Thursday, April 4, 2013

Filipino Hospitality

A few years ago, a priest who had done missionary work in the Philippines came and talked at my church during the homily. Of course, I attentively listened as I was curious about what he had to say about his experiences in the motherland and there's one thing that I remember that stood out as he related his story, and it was something along the lines of Filipinos, as a people, being hospitable despite their impoverished conditions.

I thought about that church homily as I went to my parents house this past Easter and had Easter lunch.

Eat! Eat ! Eat! my dad said while we were there.

This was often something he would say when I brought friends over while growing up

Dad: Are you hungry?
Friend: uhm...they were unsure of what to say.
Dad: EAT!!! eat eat eat!

And he would find whatever he could in our fridge and start plating food. My friends probably thought they had no choice but to eat, lest they would be rude, but then again it wasn't like they weren't hungry. Now, it wouldn't always be anything extravagant: left over lumpia, some chicken adobomade the night before, corned beef and rice, meals that some people might find strange, but was typical of what was eaten in our household.  If we didn't have food, my dad would search through the pantry and see what he could feed my friends.

You like spam? huh? I can make spam? How about corn beep?  I can make you corn beep! 5 minutes! Oh and there's longanisa or pork and beans?or there's some salted crackers.. and bread... Sit, sit, sit! I will make you something!

and if there was ever leftovers, he would try to get them to take home food

Take some food ! We get plenty!  and before any of my friends could say anything, he would have food ready for them to take home.

That's how it was at my house growing up, and still is whenever I go over to stop by my parents. The moment I walk through the door they insist I eat, and when I say I'm not hungry, their response is how come? as if something is wrong with me. It's part of who they are and their culture. And honestly, there's nothing wrong with it. Often when friends reminisce on the days when they'd come over to do homework or hangout, that's the one thing they remember : You parents are so nice, they'd always want to feed me. 

This sense of hospitality is something that I think I've acquired and if so, I hope to maintain as I get older and start having a family. I want to be that mom whose friends kids want to come over because I cook really food for them, like so good... they'll be asking if they can come to dinner. Maybe that's a weird goal to have, but I don't know.. I just like cooking, and having people eating my food.

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