A Strange Filipino in a Filipino Gathering

I saw an invitation card on our dining table. It says, Ninong (followed by my husband’s full name) on the envelope, and inside is a card with the baby’s photo, name, the date and time and venue of the event. I looked at my husband and said, another inaanak.

The event started at 6pm, a strange time for a Christening. We entered a hotel, the buffet venue was set outdoor by the pool but the buffet wasn’t only for us. It was shared by all the other guests having their own separate events.

There was a stage in the middle of the pool, with a big poster saying “Live Band,” occupied by just anyone who wanted to use the videoke.

The event started by all the guests taking food from the buffet, grilling Samgyupsal on their own tables while waiting for the relatives of the baby to arrive.

My husband and his best friend put up the poster just before they went to the buffet. It didn’t say Christening. It said Dedication. I asked the wife of my husband’s best friend about this and she said, they aren’t Catholic so they call it dedication instead.

A lady almost didn’t survive an Aegis song and once she was done with her ambitious concert, the baby’s family took the mic to start their dedication ceremony. An old lady stood in front of us and started saying bible verses, talking about how the person should be baptized by the time he or she can understand the word of God and is ready to accept the Lord, good point, I told myself.

But then they asked for all the Ninongs and Ninangs to come over and greet the child and this part is not understandable to me. If they say they are different from the Catholics, they don’t follow the usual Christening and that the person should be baptized at the right age, then why do they have Ninongs and Ninangs?

As the evening went on and rounds of Samgyupsal were grilled, I got introduced to the baby’s other relatives and most of the people remember, not my name but where I work and I felt, suddenly, that it was my responsibility to be the Ambassador of the Maldives on that occasion.

‘Oh you work in the Maldives, where is it?’

It’s in the Indian Ocean.

‘Is it where the Malaysian Airline disappeared?

I don’t think so.

‘But you said Indian Ocean!’

The Indian Ocean is big.

‘Can you eat pork there?’

No it’s a Muslim country they don’t have pork there.

‘It is my dream to go there!’

I can help you get budget hotels.

‘Really? How much would it cost?’

I know a budget hotel that costs about PHP 35,000 ($650++) for 3 nights for 2 persons excluding flights.

‘It sounds cheap’ – in a mocking tone.

‘It is cheap for a Maldives holiday’ – said another lady who seem to understand travelling.

***

It’s 00:28 as I complete this post. Happy New Year Everyone.

Author: aysabaw

Aysa is a stubborn island girl, drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day, swimming with the reef sharks, turtles and parrot fishes almost everyday. If she is not reading her books, writing something comical, leaving rubbish comments on your posts or strumming her guitar, then she's up to some mischief.

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