celebrate their debut or coming of age party when they turn 21. However, their celebrations are not as elaborate as a woman’s. More often than not, they would spend the night with friends in a bar and simply celebrate their adulthood.

5.) Social status is not an issue.

Back in the day, throwing a debut party was exclusively held by the members of the elite and upper class. It was said that they conducted these social events to keep up with current trends within their social circle. Furthermore, big parties and social gatherings such as debut parties were said to bolster their reputation within the community. In this regard, it can be said that debut parties were thrown for two reasons. However, as archaic and obsolete societal norms no longer constrain us, anyone can have a debut should they so wish.


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Memorable Events: Five Things to Know Before Planning Your Debut Party


“Womanhood is the great fact in her life, wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations.” –Elizabeth Cady Stanton


In the Philippines, a girl’s eighteenth birthday is a cause for a big celebration.

For some, it marks the transition of a girl to a woman which would then be accompanied by an elaborate party with all the works. Indeed, a big party would usually be thrown in honor of the young lady’s special day. In this regard, the debutante would have to take into account the numerous preparations she would have to do—depending on the type of party she wants to have. The more elaborate it is, the more time would be required to prepare it. With some modern debut parties closely resembling wedding reception parties nowadays, it would be no surprise that the amount of effort (and money) that goes into this event would be quite significant. As this is a considerable milestone in a girl’s life and a once in a lifetime event, it would be understandable for girls to only wish for the best. However, be warned as planning such a party might come off as a challenge and it would certainly not be easy. So, before you brainstorm on debut ideas and proceed to the planning stage, here are some things you do need to bear in mind:


Limit your guest

A pivotal factor in planning your debut is the guest list. Knowing how many people you invite and would be coming to your party would determine the type of preparations you should make. The number of people you invite would also determine the type of catering package that would be recommended for your event. Although it might seem a little overwhelming to consider the task at hand (and to identify who to invite), know that there is a limitation on the number of guests you should invite. Try to keep the number reasonable as the number of guests would usually affect the food menu and size of your venue. Have an estimate of how many guests will be attending before you even start answering your planner’s queries as regards your guest list.

The venue

The next thing you should consider after creating your guest list is to think of an appropriate venue for your event. Remember, your venue should be big enough to accommodate the number of your guests. So apart from your budget, you should also take your guest list into account. You have quite a lot of options when it comes to your event venue. You do not absolutely have to go with a 5-star hotel if you want someplace unassuming. You can even use your own house if you have a big enough space to accommodate your guests. Just be sure that your venue has all the necessary things that would make your party run smoothly. These things would include enough bathrooms, electrical outlets, and a kitchen.

Send out your invitations

One of the fun things you can look forward to making is your party invitations. In designing and creating them, you can really make your creative juices flow and if you are looking to budget, you can even make them yourself. Ask your friends to help you out—however, do take into consideration the number of guests you will be inviting. If you intend to make by hand a hundred invitations, then it might not sound as fun as it originally was. Remember to design your invitations accordingly as they would give your guests a glimpse of what they can expect at your party. Choose a theme on the cards as well as on the materials you will be using.

Check out your catering options

Another thing of significant importance when it comes to planning your debut party is to consider what catering packages you want. To narrow your list of choices down, it is best to look for those caterers that can multitask. However, there are also some suppliers who can provide you with packages while offering another service. Logistically, to make the planning go smoothly, book an event organizer who can provide for floral arrangements as well as collaborate with other event suppliers. Look for suppliers that are not only cost-efficient but would also cause you less stress in planning your event.

Know your priorities

A surefire way to make your planning preparations for your debut a lot less stressful and hassle-free is to know what your priorities are. Know what is best for your debut and where you should be pooling most of your finances into—whether that may be a sophisticated gown, a grand fireworks display or the event venue itself. Sorting them appropriately would mitigate the chances of you overspending for the event. Furthermore, it allows you to fine-tune the details of your debut.

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Womanhood: Seven Things a Girl Must Know Before She Turns Eighteen


“A woman who walks in purpose does not have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.” –Author Unknown


Eighteen is a significant age for many teens across the world—but especially for young women in the Philippines. Why? Because this is the age wherein they are finally considered as adults and in a sense, this fact can be given teeth with its legal color. It is that particular age wherein both men and women would finally be able to vote, drive and even drink legally. Incidentally, it is that sensitive age wherein a woman is first introduced to the world of womanhood. In fact, a majority of young Filipino women would commemorate this momentous event by celebrating it with a grand debut party and for weeks leading up to the event they would come up with debut ideas.

