The Philippines has a rich culture and tradition, and one of the most notable is the “coming out party” for their young women at 18 – debut.
Now, what makes this celebration stand out from the rest? Here are 12 amazing facts.
(1) It has been a tradition.
This celebration has been observed by the Filipino community for so long since aristocratic times. So it is expected that when a young woman turns 18, she will have a debut.
(2) It calls for a celebration.
The fact that the parents are able to raise their daughter very well during those critical years is a big reason to celebrate.
(3) It is a big deal.
This event is of the same importance with a wedding or a baptismal rite. There is this intense desire that a debut should take place. It’s like the parent’s obligation to make sure it happens as soon as their daughter turns 18. They think that her journey from being their little girl to becoming a woman will be incomplete without a debut. For some, they prepare as early as years or 6 months before the expected date.
(4) It is primarily for women.
When you talk about debut in the Philippines, it is considered a girl thing, an occasion meant for women. This is because men celebrating debut are hardly heard of. For the boys, whose debut age is 21, grand ball celebrations are only for girls. They’d better spend the time out with their friends in a bar and celebrate adulthood.
(5) Social status is not anymore an issue.
Historically, only those who are in the upper class have the interest to conduct a debut; it is one way for them to keep up with the current trend in their social circle and maintain a good reputation. However, today, everyone is expected to do it.
(6) It is when parents agree about her having a boyfriend.
Filipino parents only want the best for their daughter in such a way that they don’t allow her to have a boyfriend until she reaches the age of majority, which is 18. At this age, she is typically in her second year in college. So she can already go out and date someone.
(7) Only eligible bachelors are invited.
Oftentimes, it is the debutante who creates a list, which the parents go over afterwards. Eventually, this becomes a joined decision. The ultimate goal of which is to invite the best men in the society in terms of intellect, beauty, attitude, personality and family background.
(8) The debutante dresses and acts like a princess.
This signifies the Filipino society’s high respect for women. It’s saying that girls should be treated like a princess. This is actually one character that makes Filipinos stand out when dealing with different people. Most of them are very gentle, kind and respectful.
(9) There’s always a cotillion.
This waltz dance gives a royal touch to the debut, which takes four to ten minutes long. There are 9 pairs plus the debutante and her escort. Usually, proficiency of the steps requires six to eight months of practice.
(10) 18 is the lucky number.
A typical debut celebration features the following:
- 18 Roses Dance (each of these flowers is given by 18 male guests to the debutante)
- 18 Candles (each of these is lighted by her 18 close female friends after giving a speech)
- 18 White Roses (represents the debutante’s father in case of his absence)
- 18 Treasures (where 18 guests give a gift)
- 18 Shots (where 18 people take a shot of wine together to honor the debutante)
(11) It became a movie highlight.
This tradition has gotten the attention of the foreign media in the twentieth century that a movie was released highlighting this celebration.
(12) Some are celebrating with a cause.
These are the young women who want to make the celebration more meaningful by giving a donation to charitable institutions. What they usually do is hold the cotillion in a different hall and invite guests to pay tickets in order to see them. The amount collected is then added to their family’s donation.
So what do you say? Would you like to experience this amazing debut? Talk to us and we can help you find the best debut packages.
Camille on January 29, 2016:
I'm a filipina who is turning 18 in a year and yes I am having a debut. I think that it is the most important celebration for a filipina after the wedding
Aeva Gono (author) from Philippines on July 20, 2015:
Not really. Only those families who have the money. Oftentimes, ladies turning 18 are just celebrating with their families for a simple lunch or dinner. Not a grand one.
Patrina Breau from Germany on July 20, 2015:
Is having a debut part of everyone's life in the Philippines? :)