On birthday parties

August 28, 2006 at 10:30 pm 19 comments

We’ve had another busy weekend.  We’ve been invited to two birthday parties last Saturday. 

The first one was for the one-year old daughter of a kumare, my middle son’s godmother.  Reception was at a restaurant in downtown Chinatown.  The invitation was for 12:00 noon and we arrived there at exactly 12:00 noon.  Usually I would be hounding my husband to hurry up, but since I know that Filipinos usually come to these parties at least an hour late (we call this Filipino time), I just let him take his time.  But the thing is, the parking lot was already full and we couldn’t get a free parking spot on the street either.  We ended up paying $3.00 for parking.  Well, it wasn’t that bad.  And I was right. When we went inside the restaurant, only about half the guests had arrived.  

So we said our hi’s and hello’s.  Oh is this my inaanak (godson)? Ang dami ko nang utang sa iyo.  (I already owe you a lot).  Here, you can sit here with Mang George and his family.  Mang George and my husband used to work at the same company. 

The kids knew that food won’t be served until 1:00 p.m. and what would they do in the meantime?  They just sat there in their best behaviour and listened to me and their dad talk to the people in our table.  Ryland kept asking,”What time is it?” every five minutes of so. 

“Mommy, let’s play rock, paper and scissors.” 


So we did. 

After a few turns he said, “Let’s do the opposite.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“If you do rock and I do paper, you win.” 

We were both giggling as we played and actually, I think it entertained our tablemates. After we each had downed about three glasses of coke, the food started coming at just a little after 1:00 p.m.  First served was the crab and corn soup, which we all loved.  Next was the fried rice and dry breaded pork.  Then came the tempura shrimp, chowmein, pork with broccoli and lemon chicken.  The food was all right, except for the tempura shrimp, which was too much soaked in oil.   

When we were done eating, the waitresses started handing out Styrofoam containers so we could bring home left-overs.  We then gave our envelope, which contained our present ($$$) to my kumare. 

This is the tradition here among Filipinos for a first, seventh, 18th (debut for girls), 50th and 65th birthday.  Sometimes it’s just a lunch reception, but there are others who throw dinner and dance parties for these special celebrations.  Whenever we get an invitation for these kinds of parties, we would sigh, “Hay, gastos na naman.” (Sigh, here’s another expense.)  But it could be fun too, because we get together with friends whom we seldom see.    

Our next birthday party invitation was for 4:00 p.m. that same day.   This was for the 12-year-old daughter of a kumpare, my oldest son’s godfather.  They just moved to the outskirts of the city and they invited quite a few people I guess to also show off their newly acquired property.  Nice crib, by the way, and very spacious yard. 

There was a lot more food here.  As if we weren’t stuffed already.  There was pork barbecue, rice, different meat dishes, which I can’t name but they were all delicious.  Nanay Ayo, my kumpare’s mother-in-law prepared all the food.  There’s nothing better than home-cooked meals.  The other guests that arrived also brought food.  There was buchi, spaghetti and my favourite, the pancit malabon.   

My mother, my sister and her family were also there.  We are all close family friends, you see.  

My 18-year-old niece prepared the party games.  The three-legged relay race was won by my 16-year old son and my 13-year old nephew.  We also played  musical chairs.  The smaller kids were too shy to participate, so I volunteered myself.  So did my kumare, the mother of the birthday celebrant.  That’s me on the left in the picture.  The short chubby one.  I was trying to dance to La Vida Loca at the same time.  That was the only game I participated in as I got tired of going in circles around the chairs.  I should really get in shape.  (This reminds me of Bing’s post, “I’m in shape.  Round is a shape” wherein I commented, “I don’t think I’m round.”   Now, looking at this picture, I want to take that back.  I guess I was just in denial. He he he.)  The other games they played were: water balloon tossing, blow the flour, blow the biggest balloon and they also had the piñata. 

We gave our presents to the young celebrant.  I bought her something, which I think she’d like and it didn’t even cost $20.00. 

At around 7:30, I noticed the sun setting and what a beautiful sight it was.  Living in the city, we don’t really get to see the sun set at night.  But in the open space like that, they get to watch it every night.  It was just wonderful. 


We said our goodbyes at 8:00 p.m.  Nanay Ayo said that she was staying for the night to help them clean up after the party.  My kumare is lucky.  When I throw parties for my children, I get to clean up by myself.  Of course with a few help from the husband and the kids.


Entry filed under: Detour, Special Occasions, Winnipeg.

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ipanema  |  August 29, 2006 at 12:49 am

    Another tiring day?! But I think it was fun. Sometimes when you think about it, t’s like you’re paying for the food actually in lieu of your present. 🙂 Thouh we can buy practical presents which cost less. And sometimes it’s not the money you spent but the thought of giving and gracing the function is enough.

  • 2. Rey  |  August 29, 2006 at 3:36 am

    Birthdays are always fun to celebrate. There’s a certain aura in birthday parties that makes us want to experience it over and over again.

    I just don’t like the aftermath effect when we’re hosting one. Aside from the hangover of course.

  • 3. watson  |  August 29, 2006 at 5:19 am

    Beautiful parties. Parang nasa Pinas ka rin. Ganyan na ganyan ang dialog yata kahit saan e. Yung utang sa inaanak. hehehe!

    When we celebrated my son’s first birthday, ginawa namin sa labas. Ang sarap! Ang saya! Talagang ayos pumunta sa celebration ng mga bata, nagiging bata ka rin (kahit isa ka sa organizer, enjoy pa rin!)

