I enjoyed a blissful family day yesterday spent in Temecula at the new estate of my cousin to celebrate his daughters 18th birthday. I married into a Filipino family 26 years ago, and have enjoyed the Filipino family party scene ever since. It goes something like this. A party is planned weeks ahead of time, or days ahead of time, it does not matter. 50 people are invited, 150 can show up. Nobody cares.
The food is... outstanding and lasts from the first "have you eaten" to the last "take some home". The party will be scheduled to start at 3:00, people will arrive at Noon, and continue arriving until late at night. If you are lucky, the roast pig (lechon) will arrive when the formal meal starts. If not, the meal will start when the roast pig arrives. Once the roast pig arrives, men will carve it to pieces with very sharp knifes. The skin disappears in a matter of minutes. I always snag a piece.
I will not go into the gambling, rest assured that every party, no matter if it is a wake or a baptism, will have some form of gambling. Party guests will bring their own tables, cards, tiles, and chips, and then setup in an out of the way corner, or the garage. The games will go on all night.
No Filipino party is complete without line dancing. At a typical party, the dancing starts when the sun sets, or when somebody starts to play Achy Breaky Heart (over and over again). Everybody dances - well almost everybody dances. I am not a line dancer, so I watch instead. My cousin and long time friend Neil is pictured dancing in front of his father-in-law. He has no shame, but who cares - it’s a party.
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