So, in yesterday’s article, A Close Friendship, I told you about my friend, Jon. I left off at the point where Jon and I were talking on the phone – he in the USA and I in the Philippines – and he invited Feyma and I to an event in Davao. But, I didn’t tell you what the event was, or how we enjoyed it. That’s what I am going to do today.
When I returned Jon’s phone call a couple of months back, we chatted for a while and caught up on our respective families, and what was going on in our lives. After we got that out of the way, Jon asked me if Feyma and I were busy on July 1. Well, this was a couple of months back, so we had no plans for that date yet! I told Jon that we were free, and asked what was up. Jon told me that his mother’s birthday party would be that day. Mommy Cora was turning 80 years old this year! It was a real milestone, and we would not miss it for the world.
It so happens that ten years ago, Feyma and I were invited to Mommy Cora’s 70th Birthday Party too, but we were unable to attend, as we were right in the middle of moving from GenSan to Davao on the very weekend of the party, so we had to send our regrets that time. But, this time, we got plenty of notice, and made sure that our schedule stayed clear. To be honest, Feyma and I were a bit worried about attending, or maybe I should say apprehensive about attending. This was a “high class” social event, with some of the real moguls of the City coming for the party. Feyma and I absolutely love Jon’s family, but we are just “regular folks” who don’t really attend these type of parties, at least not very often.
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A few weeks after I talked to Jon on the phone, Jon’s sister-in-law came to the house and delivered our invitation for the party… there it was, right on the invitation… Attire: Strictly Formal! Wow.. what would we wear?
I have a Barong Tagalog, which I wear to weddings and other formal events, but my barong is a short sleeve barong, which is also called a “Polo Barong.” It is my belief that this is not considered to be too formal. I kept debating whether I needed to have a new barong made, with long sleeves. I asked advice from Filipinos who would know, but the advice I got was mixed. Some said that the short sleeves would be OK, others said that I should definitely get a long sleeve barong made. Feyma was in the same situation as I was, she had nothing really formal to wear. As it turned out, I decided to stick with my short sleeve barong, and Feyma went and purchased a cocktail dress for the occasion.
When we arrived at the event, on July 1, there was a big sign on the side of the Grand Ballroom of the Apo View Hotel which read: Welcome to Cora’s Red Carpet Event! Wow… I was still nervous if I would be under dressed or not, though. When we walked into the ballroom, I saw Jon. He was wearing a US style suit. I looked around, we were a bit early so the crowd was small, but I saw people in all types of clothes and I felt comfortable in what I was wearing. No problems… both Feyma and I fit right in.
I was able to spend some time with Jon, I visited with Mommy Cora, and also talked with most of Jon’s siblings.
During the 3 hours or so that we were there, Jon and his siblings provided entertainment, singing, dancing and various other forms of entertainment. It was great! The family really serenaded their mother and I am sure that she felt very special. Feyma and I were able to meet a lot of the “upper crust” type people of Davao too, which was nice. They were all so nice to us, and even told us that they hoped we could get together again soon. While we had been a bit apprehensive about attending, it turned out that we had the time of our lives!
The dinner that was served was a five course meal, and it was quite good! I felt a bit intimidated when I sat down and saw an array of silverware staring me in the face, not sure which one to use on which course, but I figured it out, and had fun in doing so.
As we sat there at the party, as it was starting to wind down, I got to looking around and realized that most of the attendees were long time friends of Mommy Cora. There were a lot of people there in their 70′s and 80′s, perhaps at least half of the crowd, from what I could see. Others in attendance were mostly family members. As I thought about it, I could not really see any friends of Jon, or other such people. It seemed to me that Feyma and I were really the only such people to be invited. It humbled me and made me feel special at the same time. The fact that we would be invited to such an event was a real honor.
Feyma and I headed home feeling so happy and blessed to have been included. I would like to take this one last chance to wish a very happy 80th Birthday to Mommy Cora. You are a special lady, and I think you for the kindness and hospitality that you have shown to me and my family!
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.