  • 4. Eric  |  August 29, 2006 at 6:25 am

    That’s a beautiful picture of the sunset 🙂

    Wow! You guys did have a hectic Saturday as well, and obviously everyone had a wonderful time!

    It’s amazing how most Filipino foods are available almost in any part of the globe now. Did you take home some food from the second party also?

  • 5. ladybug  |  August 29, 2006 at 7:02 am

    It’s nice to know that even when Filipinos are living abroad, they still bond together and maintain a sense of tradition especially during important occasions like these.

  • 6. bingskee  |  August 29, 2006 at 7:38 am

    that’s a nice Saturday you had! that’s nice to know that Filipinos still bond and practice Filipino traditions even in other countries.

  • 7. Major Tom  |  August 29, 2006 at 11:01 am

    What a very busy weekend for you yet the foods were just eloquent. I wouldn’t mind the hazzles if they serve good food like that.

    But you know, bout this Filipino time thing, when Is schedule birthday celebration’s for my any of my kids, I always try to make it earlier like 3 PM so that even if the guest are late (which always happens) it won’t be as dark when the party begins. I dont really know why we Filipinos are like these. Maybe Americans are like that too. Or Europeans and Chinese people. Do they?

  • 8. haze  |  August 29, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    I guess some Filipinos even they are already abroad they (or we) still have this Filipino time…ganyan din dito sa France whenever there are occassions. Some wanted to be on time pero nga sa hintayan blues minsan nakakainis so the tendency for some of us to come late too di ba!

    Parties and celebration with fellow Filipinos make us feel at home, we can eat our own food, we can invite everyone, and syempre though it’s a bit magastos it’s worth to share 😉 !

  • 9. niceheart  |  August 29, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    Ipanema, that’s how we see it too. So the amount of money we give depends on how many we are. If the whole family goes, then we have to give more than if only one of us goes. If the reception is at a restaurant, the host is most likely expecting to receive money to defray the costs. Sabi nga nung iba dito ginagawang negosyo. 🙂

    Rey, birthday parties are always fun. And yeah, it’s the aftermath that sucks. 🙂

  • 10. niceheart  |  August 29, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Watson, familiar line among ninangs and ninongs, ano? Enjoy ngang sa labas gawin ang party, but we can only do this in the summer. Pagbagsak kasi ng snow malamig na sa labas. Bbrrr.

    Eric, I love pictures of sunsets, especially experiencing it. And yeah, we all did have a wonderful time. No, we didn’t take home any more food. We did have another serving though before we went home. Saka nakakahiya, wala naman kasi akong dinalang pagkain. Yung ibang bisita may dala. 🙂

  • 11. niceheart  |  August 29, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Ladybug, since most of our relatives are there, we sort of create our own families here.

    And yeah, Bing. I don’t think we leave our traditions behind just because we left home. They are instilled in our hearts and we still pass them on to our children, even here abroad.

  • 12. niceheart  |  August 29, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Major Tom, when I throw parties for my kids, I set it at around 1:00 p.m. My kids usually invite their friends from school, who are mostly whites and they are always right on time. If the invitation is at 1:00 pm, they’re at the door at 1:00 on the dot, sometimes even a few minutes earlier. Same thing when the parents have to pick them up. Always right on time.

    Haze, nakakainis ngang maghintay lalo na kung on time or maaga kang dumating. And yun nga ang tendency, nagpapalate na rin yung iba kaya ayun, lalung humahaba ang paghihintay.

    Getting together with other Filipinos really makes us feel at home. Nakakabawas sa pagka-homesick. 🙂

  • 13. Sidney  |  August 30, 2006 at 8:00 am

    Now, that was a busy day!
    Didn’t know there was a special party for the 50th & 65th birthday.

  • 14. ann  |  August 30, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Same here, almost every other weekend we attend parties, mas enjoy yung parents. Problem lang pag ikaw ang host, up to the 2nd day nagliligpit ka pa.

  • 15. Eric  |  August 30, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Hahaha! Reason I asked, Irene, kasi naging tradisyon na din nating mga Pinoy ang pabaon. Ang mga ibang hosts in NYC gets insulted if you don’t take home a doggie bag from their buffet table. Pero, kung di ako pipilitin, I don’t do it — nakakahiya nga … hehehe.

  • 16. niceheart  |  August 30, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Sidney, maybe it’s only the Filipinos here who do this. You know us, we love to party. 🙂

    Ann, I know what you mean. Inaabot ka ba ng two days? Sabagay ako rin iniiwan ko yung mga banners and balloons nang up to a few days.

    Eric, kasi meron pang ibang bisita nung umalis kami. Pero kung kami na lang ang natira, I’m sure pipilitin din kaming magbaon. 🙂

  • 17. Rebecca  |  September 9, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    Actually, this is a question. My children and I have been invited to a birthday party for my classmates 4 year old daughter. My classmate is Filipino and I wanted to try to acknowledge thier heritage. She told me not to bring food. What can I bring to say “Thank you for inviting us”?

  • 18. niceheart  |  September 9, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    I would say just bring a present. If she said don’t bring food, you don’t have to. But if you really want to bring something, go ahead and do. 🙂 I’m not much of a help, eh?

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • […] were on our way home from the birthday party of a friend who lives in the outskirts of the city when I pointed this sign to my kids and asked […]


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