Celebrating a Traditional Filipino Birthday: Queenie turns 1!

This is a looong overdue post but I really want to share it with you, especially since it’s a huge milestone in my life as a mother. My little girl turned 1 year old last November 19, 2017 and we had a big party to celebrate her first year on Earth.

In today’s blog post, I’ll talk about how we celebrate a traditional Filipino birthday and share some tips and tricks on how to prepare for your child’s birthday party.



No party can push through successfully without the proper preparations. For Queenie’s first birthday party, we had to prepare around 6 months in advance. This included looking for possible locations, searching on Pinterest for theme ideas, securing our caterers, and saving up for the actual party.

We didn’t actually do much during the first three months of our 6-month-preparation-period because we wanted to finalize our theme ideas first. Queenie’s favorite color is red and she adores princessy stuff, so those were our two priorities when finalizing our theme.

Queenie’s gorgeous dress in her favorite color!

The next three months consisted of more active preparations. We got a reservation for the venue, we contacted all suppliers, and we started doing decors. It was also when my husband and I started actively saving money for the party.


We didn’t want to spend a lot on the decor so we had to prepare everything well in advance. Most of our decor were actually done like children’s art projects! We even enlisted the help of our cousins and nieces and nephews in order to create everything. We had a lot of fun while doing them though and definitely don’t regret going down that route.

The Event Proper

After months of preparations, it’s finally time for the actual event. Most relatives received invitations but others were just invited verbally. And although making the party RSVP would’ve been helpful to control the number of guests, we didn’t want to do that since not everyone views RSVP parties in a positive light. Some people think RSVP parties are “elitist”, believe it or not, and The Dad and I didn’t want to deal with that problem on our baby girl’s very special day.


The caterer serving food

As with any traditional Filipino birthday, we also prepared plenty of food for all our guests, like pancit, spaghetti, papaitan na kambing, menudo, afritada, kaldereta, lumpiang shanghai, fried chicken, and pininyahang taba.

And since kids were our main guests, we also prepared lots of goodies for them too! That means candies, chocolates, marshmallows, and other sweet treats.

Overall, it seemed like both adults and children alike enjoyed the food. I guess all the hard work and preparations paid off!


The party started at roughly 1PM and ended at 5PM. The first half consisted mostly of waiting for everyone to settle down, eating early merienda, and saying birthday wishes for Queenie. The latter half of the event was reserved for all the activities.

Face Paint

We hired someone to do face paint for the kids, giving them the option to request any design they want. It really made us happy to see the kids with all kinds of fun designs on their faces!


It’s not a traditional Filipino birthday party without a karaoke session! We let our guests sing to their hearts’ content thanks to the karaoke machine we had rented for the event.


Some neighborhood kids prepared a short dance presentation for Queenie’s birthday party. It was certainly fun watching them!

Magic Show

I’ve always wanted to see a payaso (clown) at a party and my daughter’s birthday is definitely the perfect chance for that. They served as the hosts for the games and also did a short magic show for the kids.

Now that’s a captive audience!


A traditional Filipino birthday party cannot go without traditional Filipino party games like karing-karing and pukpok palayok.

Queenie especially enjoyed the karing-karing! She may be still just a baby but it’s obvious how fascinated she is about the entire thing.

The pukpok palayok is like a Filipino version of Pinata. Basically, you hit a pot until it breaks, giving your access to all the goodies instead. The only caveat? You’re blindfolded the entire time.

Queenie also enjoyed this segment of the activities, although she was too young to try the pukpok palayok herself.

I actually don’t know what this box thing is called, but we saw it on Pinterest and I thought it was a pretty great idea.

The clowns also had this very makulit game where kids had to touch one body part to their partner. So if it’s forehead to forehead, nose to nose, cheek to cheek, that kind of thing!


What’s a birthday party without photos, right? My niece (the girl holding the bottle in the lowest right photo) volunteered to take photos of all the activities. Here are some more photos of the event!

Budget Breakdown

We actually spent more than PHP 50,000 (USD 1000) on Queenie’s first birthday party, aside from the prizes we gave out for the raffle. It’s crazy how much these one-day events can cost.

Here’s a more detailed budget breakdown!

  • Food – Roughly 30k went to the food.
  • Activities – The clowns charged us PHP 1500 (USD 30) for around 3 hours of hosting. The othger props cost us maybe PHP 1000 maximum.
  • Decor – It didn’t cost much since it’s all DIY, perhaps PHP 2000 max, including the balloons.
  • Outfits – Queenie had two dress changes, but only one of those was new. It cost PHP 1500 (USD 30) while her shoes were just PHP 250 (USD 5).
  • Labor – We paid PHP 6000 for the caterers to serve food at the event. It also included the table set-up.
  • Miscellaneous – Around PHP 1000 give or take.

5 Tips To Prepare For Your Kid’s Birthday Party

Are you also getting ready to prepare for your kid’s birthday party? Here are some of the things I learned during this event preparation that I’d like to share with you.

Always prepare beforehand

You can’t go into a battle unplanned. Not saying that organizing a party is like a battle, but it’s kind of similar, no? What I’m saying is, always, always prepare beforehand. After all, planning is already half the battle!

Stay firm to the theme that you want

You’re going to see a lot of beautiful images on Pinterest, and believe me, you’re going to want to include them all. Don’t.

It’s so easy to get tempted when you’re surrounded by plenty of gorgeous images, even I don’t know how many times I wanted to change the theme.

But remember: it’s important to stay firm to the theme that you want, especially if you’ve already started shelling out money. If you change themes multiple times, you might incur expenses that would’ve been unnecessary had you sticked to just one right from the start.

See where you can scrimp and where you can splurge

Everyone in this picture aside from the clowns are part of the family!

Although we spent more than 50k on our daughter’s first birthday party, most of the budget actually went to food. Like any traditional Filipino family, our guests consisted of our huge extended family with relatives up to the nth degree. Around 200 people attended the party and since we obviously couldn’t scrimp on that part, we decided to cut down our expenses on other things instead.

The tarpaulin that my husband designed for our daughter.

For example, my uncle is the owner of the venue and he gave it to us rent-free for the day as a gift for Queenie. For the sound-system, we simply brought our own amplifier speakers from home. We didn’t spend much on the decor since most of it is DIY, thanks to Pinterest. We also got a huge discount for the tarpaulin since it was The Dad who designed the whole thing.

And despite the large budget allotted towards the food, we also managed to cut down on catering expenses. One of the many things I’m grateful for is that traditional Filipino families are large believers of helping each other out, which means it was also members of our family who did the cooking, all for free.

Have funds available for emergencies

Kids lining up

No plan ever goes perfectly smooth. Always make sure that you have some extra funds for emergency expenses. In our case, it was actually a rather unnecessary, yet still welcome, expense. The ice cream guy randomly brought along a friend of his who ran a cotton candy cart. We figured the kids would love cotton candy anyway, so we decided to pay for the cotton candy cart too, even though he appeared unplanned.

Don’t give up

Preparing for any event is hard, even more so when it’s a family event. Always be optimistic. Most importantly, don’t give up! And remember that your family will always be there to help you if the going gets tough. The Dad and I personally don’t know what we would’ve done without the help of all our family members and we’re eternally grateful for their help.

And that’s it for my baby girl’s special day! We went through great lengths just to make it come true, but we’re happy how it turned out. One thing’s for sure: we’ll forever remember this beautiful day as something special for as long as we live. Happy birthday again my darling Queenie!

All our love to you, my Queen MJ!

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