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The Pasyal holiday playlist

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Neal P. Corpus

Posted on November 20, 2020

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An alternative Christmas soundtrack for one heck of a year.

The holidays are right around the corner. But with everything that’s happened (and still happening) this year, it’s understandable that the holiday spirit isn’t as strong.

By this time of year we’re usually knee-deep in Christmas In Our Hearts and All I Want For Christmas Is You, and in the hope of bringing even just a sliver of holiday fuzzy feelings, we’ve put together our version of a holiday playlist.

But to acknowledge the circumstances of 2020, we asked musicians and DJs for songs that aren’t holiday standards, but remind them of the feeling of the holidays. Read on for their selections and some warm virtual hugs.

Day One by Explosions in the Sky

From "The Rescue" (2005) by Explosions In The Sky

“[When I think of the holidays,] this song comes to mind a lot for me. I got this album around the holiday season when I was 13 and in the States to visit family for the holidays, which we would do a lot at the time.

I got the physical CD for this — which is pretty rare now — and I didn’t have an iPod at the time, so I would walk in the cold while listening to the album on a cheap discman.

The textures and the structure of the album reminded me of the snowy road trips spent looking out the car window in my adolescence. It’s goo to listen to when you’re driving home alone for the holidays, reading, drawing, or something.

It was made by EITS when they were stranded on tour, so it has the feeling of travelling home.” — BP Valenzuela, musician

Moon River by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean's cover of Moon River was released as a single in 2018.

“This is my favorite version of Moon River ever! I just feel like it has so much love throughout the whole song, just like Christmastime.” — King Puentespina, musician

Twilight Galaxy by Metric

From "Fantasies" (2009) by Metric

“It's true what they say: the holidays get a little less magical as you grow older. While this Christmas season promises a more certain sense of loneliness, it can be nice to lean into it and just Ride That Wave. This song has helped me through some tough times and just feels perfect for listening by myself in my room.” — Andi Osmeña, DJ

Light On by Maggie Rogers

From "Heard It In A Past Life" (2019) by Maggie Rogers

“I feel so much pressure to keep the energy up this holiday season, but it’s hard to do so when we were all suddenly put into this situation and are itching to know when things will be back to normal.

The lyrics in this song, backed by its warm instrumentation, remind me that it’s okay to feel down for now, and somewhat reassure that, eventually, things will get better again.” — Tom Suplico, DJ

Tulog Na by Sugarfree

From "Dramachine" (2004) by Sugarfree

“This song reminds me of friends coming over, singing old local songs over the guitar. The melody also feels like a lullaby that tucks you in.” — Andrew Panopio, musician

Cannibal Holocaust (Main Theme) by Riz Ortolani

From "Cannibal Holocaust" (2015) by Riz Ortolani

“I remember slow dancing to this song on what I’d say was the best Christmas I’ve had so far, so that’s the memory attached to this song to me now.” — Mersi Carballo, DJ

Como Fué by Laura Fygi

From "The Latin Touch" (2000) by Laura Fygi

“Most of this album makes me think of the holidays because it was something my lolo would play, at home and in the car. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately — as he played a big part in the celebration of the holidays — so I associate the soundtrack with him.” — Carlos del Prado, DJ

When I Met You by APO Hiking Society

From "True To My Music" (1982) by APO Hiking Society

For some reason this feel-good 1982 track reminds me so much of the holidays. It reminds me of warm gatherings, karaoke with the oldies throwing back to their yesteryear jams, paired with sumptuous meals.

It’s really a wonderfully nostalgic ballad that feels like a warm hug and a lovely, steady time like Christmas.” — Deej Fabian, DJ

Magic by Kylie Minogue

From "Disco" (2020) by Kylie Minogue

I’ve been listening a lot to Kylie’s new album [“Disco”]. I’ve always found disco music to be a celebration of sorts, so the vibe and the lyrics of Magic just make you feel good.” — Nacho Cuyegkeng, musician

Home by BTS

From "Map Of The Soul: Persona" (2019) by BTS

“Out of all the BTS songs I’ve listened to, Home is by far my favorite. The song is about belonging, and how they found it amidst the crazy lives they’ve created for themselves.

It also reminds me of the holidays, and how Christmas is about spending it with people you can call home. The overall feel of the song just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.” — Mafia Escasinas, DJ

Snow In My Heart from Ragnarok Online

In Ragnarok Online, Snow In My Heart plays as the theme song of the in-game town of Lutie.

“I spent a majority of my pre- and teen years playing Ragnarok Online and I made a habit — until college — of coming back to play it especially during the holiday season. This song, along with playing RO will always remind me of the simpler times I know I will never experience again.” — Jer Dee, DJ


Need something to listen to your holiday tunes on? Check out our list of headphones and speaker recos here.

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