However, the real world is not always about parties, ball gowns, and cotillions and while this marks as your initial step to the realm of womanhood, it presents a narrow view of what goes on in the adult world once you are there. Eighteen might be a magical age, but it is also that age wherein you start having responsibilities. More often than not, this transitional age from a girl to a woman can be considered both an exciting and terrifying time in your lives.

After all, it is that day wherein you can finally say you are no longer a kid. However, do remember that there is a stark difference between being an adult and acting like one. In any case, before you celebrate a momentous milestone in your life, it is best if you took a gander at the things you ought to know before you blow out your eighteen candles:


Time passes by quickly

As cliché as this might sound, there is truth to the sentiment that time does pass us quickly. In this regard, it is best to take full advantage of the time we have now and never let any opportunity pass us by as we would never know if we would be able to come across it again. With this in mind, always keep the adage Carpe Diem in mind. After all, today you might still be graduating from high school and in the next, you are filling out job application forms. Breathe in and enjoy the moment, stop wishing you were older as you would never be that young again.

Do not let labels bother or define you

Cliques and labels in high school might matter to you now, but when you are much older you would realize just how irrelevant they are. Always remember that you are so much more than what they say about you and no one can really be categorized and confined into boxes. We are multifaceted beings and are complex. Welcome your quirks no matter how weird they are as those are precisely what makes you who you are.

Growing up is not easy

…and it never will. No matter how eager and enthusiastic you are about being an adult, you would never be adequately prepared for it. Growing up is not something that can be taught, it should be experienced. In fact, it is these very experiences that would mold you into the grown-up adult that you will become. Allow yourself to learn and allow yourself to grow.

School does not last forever

At times all you could think about is getting out of school and graduating and making it big in the corporate world. In fact, school feels like an endless journey that serves only to wear you out. But once you have finally graduated and are working in the corporate world, you might even find yourself missing school and your classmates—depending on your outlook. However, one thing for sure is that school does not last forever, but it is imperative that you be thankful for the experience of education. Some of the years we have spent in school would serve as the most pivotal points in our lives and would contribute to how we are as persons today.

Failing is inevitable

No matter how much of an overachiever you were back in high school, know that at some point in your life, you are going to fail. Do not fret, as this is inevitable. In fact, just think of it as an avenue for learning and do not take it too hard. After all, how do you expect to learn if you do not commit mistakes and fail every now and then? What is important is that you learn something from your failures—so much so that you can recover from it. Let your mistakes teach you, not define you.

Some people come and go into your life. Some stay

There are some people that are not meant to stay in your life and that is okay. However, it can be hard when you have developed an attachment to them. But keep in mind that not everyone you meet is going to have a place in your future. Friends will come and go but if you are lucky, really really lucky, you will cultivate friendships that would last a lifetime. Remember, if you have people like this in your life, be sure to keep it intact by holding onto it.

Family is forever

Consider your family as a gift and always cherish them.  You may not see eye to eye always, but remember to thank them for everything that they have done for you. Throughout any problem or tribulation you might have, you can always count on your family to be there for you and in this sense, they are truly valuable. So, spend as much time as you can with them and do not let little squabbles ruin your relationship with them. Remember, when everyone else has seemingly left you, you can still count on your family.

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Four Things You Can Consider to Have a Budget Friendly Debut


“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” -Albert Einstein


Turning eighteen is one of the most important milestones a girl experiences in her life. For some, it can be considered as the pivotal event that signifies the transition of a girl from a simple maiden into a woman. As a result, many girls would see their eighteenth birthday soiree or debut as a grand event they want to execute flawlessly. With this in mind, they could spend weeks to months meticulously planning every detail to make sure that everything goes perfectly. However, more often than not, budget constraints would set them back from having that dream debut they have always wanted. This should not be a cause for concern however as there are innumerable ways to make sure that you can still have an elegant debut sans the exorbitant expense—the key is to think out of the box and stay within your budget.

From selecting a budget friendly debut package to doing some things on your own, here are a few ways you can stay on budget while still having the debut of your dreams:


1.) Opt for an outdoor venue instead of an air-conditioned one

More often than not, an outdoor venue would cost you much cheaper to rent for the night than an air-conditioned one. This is because an air-conditioned venue would require you to pay for the electricity needed to power the air-conditioning systems as opposed to having the natural breeze of an outdoor venue which you can rent at a lower rate. You can save a lot if you book a venue that is mostly outdoor and just has an open tent or pavilion for the tables. Furthermore, this will give your party an enchanting touch of having the natural drapery of the night skies.

