With all the ladies I’m surrounded with, in my day to day life on the mountain here in purok #4 Roosevelt, Dinalupihan Bataan, I sometimes feel like an afterthought. It’s not a bad feeling, but a smidgen of 411 (information) once in a while would help smooth out the rough edges of my life.
Last Saturday (19th of August) the day was winding down, supper was over and I went upstairs while the ladies settled in to watch Wil Time Big Time and gossip about the things that were transpiring in their lives. While watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel, Mayang appeared carrying a small envelope and informing me that at 10:00 the following (Sunday) morning I was scheduled to be at Saint Josephs Church (Why they named a Church after a Baby Aspirin, I’ll never know?) “Mahal, pray tell, the reason why I should be the one to be the one to being there?” I asked. “Because the Christening last week was canceled due to the flooding, and it’s now going to be tomorrow morning.” Mrs. Thompson explained to me. Well, as I scratched my head, the basic problem lies with the fact that even last week I was not informed of the original Christening or its cancelation. Plus I had no idea who was involved, or why my exalted attendance was even required? The question of why I was being told now with only 15 hours advanced notice was well beyond my pay grade to comprehend.
Now my Daughter Ymir Thea becomes involved in the clarification as to why Paul Thompson was thrust into the lime light. Daddy, you know Melvin and Grace Abellana, Cecile‘s (my Son-in-law) brother and wife. Ah a part of the fog was lifting, but the sky was not quite clear yet. Well their son Jason Matthew who was born two weeks before my grandson Jayden was being inducted in the folds of the Roman Catholic Church. And she was to be a Ninag and I was to be a Ninong, and the little dude was going to be our Anak, what a lucky little guy!
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I arrived at 10:00 hours as per the invite; they (The Abellana family) arrived at 10:45. We take our seats and I notice I’m over dressed, I’m wearing a Barong Tagalog and dress slacks, and every other guy is wearing any damn thing they want, to include t-shirts and shorts. I should know by now!
11:00 this guy comes out and starts speaking Tagalog to the crowd, and I turn to my daughter and requested she tell me what that is all about, Nothing much she told me, just instructions on what’s going to happen in an hour when the Priest gets there. So I sit as the young man drones on in Tagalog, but he does stop and in English asked the question; “Does anybody know what a Sacrament is?” He waits without receiving an answer; I kick back to my Altar boy days at Saint Ann’s in Boston, and said; “It’s the calibration of something that the Church holds sacred.” Mother Superior would have been proud of me, but still would have pinched my ear, as I didn’t raise my hand. Hey, I was just holding up my end of the conversation. The congregation was amazed; I found out later, that because I’d answered the question, everyone then assumed that I spoke Tagalog. They forgot that the question was in my mother tongue.
As no more questions were asked in English I excused myself and went outside; I’ll be back when the Priest shows up. 11:15 he arrives, as did I and the ceremony went as best as could be expected when trying to Baptize 25 babies at one time. It was pure pandemonium but fun to be a part of.
It’s over and now we depart to the Abellana house, a fleet of Tricycles and a new old Honda was bring up the rear. The foods was ready, for mass consumption, and the Lechon Baboy was laid out in all its splendor, and not to forget the dreaded Karaoke machine, that is required any time four or more Filipinos gather.
Melvin is quite upset no beer was there me, and since he’s been to a few parties at my house he was further upset that no 12 Year Tanduay Superior Rum was available for my drinking enjoyment. Panic was setting in, until I pulled my host aside and informed him that I was not having anything to drink that day as I was driving. You could see the fear drain from his eyes and a smile cross his face. If it had been there I would have had a cocktail, but said what I said, so my host could save face.
We stayed an hour or two, thanked everyone for their hospitably, and said goodbye. I smiled because as soon as we left, the Emparador Brandy (Emparaflu) was broken out and the real party got started. (We have spies everywhere.)
So I’ll settle back into being kept in the dark*, until the next situation rears its head. But I don’t really mind that much, because I know it’s just the way it is and will always be. It really is more fun in the Philippines!
• Kept in the Dark: In the navy that was referred to as the Mushroom Syndrome (Being kept in a dark dingy cave, and fed Bulls**T until you’re needed)