3 Girls Share the Non-Traditional Ways They Celebrated Their Debuts

by Mara Agner   |  Apr 22, 2017
Image: Freeimages, Pexels Art: Clare Magno
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"I celebrated my 18th birthday with kids at an orphanage." —Kat Estrella


"I attended a couple of debuts months before my birthday, and each party I got invited to seemed to become more grand. I understood that their families had the financial means to throw a lavish debut, but I couldn't help but think how much they were spending for just one night. I couldn't help but think of the mouths of less priviledged children one grand night could feed.

I couldn't help but think of the smiles I could put on other kids' faces if I gave up my one grand night. So I gave it up and chose to celebrate my debut in an orphanage.

"Everything was prepared by either me, my parents, or my friends. From the script, to games, and even down to the program. I wanted to keep the traditional 18 treasures and 18 wishes, so I kept them in the program, but the treasures and wishes were not for me, but for the kids.

"People always say that your debut should be special because it's once in a lifetime, but what's my once in a lifetime if it means I could change several lives all at once? And even if it wasn't the grand debut every girl dreams of having, it was still special and unforgettable." 


"I spent my debut in Jollibee and opted for 18 Books instead of Roses." —Angela


"I'm not the biggest fan of traditional debut parties because it bores me. My older sister had one and I disliked the set-up, so when my turn came, I looked for something extraordinary but at the same time, also inexpensive.

One of my friends suggested that I celebrate my 18th birhtday at Jollibee. It was a joke at first but we held on to the idea just for fun, not realizing that we were actually planning it already.

"I'm always fascinated with playing dress-up, so we incorporated it into the theme: "A Kiddie Debut". And instead of the traditional 18 roses, candles, and wishes, I opted for 18 books. After the party, I did not feel like I turned 18. Instead, I felt like I just had a fun and blasting night out with my friends." 

"I visited 18 churches when I turned 18." —Franchesca Nicola Ocana

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"Every little girl looks forward to being 18, wishing they could celebrate it with a grandiose debut, wearing ball gowns and dancing the cotillion. My dream was different. Not once did I want to be 18 and not once did I dream of having a fabulous debut. I wished I could stay as the young, carefree kid that I once was. A day before my 18th was a Sunday.

After an early birthday mass at the UST church, my mom and dad decided to do a visita iglesia to 18 different churches around Metro Manila. I absolutely agreed with the idea so without any hesitations, I said yes.

"It was a very lengthy journey going in and out of the car, kneeling down to pray at every church, smiling and taking pictures (because my mom loves documenting every moment!) and mind you, studying inside the car because I had a quiz the next day (it was a Monday!).

"Halfway through completing the 18 churches, I received a text from our class president saying that classes were suspended the next day because of the transport strike. Indeed, God works in mysterious ways! I believe that in all of the blessings we receive every day, it is rightful to pay gratitude to the one up above for nothing is possible without him. In every church, I never missed saying thank you for everything.

How did you celebrate your 18th birthday?

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About the author
Mara Agner
Assistant Lifestyle and Features Editor
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