2.) DIY menu

You can break the mold by opting to have a tea party or midday brunch theme for your debut instead of the traditional dinner time party. Considering that the time of your party does not necessitate a full meal for your guests, you can easily style your menu to fit the time of the day—one which you can easily do yourself. All that is left for you to do is to find caterers who would accommodate such a request. Alternatively, if you have a lot of spare time on your hands and have a slew of people to help you out, then, by all means, cook for your party. In doing so, not only are you treating your guests to a homemade meal, but you are saving a lot as well.

3.) Make your own décor

Party décor by itself is not too pricey. But for major parties that would need a lot of decorations, the expense can easily accumulate to a hefty sum. To cut some costs, you can always opt to make your own décor. If you have a particularly artistic eye and skill, you can easily execute this—especially since you already know what you want to see in your party. Additionally, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision come to life which is one of the reasons why you should consider this alternative as well. If you are having trouble with décor ideas, you can easily find inspiration online in websites such as Pinterest or several groups in social media that specialize in debut events.

4.) Get creative with the invites

Another way to minimize costs is to get creative with the invites. Besides, if you needlessly spend for party invitations, it would only go to waste seeing as guests are more likely to just glance at them and forget about them by the time your party is over. Instead, get creative and play around with your invites. If you want to go green, you can digitally make your invitations by creating a video and tagging all of your guests in it. Alternatively, if you want to take the traditional route, consider what your theme is and incorporate that into your invitations.

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Four Elements of A Traditional Filipino Debut


“It does not matter if you accomplished what was expected if you are capable of more” -Alexa Leigh Corbett

One of the quintessential rites of passage a female Filipino goes through her life is the celebration of her 18th birthday or her debut party. In a sense, it is the symbolic celebration of a Filipino girl’s transition into a woman as well as her formal launch to society. It is a coming of age party that denotes her maturity and her introduction to the modern and adult world. But apart from that, it is also filled with lighthearted and entertaining moments that would make for poignant memories in the years to come. Indeed, it is one of the grandest events that a Filipino girl would look forward to most of her teenage life. In fact, some of these girls have been meticulously planning this once in a lifetime soiree for years–down to every detail.

However, just what is it that makes an eighteenth birthday or debut characteristically Filipino? What are the elements that would make you identify it as one? Well, if you have been to a debut more than once then you may have noticed some similarities among them—some features that are always present. From the debut packages to the event’s program, there are a lot of things that makes an eighteenth birthday debut party truly Filipino, and here are just some of them:

1.) Eighteen Roses

Every Filipino woman selects eighteen of her closest male friends who would normally consist of her male relatives, boyfriend, and her dad. These eighteen lads would present the debutante with a rose as a symbolic favor so that she, in turn, would grant them dance. The usual practice was that it is the debutante’s father who gets to have the first dance and her boyfriend would be the last. However, debutantes can now choose to have a father and daughter dance entirely on its own so that you can give that special spotlight to your father instead of having him join the queue of eighteen roses. If you want a quirky or different twist, there is no absolute need to use roses or even dance the waltz. You can have a choreographed dance and utilize other flowers instead.

2.) Eighteen Treasures

Some of the debutante’s closest eldest relatives and friends are chosen for this segment. This is the part of the program wherein the eighteen selected individuals would bequeath a gift that would aid the debutante in her journey to adulthood. In most cases, the presentation of the gift is usually accompanied with a speech as to why it was chosen for the debutante and how it would aid her in her travails. Additionally, it would also be great if these individuals could impart anecdotes as well as sagely advice to the debutante.

3.) Eighteen Candles

The eighteen candles are symbolic of the light that is going to be guiding you as you take your journey towards adulthood. This is where the debutante chooses eighteen of her closest female friends and relatives who would impart advice, give her well-wishes and share stories along with a lighted candle. Make this part of the program even more festive by giving your candles a creative touch such as placing them in elaborate candle holders, or utilizing lanterns or anything else instead.

4.) Cotillion De Honor

In the debut party, the Cotillion De Honor is one of the main highlights of the event. It is that segment of the debut which marks the welcome of the debutante to adulthood. The cotillion de honor consist of nine female and nine male friends—a group of eighteen people that includes you and your escort. Traditionally, a choreographed dance by the cotillion would signify that the party is about to begin and it is how the debutante makes her grand entrance. Most modern debuts have done away with the waltz and have incorporated modern music, and dance moves into the cotillion dance instead.


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