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In celebration of good memories and quality time, the iflix family gets together to share how they find ways to be thankful every day

“Tara kain tayo!”—an invitation often heard as the holidays draw near—perfectly sums up the Filipino holidays: Food is aplenty, family and friends stay close together, and everyone and everything radiates warmth. Our iflix family’s holiday celebrations are no different, as Iza Calzado, Sunshine Dizon, Ruffa Gutierrez, Karylle, JM Rodriguez, Diana Zubiri-Smith, and Sam YG reminisce about family, food, and fun times.

On food

From humble moments at home to lavish holiday celebrations, the iflix family shares traditions they hold dear, and sentimental family dishes that are mainstays in their personal histories. Sharing dishes prepared with love is always an intimate experience, just like how Diana and her friends are often cooking for one another. “Minsan, may magyayayang mag-dinner, or lunch,” she says.

For Ruffa and JM, it’s sometimes not about who cooks but whom the food is shared with. “I’m always with JM, and Iza as well. When our schedules permit, we hang out and have dinner together,” Ruffa says.

The gang always meets up to discuss iflix business, but as friends who work together, they can’t help but inject a little fun into the affair. “By the time we actually talk about iflix, busog na kami. We’re already at dessert, just talking and laughing and catching up, like, ‘Guys, we still have a meeting!’” JM agrees. “You know, when we meet up for serious iflix meetings, it’s never serious, ‘cause we’re just laughing and laughing,” he says.

On quality downtime with family, friends

“Family first” is a way of life with most Filipinos, and it’s a cultural value that these iflix stars share as well. Karylle is a family woman. “My family is the number one and it really has to be first in everything,” she says.

The best way to observe the Filipino love of family is during the most ordinary moments found in the most ordinary of days. Activities that are seemingly mundane, like going to the mall on weekends, are actually building blocks of collective memories that one can look back on. “’Yung mga anak ko, technically mga SM babies ‘yan. Talagang weekly,

“It becomes like a barkada when you talk about, ‘Oh, ano na napanood mo?'”

‘pag papasyal kami, ‘yun ‘yung go-to place namin,” Sunshine says, adding how a typical day-off with her family went way back when they were based in San Fernando, Pampanga. Iza has always been fond of spending days at SM with her family. “You know, SM North Edsa child ako. Tapos, kasi taga New Manila kami, syempre nung nagbukas yung SM Megamall, lagi na kaming nasa Triple V, French Baker. Those were the days,” she recalls.

On being thankful every day

As the year draws to a close, it brings the chance to look back on events that marked 2018, and the iflix family recounts the little things that made a big difference to them this year. Being part of the iflix family is a blessing all seven are thankful for.

“It’s like a new home. Because you know, galing kami sa iba’t ibang networks, so it’s different pala sa digital. But you know, it’s the right kind of different,” Diana muses, as she is asked about the reunion of the four original Sang’gres—something fans have been waiting for for over a decade. “It’s a dream project,” adds Karylle. Aside from this, the stars appreciate the little things.

“The mere fact that I’m alive, that is one thing to be thankful for already,” Ruffa says, referring to the challenges of being a single working mother to two daughters. “It is not easy. On some days, it gets difficult, but I always just count my blessings and I think that’s what’s important.”

Sam himself has had a whirlwind year with his new show, Hot Ones, like the cherry on top. But he also doesn’t forget to continue looking forward. “As much as I’m thankful for everything I have, I think it’s also a wakeup call for me to not slack off, to be even better, to push my limits,” he says. “It’s always about what’s next.”