Houston dad makes Bad Bunny Christmas light show for daughter


All is bright — make that very, very bright — at Frankie To-ong’s Houston home, where on special nights, a multitude of candy canes, string lights, snowflakes and Christmas trees light up to the beat of “Tití me Preguntó” from Bad Bunny’s latest album, “Un Verano Sin Ti.”

Granted, a song about the Puerto Rican singer’s auntie asking him about his love life isn’t the most obvious choice for a holiday light extravaganza. But To-ong, who’s put up an annual show since 2012, said his 13-year-old daughter had asked for a Bad Bunny sequence to follow up the previous year’s tributes to Lil Jon and Drake — the tune’s catchiness was also a plus.

“I started thinking about what to do with the lights back in the summer,” To-ong told The Washington Post. “And I was talking to my co-worker, Daisy, who’s also a Bad Bunny fan, and I asked, ‘If I was going to do a song, which one do you think would be big?’ And she’s like, ‘Tití’ is going to be huge.’ “

From Macy’s parade to Spotify Wrapped, Bad Bunny is on top of the world

Daisy was onto something. “Tití me Preguntó,” which snagged the “Best Urban” song title at the Latin Grammys last month, was among the five most-streamed tracks on Spotify this year. And much like the artist, To-ong’s Bad Bunny-inspired montage also blew up — with his video raking up over 7.7 million views on TikTok as news about the Bad Bunny-themed lights made a splash from the United States to different corners of Latin America. Soon enough, To-ong said people began lining up and down his street in hopes of catching the viral hit.

To-ong insists it was an easy sequence to pull off — “it only took me about two hours to have it fully programmed,” he said — but the kaleidoscopic number of lights seemingly dancing to reggaeton looks like it was crafted by the hands of a tech mastermind. Throughout the “Tití me Preguntó” light special, the names of Bad Bunny’s “girlfriends” and their countries’ flags flash brightly as the singer lists them. But when Bad Bunny would normally blurt out a non-PG-type phrase, To-ong mutes the lyrics — instead, delivering a thumping beat that’s accompanied by blaring red lights, the “Un Verano Sin Ti” album cover and a floating Bad Bunny cartoon face.

Mexico to fine Ticketmaster after Bad Bunny fans denied entry to show

Although the “Tití me Preguntó” sequence has been one of To-ong’s most popular displays this year, it’s not necessarily the one he’s the proudest of — as a full-blown Houston Astros fan, that honor belongs to the homage he paid to his team’s World Series win over the Phillies.

“I went all out for that one,” To-ong admitted. “The whole game is narrated by incorporating Philadelphia anthems and Houston anthems and bits from the game. I call it next-level storytelling with Christmas lights.”

In Houston, those visual and musical storytelling chops have turned To-ong into a hometown fixture. Ever since his light show went viral in 2017, the 44-year-old has built a following for his yuletide mix of classic Christmas songs, trending TikTok sounds and smash hits — and of course, the occasional Astros content when the baseball season reaches its peak. This year, the Houston Chronicle named To-ong among the 31 “most fascinating and viral Houstonians” — a collection of people ranging from Astros Manager Dusty Baker to Brittney Griner, the American basketball player who was imprisoned and recently released by Russia.

“What I love about the light shows is that they’re all I love, all mushed together: tech and music,” he said. “It’s really awesome to see how these videos have traveled all over the world and having these artists repost them and say they liked it. But one of the most special days was putting on a Christmas show for Texas Children’s Hospital last year — it was amazing to give back to the same folks who had taken care of my daughter when she had heart surgery.’”

How a 1987 Christmas album changed the way the holiday sounds

To-ong is what you call “a cool dad.” By day, he works a corporate job. When night falls, he moonlights as H-Town Frankie, the houseblock DJ who starts decking out his home with lights around mid-October (because “you have to get ready for Halloween”). As soon as November hits, To-ong’s already jamming out to Christmas music, a telltale sign that his seasonal shows are just around the corner.

After that, “every night is a little different,” To-ong said — most times, a steady rotation of seven holiday staples starts to play when the sky turns dark, but once in a while he’ll bring out “a fun ’90s hip-hop mix or one of the year’s most popular songs.”

“It’s seriously like being back to my college-days DJ-ing career,” he said. “Music and dancing have just always been part of my life, and that’s the thing that I want to share with the world.”

Nowadays, To-ong said he’s looking for inspiration for his next light show — no promises were made to The Post, but there might be something in the works featuring another one of this year’s biggest pop stars.

“My daughter was asking for Taylor Swift,” he said. “She wants either ‘Anti-Hero,’ ‘Blank Space’ or that Romeo and Juliet-type song. We’ll see if any of those work.”

Leave a Comment