A Filipino Party
Food brings us together
It has always been our hello
It’s been our goodbye
It’s been part of our celebration
(Note: The above quote was taken from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.)
Last Saturday I was invited to a Filipino party at Quarry Lakes. It was a nice day to be at the park. The sun was out with the temperature hovering in the 60s. It was still breezy, but the sky was blue with no hint of rain at all. After weeks of winter storms, it was quite a relief.
I arrived at the rented picnic pavillion on time at 12 pm. There was hardly anybody there. Filipinos are known for being late at parties. If you want them to arrive at 12 pm, you should set the time a couple of hours earlier. That usually works, but not for lunch parties. If the invite says 10 am, they will think it’s a typo. However, don’t wait for any call to confirm as they’re smart enough to know nobody in his right mind will start lunch that early.
Being of Filipino descent, I sometimes wonder where we inherited this penchant for tardiness. Maybe from the Spaniards as we had been under Spain for 400 years? I really don’t know. It looks like an ego thing. The more late you are, the more you feel important.
After helping the host fixed the ice and drinks in the cooler, I decided to walk around the lake and take a breath of fresh air. The promise of spring was all over the place. I saw songbirds, egrets, herons, and wild ducks. Everything looked so fresh and green. Even the dandelions were getting ready to display their colors.
After an hour I came back to see guests had started to arrive. Soon the place was filled with laughter and camaderie. You could feel a special bond developed between each person present, a connection hard to describe but easy to feel. At that time, there was no other place to be.
As usual, there were plenty of food. A Filipino host usually prepares more food than necessary. Even if everybody gobbles up more than three servings, there would still be more food left. This is one reason why folks don’t mind being late to the party. They don’t have nothing to fear that food will run out.
After the the party, it’s customary for the host to offer the guests a doggie bag to take food home. Better accept it. Otherwise, the host would take it as a personal offense.
Filipinos love to eat and each host would leave no pots unturned to keep his guests happy and well-fed.
In 2007 Anthony Bourdain, the famous chef, food writer, and TV host, went all the way to the Philippines to get a taste of the country’s traditional food and hospitality. Fortunately, a lesser mortal wouldn’t need to travel that far. Attending a local Filipino gathering would more than likely provide him with the same experience.