Oh, Guess What?

Flowers from WowPhilippines

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!

Article continues below pictures.  Click on the picture for a larger view.

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!

Learn Bisaya/Cebuano

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)

Post Author: Paul Thompson (263 Posts)

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!


Comments

  1. Neal in RI says

    Paul
    Nice story. Does that Ninong privilege come with a ongoing commitment of spending $$ or do I have it confused with something else.
    I am impressed with your knowledge of the sacrament thing. I thought that was when they make you drink out of the wine glass and pass out the wafers.

  2. says

    Listen everyone Paul is a Good Ole Navy Man likes a Little RUM and lots of Crab Meat now and again..He seems like a Good Ole Boy to us..You know Navy People are the Greatest…Ask my wife !!!! A Filipina been in the Canadian Navy 10 years..Have a Great Retirement Paul…Hope to Meet You Some-day…

    • Paul Thompson says

      Bob;
      You’ve been missing awhile, I’m glad your back on LiP. Retirement is going great except for one slight hitch: “There are no days off, and no vacation time” but I’ll get through it with a Ice Cold SMB. Good to have you back!

  3. Paul Thompson says

    Neal;
    To be sure there will be future money involved. But then I’m 65, and Jason is but 3.5 months old, it the grand scheme of things I won’t be here when the real bucks kick in! (lol)
    Communion is also one of the sacrament thingies, I was the little dude in the dress that rang the bells, and stole some church wine after mass to consume with the boys in the field behind the Adam’s Street Movie House every Sunday afternoon. But that’s another storey altogether.

    • RandyL says

      I too was an alter boy but unlike you, I was not corrupted at such an early age. lol. Father kept a tight inventory on his ‘cases’ of wine. I know this because after mass, Father would take the newly uncorked bottle and it’s remaining contents to the rectory, where I’m sure it was disposed of properly….uhemm. He also stored his unopened cases of wine at the rectory. We would have to fetch them occasionally and there always seemed to be at least one opened case. Maybe the housekeeper? Then again, I don’t think so.

      • Paul Thompson says

        Randy;
        A storeroom in the vestibule of the church they foolishly kept that horrible tasting wine, it was far better off as water. Sunday, Johnny Gleason’s dad owned a funeral home, and provided a pint of 180 proof (drinkable) Alcohol. The rest of the group would furnish the Welch’s Grape Juice. The mixing and then Sunday afternoon would begin. Ah, the lack of memories!

  4. chasdv says

    Hi Paul;
    Ha ha (ROFL) i sympathise with your agony, lol.
    I am also kept in the dark until the last minute, it must be a Filipino trait.
    Forward planning “what’s that”, it’s ok darling, i’m a magician, lol, lol.

  5. Paul Thompson says

    Chas;
    They sit around discussing and planning things in Tagalog, yes, I might be passing by, or sitting off to the side lisning to some music and having a cold one. I think that’s where they assume I’m well versed on the subject. But like I used to tell the Captain of my ship when before the mast; “Sir; if I don’t remember it, then it never happened!” BTW; that never worked, but it always got a laugh and reduced the punishment

  6. Paul Thompson says

    Loren;
    Me? I had a slice, turned my back for a second and then took that last picture. No lechon, no beer, no rum, time for Paul to mosey on partner! (Just a little Colorado talk added in)
    Scott last week wrote a great story on Filipino Time, I just gave an example of what he was writing about! (lol)

  7. says

    Hi Paul – Like you, I have vast experience of both using and being abused by the Mushroom Methodology of Management. I’m convinced though the reasoning used in the case of delayed intelligence is to make sure you have the minimum time to make up an excuse to opt out of the event. That’s why they say living in the Phil’s is full of surprises or in the case of the foreigner, shocks more like it. But you must admit they come up with the most wonderful logic to ensure your attendance at the most unlikely of events. Personally I think they just don’t want to see you being left out when there is a chance to catch up on the news and have a feed while there about it at either yours or someone else’s expense.
    Regards.
    Jim.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Jim;
      Oh how right you are, but sometimes I believe they really thought they told me. No, how right you are! I was under the Mushroom Syndrome, otherwise they could not have explained their absents, the following morning.

