SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT YET WATCHED THE ANIMATED SHORT YET
Disney EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) launched its first-ever Christmas Filipino-themed advertisement!
The three-minute animated tale titled "From Our Family To Yours" tells the heart-warming story of a grandmother (Lola) and her granddaughter as they celebrate family traditions together with Mickey Mouse, a much-loved toy given to her by her father in 1940.
Philjay Somera Solar, a Pinoy based in Boston, shares a deep-dive into the Filipino culture and spirit that were shown all throughout the film:
First, I will not discuss the obvious thing like the mano, describing Lola as grandmother and the obvious parols. Many of the easter eggs I point out are minor and or seen multiple times - but I point them out based on first appearances. These are speculations / personal observations. Do not be confused if the things I point out do not make sense to you / you never had those growing up. Brand and Creative Marketing Director, Angela Affinita, tells us that many of the story derives from her experiences with her Filipina grandmother.
Opening scene: Everything here screams Philippines. You see the ocean (most likely Manila bay) and palm trees. Buildings are very 16th century Spanish colonial, American and Chinese architectural influence - Intramuros / Vigan City vibes. At 0:03 you hear a man screaming either taho or balut. You also see Jeepneys (although potentially incorrect time period unless its post WWII 1940s) and kalesas (2 wheel wagons pulled by native sized horses). At 0:08 you hear child Lola shout out tatay (father in Tagalog) and in the background there's also 2 Philippine Flags FLIPPED (notice how the red is on top and not the blue - potentially signifying being at war aka WWII. But technically this didn't begin until 1941). In the WAY back there's two lines of clothing stringed across the 2nd story floor being air dried. - a common trend seen in many Filipino metro barangays / neighborhoods.
Lola's father most likely came from the U.S. But how did he get there? He was most likely a "Sakada" (contract sugar cane work in Hawai'i), a "Pensionado" (Filipino international student) or joined the U.S Armed Forces. Mickey Mouse plushie was probably his "pasalubong" (a word used to describe souvenirs you give to family / friends). In 1940. Mickey Mouse was picking up more in popularity and was FINALLY in color, the original Disney Fantasia came out during this time.
0:40 - Here you notice what a typical Filipino household may have. To the far right is a flower pot which looks like a sampaguita (Jasmine flower in Filipino). If you look behind the Christmas tree, there is also the infamous giant spoon and fork (a symbol of good health for eating food) . Albeit a weird spot to put it + you never see the fork. BUT it's safe to assume that's what those 2 hanging objects are. You also spot the coffee table place mat, a "doily" (better seen at 1:40). Doilys are often crocheted, simple yet beautiful in its design and most likely handmade by Lola or her mother. Also notice the bronze/copper picture frame of another kalesa photo next to the Christmas tree. The sepia toned photos are used as opposed to a grayscale / B&W photo to help depict a "time period" of when the photo was taken based on the times technology (i.e. Lola's children pictures with her parents + nurse photo)
In the back you'll also see some type of plant - probably some type of money plant OR a peace lily. Both are often seen in traditional households. There's also a hanging grandmother clock above it - another status symbol of a Filipino household.
0:45 - Tin box "crafts" kit. Usually our lola's stored their sewing materials in a tin box, typically a Royal Dansk Cookie Box (google it) - but I'm sure Disney didn't do this for obvious licensing / advertising reasons. Aside from the parol making material - there's also red sewing threads in the box which is later used by the grand daughters to sew Mickey's ear back.
0:47 - China plates / pottery display. Look at that shelf. The infamous depiction of a Filipino immigrant dream. Owning elegant looking plate ware, never to be used. Just to flex as a status item.
1:10 - The decorative crocheted couch cover. Like the doily table mat, that blue and white cover was most likely handmade crocheted by Lola.
1:26 - When the grand daughter leaves the house look in the corner to the left of the umbrellas you'll see a walis tambo (Filipino broom). You can literally see the outline - it's a short handle stick and the fanned out broom bristles. Side note - there's Disney +'s Once Upon A Snowman on the T.V.
2:00 - This doesn't get any more Filipino than this. A picture of young Lola in a nurse uniform. Assuming her age when she was child in 1940, she probably became a nurse around 1965 (20-30s) during the Immigration and Nationality Act when a large influx of Filipina nurses filled the U.S. healthcare systems shortage of nurses (Small note: Disney UK posted this animation first before "Disney" posted it. Although Lola's father was in the U.S. at some point and time the 2005+ location setting seems to resemble U.K. neighborhood as opposed to a U.S. which also had a influx of Filipina nurses.)
Lastly, Lola's outfits were spot on with clothes my lola would wear especially during the winter. loose yet comfy fuzzy wool textured sweaters.
That's all really! Honestly the only thing Disney animators forgot to include was a nativity set haha! Let me know if you think I missed anything else.