[Note : I don’t often confess such feelings but forming lumps in my innards right now are twin pangs of jealousy and missing coming home, as my high school batch (SJCS 82) are holding their Christmas party tonight, what I would give to see all those faces and relive all those memories, hikbi hikbi! Sorry for the belated plug, but foodies in Auckland, pls visit our Pinay friends’ Tata and Kaka’s http://keenbeans.blogspot.com/, you’ll never wonder where to go to in AKL for a sulit feed again ! Lastly, kudos to Justice Sec. Lilia de Lima for fearlessly doing her job, lastly (again) if you have a few minutes only, please take a while to enjoy how transcendently beautiful this Middle Earth is, thanks Mr Bong Bajo and Mr Glenn Macaspac! ]
YOU CAN SAY what you want about Pinoys and assorted Asians, but you can never deny in a million years that they love their own. Pinoys especially can’t get enough of fellow Pinoys, since we already see each other in the workplace, at church, in the supermarket (and weekend markets) and not the least, in the mall.
Let me explain. Pinoys the world over (I say this confidently even though I’m currently in a tiny corner of the OFW world) use every excuse to get together, chatter in Tagalog, Ilokano, Cebuano and whatever babel of dialects, enjoy Pinoy dishes and use the videoke, be it a binyag (baptism), birthday, anniversary or special occasions like Christmas, Easter and Independence Day. It’s almost as if being away from home makes us want to be around kabayan more often, it makes the camaraderie extra special, and doing Pinoy things extra meaningful.
Mahal and I went to two gatherings last weekend and dropped by a third, the common theme was they were all Pinoy organized and Pinoy themed, actually just put three or more countrymen (or women) in a room with pancit, kare-kare and rice, and by nature the whole shebang will be Pinoy-themed, and likelier than not, time will fly by like the wind.
The odd thing was that besides myself, all the females in the handa (first-birthday-baptismal shindig combined) were Pinoy, and all the males were Kiwi and white as Tasty bread! If you could imagine it, on one side of the room were the females talking about Piolo and KC, finding cheap bargains and perfecting their adobo, sinigang and tinola with local veggie and condiment substitutes, and on the other end were Kiwi blokes talking about their Fords and Holdens, the Rugby World Cup afterglow and how superannuation was going to affect their lifestyles. I forced myself to follow the male discussion, although my mind was on the Pinay showbiz to-and-fro across the room.
The similarity was that all the guys were Caucasians who had recently been stricken with brown fever, or an obsession to find a Pinay wife. Of course, I was blessed with one too, but I happen to come from the same country. That, the white brothers found strange.
And now that I mentioned the provisions, the essentials were there : noodles of different hues and shapes, as if we were going to run out of the stuff tomorrow : pancit canton, bihon and Pinoy spaghetti, lechon kawali from an unfortunate Babe in the City skewered on a spit, pork overkill with menudo, adobo and igado, buko salad to neutralize all that protein and San Mig to wash it all down, not cheap mind you (they punish importing all beers that compete with Kiwi lager) but worth every dollar.
There were no shy wallflowers when it came to singing in front of the videoke, who for the uninitiated is a combination data-chip and microphone contraption that you connect to a TV and produce endless hours of singing and venting of singing-career frustrations. The model I encountered in one of the parties was quite complete. Almost every song from the 70s, 80s and 90s was available, be it American, european or OPM. You could croon with Michael Buble and Air Supply one minute, rock with Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers the next, or live out your puberty and early adulthood with EraserHeads, Parokya ni Edgar and Cueshe. Since most of the users were Pinays, extra popular were songs popularized by Sharon Cuneta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Carol Banawa, Sarah Geronimo and any other entertainer that graced the airwaves of now or yesteryear.
Equally amazing was the kinship I discerned : back home most associations would be defined by your religion, hometown/province, profession/business, generation or whatever else categorization. In a foreign land where a Pinoy is a Pinoy is a Pinoy, it doesn’t matter what your previous life was in the Philippines. Everyone was welcome to break bread (or eat rice) with anyone else, as long as you belonged (by blood or marriage) to the big Pinoy family of friends, relatives or lovers.
I’m not a particularly enthusiastic partygoer, although I love a free lunch (or dinner) anytime. But when it’s a Pinoy kainan or event, as they say mas mabilis pa ako sa alas-kwatro. I’m not sure what the heck that means but be it the humblest children’s party or the grandest community fiesta, count me in and tell me what time to come, and how much contribution to bring.
Thanks for reading !