  8. Scott Fortune says

    Paul, you must have been completely accepted as a Filipino. I believe they gave you the 10am show up time to ensure you would be there when you were actually needed at 11:15am. :) Filipino’s know how to manipulate the filipino clock so that guests arrive at the TRULY correct time! HAHAHA

    I learned REALLY fast about becoming a Ninong. I felt honored to be aked on my very first trip. THen I was asked again shortly after rreturning home, and then again shortly after that. I quickly realized that being a “godfather” to a child in the Philippines is NOT like it is here in the States. There, it is a way for you to bring gifts for the child. I’ve already been asked to provide money, instead of a gift for the child, which I refuse. If I am to provide something for the child, then it will be something of NO USE to the parents. A toy, usually educational in nature, is my traditional gift.

    I’ve also, since, refused to be a ninong. The asking stopped quickly after they realized I would not be used by their children. I will be invilved with the children’s lives if they would let me, but don’t force my hand.

    Sorry Paul, I didn’t mean to turn this into a soap box. I’m glad you enjoyed your party, and I hope you got your SMB when you arrived home. :)

    God bless you!

    • Paul Thompson says

      Scott;
      My Ninong advice is to only do it for family members (My my Son-in-Laws) brother’s son like I just did, or VERY close friends. The rest I politely decline. So keep that soapbox handy, you’ll need it quite often here.
      The beer REF at my house is what I like to think of as “The Horn of Plenty” it seems to replenish its self the next morning.

  9. RandyL says

    Scott, the scheduling thing…trust me, it’s not planned that well. Filipino time cannot be managed, manipulated, or altered, but it can be corrupted! The only real event most Filipinos are on time for is church services (Mass), but they will be tardy for just about everything else including their own funeral. I know this to be true because the first and only funeral I ever been to in the Philippines, the deceased was over an hour late arriving to the church! Go figure.
    As far as the ninong thing, my limit is one boy and one girl, which is well publicized by the way! ;)

  10. Bob New York says

    Sounds like another first hand encounter with Filipino Time. I have been trying to think of any actual experience with this during my visits but can not recall any. I am sure this is something I may be caught up in at some time or another. When that happens I am sure I will remember this and the other articles here on ” LIP ” and maybe, like so many other things I have read here will make it more of a humorous situation than aggrivation. So much for the key participants in this event arriving in Filipino Time, more importantly did the foods arrive on time ? LOL

    • Paul Thompson says

      Bob;
      My eldest daughter YoHanna is a classic example of Filipino Time management as she has never been on time for anything in her life. UNTIL her daughter joined a swim team, and was barred from competing twice a few years ago for showing up late (Hanna was the reason)
      She came to my house very upset and expounding about the unfairness of it all. I smiled and told her that I agreed with the officials, as she was inconsiderate of all the other swimmers there waiting. She is now on time or early for every meet. Everything else, she’s back to normal and late.

      • rovineye says

        Many layers here. A general get together will start at least an hour late, with NO ONE showing up before that. An event that has free or pre-paid food buffet style, you better not show up late or you will be SOL! When setting up for my big annual party, which starts at 1PM, I have no shortage of early arriving guests volunteering to help set up the dart boards and bar at about 7 AM!

        • Paul Thompson says

          Rovineye;
          I needed a letter of not same color (My car had been painted) My appointment was at 14: and the lawyer showed up at 15:30. I had already left, went down the street found a lawyer that was home and got my letter. The next day he called because I’d missed my appointment. But on the party front your lucky they didn’t start the night before with the preparation. I’ve seen that happen!

  11. Miss August says

    I’m a godmother to a little girl here in the US, the parents are one of our very closest friends. I also have one goddaughter whom I very close to. I just don’t understand why in the Philippines you can just ask anyone to be a godparent to your child. I know when my friends ask me to be godmother, we’ve talked about that if something happened to them, I will help raise my goddaughter. It was serious “business.”

    When I move to the Philippines, someone will ask me to be godparent to someone’s baby and I really don’t want to do that. Being a godmother for me has a different meaning and responsibilities. I guess, I have to find a good way to let my relatives know that I don’t want to be godmother for their baby’s christening. I wouldn’t mind being a Ninang for wedding on one my nieces/nephews or a very close family friend but not to people I don’t even know.

    • Miss August says

      I want to add, I have nothing against being a godmother as long as I have close relationship with the parents. Now, my problem is how to decline nicely without offending people.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Miss August;
      You are correct, when you said; ” my nieces/nephews or a very close family friend but not to people I don’t even know.” That has always been my rule. I was a guest at a Baptismal here and 11 people were lined up to be the God parents. I was thinking about the custody battle if something unforeseen happened to the parents.

