On birthday parties
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.