Yesterday, because of a bet that I would chip in with the food and drinks if one of the guys in our village ever get married, I got to participate in an old Filipino tradition that I have never taken part of before (and one that I happily will admit that I’m very glad to have avoided in my wedding) and meet the reason why I lost the bet. Amy and the kids decided that they were too shy to participate in what will be a crowded event that will definitely make them stand out and filled with people they don’t know. Good call on their part, because I felt like I stood out even though I am Filipino. The event took place at a remote village (even more remote than the one we’re in) a few kilometers down the road from us. And by road, I mean “did someone plow this recently?” kind of road.
We started off with loading everything (chicken and goat meat that was butchered the day before, drinks, sacks of rice) on a specialized jeepney that can handle the incredibly rough road that we’re going to take. I regret not taking a photo, because the jeepney was loaded, with people hanging from the roof and sides. I got to sit shotgun, because apparently everyone here knows that I am not as flexible and nimble as everyone here is (another drawback of a close-knit community – everyone talks about everyone, warts and all).
After a short Jeepney ride (about 3 km) we had to get off because the next half of the journey is on foot. They don’t even recommend riding motorbikes in tandem, although some enterprising kids went with motorbikes anyway. They hike down to the village was beautiful, with views of the forest, river, rice terraces.
When we got to the village, we immediately set to work in the makeshift cooking area. One of the fascinating aspects of this tradition is that the men from the man’s family and neighborhood did all the cooking. The woman’s family and community provided the space and the tools, but it was the men from the man’s community who did all of the work.
It was a great time of celebration and laughter. Our friend stayed there at his lady-love’s place for three days, according to tradition, doing who knows what. I am guessing that they will then decide where to live, I am not sure. I am glad to have participated in this event, and saw that certain traditions are still upheld in the remote areas. It was such a great example of two communities coming together to celebrate the life of two of its members becoming one. It was simple, as things should be, but profound in many ways.