      • Miss August says

        Wow, 11 godparents! Isn’t that a little excessive? When I was christened, I had two godparents and another godparent for when I had my first communion. When I was growing up, I was closed to my godparents and they treated me like one of their children. I got scolded when needed and loved by them until they passed away. I guess that’s why I view being a godparent differently.

        I don’t want to generalized but it seems these days, they want lots and lots of godparents for the monetary value (presents, etc). I know of some children, who only sees their godparents on their birthdays and holidays to collect their presents.

        LOL I’m not really sure if you’re being facetious about your custody battle remark, but I think you are. :-)

        Maybe if I let it be known that I’m not interested in being godparent to anyone outside my close relations, I don’t have to say no, since no one will ask. Or like you said just politely say no.

        • Paul Thompson says

          Miss August;
          Facetious be thy middle name, but your reason for the amount of people is spot on. They feel it’s a numbers game, and the more numbers the better the odds. In the states it is normally a man and woman, who are very close to the parents and it is a horror to be asked.

  12. Dans says

    paul,

    just a suggestion, you should start gossiping, that way, you would know who will be baptized next lols.. that’ll give you a good head start of “making plans”, how about a week vacation with friends ? hahaha

  13. Larry Saum says

    Hi Paul;
    I’ve never attended a christening that involved 25 babies at once. That must have been something.
    I’m visiting with my wife’s cousin in Seattle this week, and just this morning that my wife and I are to tour the Boeing aircraft plant here in Everet, Wash. and could I go online and purchase the tickets please. This was not on the plan as I knew it, but then I also am often a bit behind as I don’t speak either Tagalog ot Ibanag. Last night’s party with Karaoke singing was also not on my list either but it was fun anyway. Often it is best to just be ready when someone says get in the car and lets go. I also am not the driver during this trip, so…

  14. Paul Thompson says

    Larry;
    I can’t speak for all churches but Saint Joseph’s have one Baptismal a week, on Sunday at 11 or 12 whenever. You need not sign up or make an appointment and they will baptize as many as show up. The priest can then schedule his time for more important matters such as golfing and such.

  15. Papa Duck says

    Paul,
    We’re all proud of you since you answered that question lol. It looks like they didn’t even leave any bones from the lechon. Paul if there is anything you need from the states when i come in October don’t hesitate to ask. I will be more than happy to accomodate you. Take care

    • Paul Thompson says

      Papa Duck;
      There were two cats hanging around under the Lechon, when the humans were done there was a tiny bit lest for them. I can’t think of anything I need from the states, I damn sure don’t want any Obama bumper stickers (LOL). But thanks for your kind offer.

  16. chasdv says

    Paul,
    I think i’ve stumbled on a good excuse for not being a Godparent,
    “Sorry, but i’m not RC, therefore it would not be right for me to be Godparent”, lol.

  17. chasdv says

    Paul,
    I think i’ve stumbled on a good excuse for not being a Godparent,
    “Sorry, but i’m not RC, therefore it would not be right for me to be Godparent”, lol.

  18. sugar says

    Hey Paul, have you been to Cebu? They have one of the best lechon ever! well just that cholesterol staring at you and heart attack.. he he…

  19. Paul Thompson says

    Sugar;
    I’ve been to Cebu many times, but the best Lechon I’ve ever had was from Puerto Rico. I know I’ll be asked to leave Bataan for saying that, but it is true.

  20. Mark G. says

    Paul as usual I always leave with a smile on my face after reading your posts. I often find we have sponsored something I wasn’t aware of until after the fact but I don’t really mind because it’s always for close relatives, lol.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Mark;
      Like basketball teams? I found out one time when I noticed my name on the shirts. She told me about it then. I would have done it anyway, but the surprise is fun too.

  21. gerard says

    Hey Paul,

    Sorry to deviate a bit. But here is a cooking tip I can suggest.
    I noticed in the last pic – end of lechon baboy – you still can make a good lechon paksiw dish out of the pork leg and some skin leftover…with chopped roasted pork liver, vinegar, water, black pepper, bay leaf, salt, sugar and alot of garlic. Put it all together in a pot with the chopped leftover lechon..simmer and braised it for an hour…voila you have a classic Pinoy comfort food!

    • Paul Thompson says

      Gerard;
      Normally at my parties by that time of night that the lechon looks like that I’m going to bed and no longer worried about cooking. But I will pass your recipe on to the duty cooks for their information. Thank you.

