"Magtapos ka ng pag-aaral mo. Yan lang ang maipapamana namin sa'yo ng Tatay mo." (Finish your studies. That's the only inheritance that your Father and I can give you) - does this sound familiar?
Most Filipinos can relate to this oft reminder from their parents. No wonder you will find Pinoy homes' walls adorned with line upon line of diplomas, all signifying that they accomplished what their parents asked them to do. Also, to most of us, there is a sense of achievement once this piece of paper is finally displayed on the wall.
Why do you think this is so?
Balikbayan is a Pinoy term that literally means return to one's country. And when a balikbayan comes home (whether for a vacation or for good), the whole clan just comes to life!
Our family spent a whole month with my mom who recently took a vacay from the States. This is why this blog was a bit quiet that entire time. We froze all our activities, even our businesses to have some quality time with my mother. We also spent our time visiting other relatives, eating out, pigging out, picnicking, raiding buffets, and practically everything else involving food. So, what else is so exciting about welcoming a balikbayan back?
Mahilig kumain ang mga Pinoy. This is a statement. It's not a question, it's not even an opinion. This is an unspoken truth that is accepted by every true blue Filipino. And while the whole nation is going crazy over the movie, The Hows of Us, I am trying to answer here an equally pertinent question --
Why do we, Filipinos, just love to eat?
Almost 40 people were recently arrested in Batangas & Laguna when they did not bother to stand up during the playing of the Philippine National Anthem inside certain cinemas. Kudos to the #PNP for implementing the law. Bluntly put, aprub na aprub ako sa ginagawa ng mga pulis.
I dunno how I got to truly respect the flag and the anthem but as far as I can recall, I have always been respectful of these heraldic items. Thank goodness I married someone who shares the same fervor so, naturally, we taught our kids to pay the deepest respects to the flag and the anthem when it is being played. We also taught them to stand very still and to put their right hand on their chest wherever they may be when the anthem begins to play.
Here's a section of the law that states why and how we should behave when Lupang HInirang is being played and what could happen to you if you're pasaway (unruly) --
It's San Juan Day today! Nope, 'not a Catholic but this tradition managed to become a nationwide thing each year. It originated in the San Juan, a city that's named after John the Baptist from the New Testament. John was the one who baptized Jesus Christ and in commemoration of this, each June 24, a feast is held in his honor.
But it's not just San Juan City anymore that's observing the basaan (water splashes), it is now common to see...
The Philippines has its fair share of typhoons each year averaging 20 which enter into the Philippine Area of Responsibility. As a young kid, we lived in a flood-prone area somewhere in Muntinlupa. We were also hands-on in supporting our kababayans in Leyte when they were ravaged by typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Thanks to some well-meaning friends from the U.S. and also here, we became instruments of compassion during that time.
Here are some of the photographs that my husband took of the typhoon-ravaged Tacloban in 2013...
It was literally impossible for men to stare out of lust. They were staring because I looked different.
If I will summarize my experience as a one-day Muslim, it would have to be in these three words – what a day!
When I was choosing which activity to cap my learning in Madrasah Education, I wanted one that would have me immersed in the very experience. I thought that merely observing prayers or sacred rites would not make me feel how it is to live and breathe Islam, hence, I ended up choosing...
I grew up in a home where pagmamano was strictly observed. This was our way of giving respect to the elderly. And there were specific moments when you are supposed to do this - when you just arrived home and when you're about to leave. Filipinos also have another tradition which is called the orasyon wherein they gather to pray. This is also one of those instances when you are supposed to do the pagmamano (right after praying, that is).
To do this, you need to take the hand (often the right hand) of your lolo, lola, mother, father, uncle, and just about any relative who is older than you (not your cousins or siblings, though) and put it against your forehead.
I am just wondering how this tradition is slowly dying...
Raise your hand if you've ever been stuffed with menudo, kare-kare, adobo, lumpia, fruit salad, and of course, lechon, when you were invited to a fiesta. And here's a dilemma that only a seasoned fiesta goer could relate to - your relatives and friends might feel bad (tampo) if you don't eat the food that they serve to you. But that's a good kind of dilemma, right? To be stuffed with food?
Or is it?
I have even developed a technique so mapapagbigyan ko lahat ng kaibigan at kamag-anak (I could indulge all my relatives) with their need to feed me - and I am sharing this method with you so you won't resort to sticking your finger up your throat so you could throw up - just sample each dish.
Yup, that's not a totally new technique but it works. Just get a teaspoon or two of each dish and then fill the rest of the minutes with chitchats so they won't bug you to have a take two (a second helping).
But the foods aren't the only reason why Philippine fiestas are just so darn cool. Here are the other whys -
E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.