Planning Marceline’s Baptism and 1st Birthday Party in Cebu City: A Joyful Carousel-Themed Party!

Baby's first birthday with carousel theme

After three years of blogging hiatus, here I am again writing about a party…

And it’s not just “a party”, but a double celebration party at that!

Confession time: I’m not exactly the party-planning pro – not even a big fan of throwing a big shindig of anything. The last birthday party I threw was ages ago when Prym turned one. DIY chaos galore, a mad dash to find party suppliers a week before, but hey, it was a blast! Birthdays since then? Well, it has been a culinary tour de force at restaurants or a chill home-cooked affair with family and the folks next door, minus the whole birthday shebang.

Celebrating at home/restaurants was simply a practical choice.

My last blog post entry was in 2020, sharing three valuable life lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic had taught me. After that was a whirlwind of events, including the havoc that Typhoon Odette brought into our lives in December 2021, setting the stage for our decision to expand the family and give Prym a sibling. But hey, that’s a story for another blog!

And then came little Marceline, our chubby-cheeked 2nd daughter, born on November 1, the holy feast day of Saints. An answered prayer!

I had been thinking a lot about whether or not to baptize her right away. I’ve seen people giving their babies double celebrations – baptism and 1st birthday party at the same time. Even celebrities do that! For me, that’s practicality at its finest. I mean, come on, after shelling out a small fortune at a private hospital for Marceline’s birth, our wallets deserve a breather! We are not the Sys or the Ayalas who can throw unlimited parties on a whim.

As I said before, planning parties stresses me out. So you might wonder why I dove headfirst into planning Marceline’s big baptism and 1st birthday party in Cebu City. 

A health scare!

Short story time: A few months back, we found ourselves in the ER with Marceline, battling a common cold turned labored breathing. Her breathing and cough, the latter resembling a barking puppy, escalated into a terrifying ordeal. The ER doctor dropped a bomb that scared the sh*t out of me – intubation might be the next step if things didn’t improve. Cue panic mode, zero sleep, and an all-night prayer marathon. I even asked our friends to pray for Marceline. I am a believer in the power of collective prayers. Enter a guardian angel in the form of a young pulmonary pediatrician early the next morning. After hearing about the barking puppy cough sound, he quickly diagnosed croup. Correct treatment ensued, and after an exhausting three-day hospital stay, Marceline was on the mend. Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of collective prayers and a mom’s description of her child’s symptoms – in this case, a barking dog impersonation.

Then, I decided to celebrate Marceline as best as we could afford. It’s a good thing a huge blessing came along in the form of a new client. God truly provides when we pray and ask!

A lot of answered prayers, and answered prayers need some sort of thanksgiving to our Lord. I wanted it big!

If you want to skip the baptism part and go straight to party planning details, click here.

Private Baptism at The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in 2023

Baptism at SHP’s St Francis Chapel. Photo by Michol Sanchez.

Like her big sister, Prym, Marceline was baptized at The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Address: 242 Dionisio Jakosalem St, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines).

I wanted the baptism to be exclusive at their St. Francis Chapel. A private ceremony was convenient as I could choose the time and day I wanted her to be baptized. Of course, the convenience costs extra, but budget concerns took a backseat. Plus, the family has a priest friend (also a photographer) who can officiate the ceremony. Everything was as seamless as we could hope for.

Here are the updated requirements needed by the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church to book a baptism ceremony as of 2023:

  1. Documents required:

i. Photocopy of parent’s marriage contract

ii . Photocopy of child’s Live Birth/ Birth Certificate

iii. Completed Baptismal Application Form signed by the parents

iv. Written permission from your parish

2. To ensure that the godparent is a Catholic as per Canon Law, a photocopy of baptismal certificate of at least (1) godparent is needed.

3. Attend Pre-Jordan Seminar which is held every Friday, 7-8 PM at St. Francis Xavier Chapel.

Parents (preferably) the father and godparents who have not attended SHP’s Pre-Jordan seminar within the year are required to attend the seminar. If the parent and godparents have attended SHP’s Pre-Jordan Seminar within the past year, no need to attend the Pre-Jordan Seminar. If there are 50 godparents for a child, only 5 are required to attend the seminar.

4. For Regular/Group Baptism

o Schedule: Sundays only at 10:00 AM and 4:00PM
o Baptism Rate: ₱1000 with additional ₱100 per godparent

5. For Single Baptism:

o Schedule: ANY day, provide your own priest. You may request a Jesuit priest through the parish office.  

o Baptism Rate: Php2000 with an additional 100 per godparent.

O For the Priest Stipend: an amount of ₱2000 will be collected separately and the sacristan mayor of the parish will be the one to hand it to the priest.

6. Provide your own candle for godparents.

7. A minimum of ₱200 for the payment of the customized baptismal white garment.

8. Number of attendees allowed at actual baptism: for special baptism: 30 pax. For common baptism: 15 pax.

9. All payments made are non-refundable.

With Marceline’s ninongs and ninang. Photo by Michol Sanchez.

It’s such a shame that not every godparent listed came to the ceremony. Good thing her ninang Rishe came, or else, we wouldn’t have any female godparent present! As you know, it needs at least a pair of female and male godparents to be present during the ceremony.

Candles from Happiness is Handmade.

We got our beautiful baptism candles from Happiness is Handmade.

Godparents’ giveaways from The Krafty Hooman.

These cute resin keychains for our ninongs and ninangs were ordered from The Krafty Hooman.

Reception and 1st Carousel-Themed Birthday Party at Bayfront Hotel Capitol Site Cebu

As much as I wanted to take full credit for planning and organizing Marceline’s Baptism and 1st Birthday Party, I simply could not.