  22. sue-lang says

    Hi Ninong Paul! :D

    You are such a sport! It only goes to show how much you love your wife and family and will do anything to see them all happy :)

    Well in our case, if there’s one thing I have learned after being married to a foreigner is to “regulate” the flow of invitations for sponsorships (weddings, baptisms, etc), donations that has been coming our way eversince we moved here. When I was still single, I’ve been offered to become ninang to babies whose parents I was not even close to! And of course being Pinoy, i know how their mind works, just coz they know I have no dependents therefore I must’ve lots of money! LOL Its a sad thought but its true, it has become a money making scheme for others. More so now that i got married to a non pinoy guy, I just have to use tact and diplomacy whenever my husband and I gets request to become godparents or sponsors. I would say, we take the role of being a godparents seriously and unless we know the parents or close friends of ours then we would be honored to be godparents but to be chosen by some stranger and be among the dozens of godparents for their kid! I don’t think so. The sincerity is lost somewhere but nevertheless we send gifts to the babies at the time of christening. :)

    • Paul Thompson says

      Sue;
      Well said and I could not agree more, I do not take the request lightly and as you said so very well I must really know or be related to the requester. Even as you added I also will send a gift and most times attend the ceremony as I always seem to have a great time. Thanks for your comments and I hope people will learn from it.

  23. Paul Thompson says

    Randy;
    Of course but then you have to call me Kuya Paul! And I’ll call you my Anak Randy. Then I’ll drink all your beer and go home. (lol)

  24. Toti says

    Mr. T. (Paul), You have a very good sense of humor. You are a very good sport going along with your family and having fun as well. You remind me of a very good friend of mine (actually like a father), born and raised from a small town of Weymouth, Massachusetts. I stumbled on Mindanao Bob’s magazine a few months ago, searching on life living in the Philippines. I am Bisaya, originally from Southern Leyte, been in the DC area since 1978, now wishing I could be back there again. I envy you all. Keep on writing.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Toti;
      I have a brother who lived in South Weymouth for many many years I know the town well. I glad you’ve found LiP and home you can get home to the Philippines soon; no one should have to live in DC (lol).
      BTW All my brothers live in a Massachusetts town that begins with a “W”
      West Wareham
      Whitman
      Wakefield
      And I’m the odd ball in Dinalupihan!

      • Toti says

        Paul,
        I will tell my friend you’ve lived in South Weymouth. Did you know any McNamee while you were there? Four years ago, my family and I went to Boston and passed by Weymouth to take pictures of my friend’s old neighborhood, right next to the water. I will tell Carl also the W towns you mentioned, I’m sure he knows them too, although he’s been in the DC area since the early 60s. He still has a brother and a sister there. Is Dinalupihan a town in Bataan?

        Ha,ha,ha, DC is not too bad, but I’d rather be closer to the beach or the mountains. Is it you who knows the Tampa and St. Pete area? That will be our second choice of where to live someday. Fort De Sotto beach is nice.

        • Paul Thompson says

          Toti;
          I lived in St. Pete for a couple of years after hurricane Hugo chased me out of Puerto Rico. Then I flew out to San Francisco to ship out. The left coast of Florida is a great place to live, McNamee Family is not someone I know, but I left there in 1964.

  25. jiji says

    I wish you can be friends with my grumpy uncle so you can rub off some of those positivity on him. Again, i love your article and enjoyed reading it.

    You, Chief definitely wins the Mr. Congeniality title hands down!

    :D A Very Advance Merry Christmas Chief! ho ho ho ho! :D

    and

    Regards to Tita Mayang and the rest of the family!

    • Paul Thompson says

      Jiji;
      I avoid grumpy people I mean do you need that in your life? Bob brought up Christmas on face book, that’s enough for this year. But I look forward to it and another good time will be had by all.

  26. rovineye says

    It was about 8 years again now that I became a God Parent to a close family relative (close, gotta be close as you say!). The Christening was on Christmas day, and there were dozens there for the same thing! Why? Because it was free on Christmas day!
    Strangest part was that I was NOT expected to attend. Everyone expected me to pay a tiny bit for a stand-in! Nahh. If I am gonna do this I am gonna do it right. It was long, hot (duhh) and crowded. Many folks wanted to talk to me tho.
    Sure it takes a bit of cash from time to time to uphold the position, but my God daughter is true joy.

  27. Paul Thompson says

    Rovineye
    I understand, I have a niece that I mention all the time her name is Shay-hay. she was born in 2000 a few weeks after I retired, So I see her every day for the most part. I found out a couple of weeks ago she is now living at our house, and she is most welcome. So I can relate to you and your God Daughter, as they do get under your skin in a very good way!

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