Balancing work with multiple foreign clients keeps me on my toes as a busy mom. While ‘me time’ is a luxury, no complaints here! Grateful for the blessings and the hustle.

So, I scoured Facebook for a party planner who could help me bring my vision to life. Of all the pages I stumbled upon online, I was amazed at the styling of DF Balloons and Party Essentials Cebu. Their stunning setups, jaw-dropping ceiling works, and a hassle-free package at Bayfront Hotel had me sold. It was a no-brainer, with the Bayfront Hotel Capitol Site conveniently located close to the church. Their package, loaded with all the bells and whistles, is a parent’s dream (if you’ve got the budget, that is!).

Marceline’s party was on the entire floor of Bayfront Hotel Capitol’s Borbon Hall, which has an estimated sitting capacity of 224 persons with stage, perfect for big parties.


DF Balloon’s hassle-free package at Bayfront Hotel is ₱65,000, good for 50 pax (additional 650/head for more than 50 pax), and it’s packed with inclusions, which obviously include the food and the whole venue styling! That is, at least, their base package. If you want more add-ons, you have to pay extra, which I did.

Here’s DF Balloons and Party Essentials Cebu base Hassle-Free Package:

list of package inclusions to a hassle free party package

As I invited more or less 75 people, I needed to pay for add-ons, including food carts and entertainment for the kids. I also contacted other suppliers for the 2x lechons, mobile playground, and additional souvenirs for the guests. Total cost of the party below.

Breakdown and total cost for Marceline’s baptism and 1st birthday party.

Yep, almost ₱140k! It’s 2023 – a party (double celebration) like this ain’t cheap!

Styling and Entertainment

Carousel-themed stage design. Photo by: Duerme Photography.
Look at that fabulous stage design and ceiling works by DF Balloons! Photo by Duerme Photography.

For Marceline’s 1st Birthday Party, I chose a Carousel Theme featuring a dreamy color palette of Lavender, Pink, and Gold. 

For inspiration, I wanted it chic, whimsical, and, of course, over the top!

Our stylists from DF Balloons and Party Essentials Cebu exceeded my expectations.

Photo by Duerme Photography. Whimsical Entrance Tunnel and a big standee with Marceline’s photo.
Photo by Duerme Photography. Dessert Buffet setup with loot bags and pinata.
Photo by Duerme Photography. Gorgeous ceiling works by DF Balloons and Party Essentials Cebu.
Photo by Duerme Photography.
Photo by Duerme Photography. Giveaways and game prizes.
Photo by Duerme Photography. Food carts.
Photo by Duerme Photography. Celebrant’s grand entrance.

Also, thanks to the stellar entertainment lineup, the party came alive with a hilarious host and a magician who added humor to his tricks, leaving the kids wild and the guests laughing their hearts out.

The package also included an on-the-day photographer who captured the unforgettable celebration.

The decision to include a mobile playground and inflatable at Marceline’s birthday bash had me teetering on the fence. Uncertain about the turnout, I was crossing my fingers, toes, and everything in between, hoping that the parent invitees wouldn’t bail last minute. The dream was to have a bustling party filled with little giggles and playful chaos.

Mobile Playground and Inflatable from INZZ Mobile Playground and Rentals. Photo by: Duerme Photography.

However, Marceline’s big sis Prym wanted to have a playground even if only a few kids would come. Ultimately, I decided this playground was all for Prym, regardless of whether a troop of kids showed up or just a handful. It was the best choice, as 12 kids showed up!

The mobile playground and the inflatable were from INNZ Mobile Playground and Rentals. If you want a mobile playground set up at Bayfront Hotel, you must have at least 80 guests to occupy the whole floor and make room for the giant inflatable. We were able to convince the hotel to allow us to use the whole floor at just 75 pax.

Breakdown of Mobile Playground Cost:

Package Cost: ₱6,500

Delivery Fee: ₱800

Electricity Corkage (Bayfront) – ₱1,000

Total: ₱8,300

I truly owe a big shoutout to our planner from DF Balloons, who basically did all the heavy lifting and spared me from a potential meltdown. Sending invitations and RSVPs a month before did stress me out. I found getting people to respond to RSVP to get an accurate headcount of who I was about to feed was the most challenging. At ₱650 per head, I gotta have people clearly say “Yes” or “No” to our invitation. If I stick to the 50 pax that’s in the package, what if more people show up, and we won’t have enough? If I order more, what if they won’t show up and we’d have food wastage? It’s like playing a high-stakes game of “Who’s actually showing up?”

With people saying “Yes” and then bailing out last minute (they had their reasons) and the silent types who didn’t respond, we had a mountain of take-home food that could feed a small army.

Ah, the joys and pains of party planning!

The people who showed up to Marceline’s baptism and 1st birthday party were the real MVPs, though! They literally set aside a time in their busy schedules to be there, to celebrate Marceline with us. It was truly heartwarming! These folks turned an ordinary day into an unforgettable memory, and we’re eternally grateful.

Here’s to hoping we’ll spot those familiar faces again when the next shindig rolls around. Because let’s face it, any future event without them would be like a party without confetti—just not the same!

Here’s the kicker: Marceline officially has one year of epic memories under her tiny belt. As we pack away the leftover party hats and attempt to remove glitter from places we didn’t know glitter could go, let’s raise a sippy cup to the wild journey of parenthood. 

Cheers to surviving Year One – let the toddler years begin, of course, with a grade-schooler also in tow!



About Author

A writer by day, reader, diaper-changer, monster slayer at night. She's the wife of a rock star wedding photographer and the mother of Prym, the unicorn rider. She loathes writing in the third person and terribly misses the taste of coffee in her mouth.

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