Christmas Morning, 2011
I had forgotten what Pasko (Christmas) morning was like in Manila. For years I have spent the holidays in the provinces and on smaller islands where I could enjoy the peace and quiet, and even go fishing for a few hours.
This morning I was reminded exactly “WHY” I have been going to the other islands and provinces… Starting at 4:00 am, the roosters started their morning ritual to see which rooster could crow the loudest. However, after 15 minutes of crowing, even the loudest rooster stood no chance of winning, since their own crowing started waking those who had received new and VERY loud karaoke machines and/or sound systems and/or new music disc’s for Christmas.
The sounds of roosters crowing were drowned out and eventually silenced by wanna-be “snoop daddy’s”, who forced everyone within 10 kilometers to listen to their off-beat and tortuous howlings. One was so close that the walls and bed of the house where I was staying in were shaking, rattling and rolling to the bass beat. There were no less than four of those howling idiots going at the same time. Evidently, they were copying what they had learned from the roosters, who have, for years competed each morning to see which one was loudest to claim their territory, (and we were right in the middle of it all!)
I felt especally sorry for the newborn baby in the next room. At a time when she is supposed to be enjoying peace and quiet, she was awakened by the bombarding sounds of pain and agony (The Snoop-Daddy wanna Be’s) and we were helpless to silence them for her). Ironically, the next door neighbor loved Freddie Aguilar as much as I do and the entire Christmas morning and day were dedicated to his painful renditions of Freddie’s songs. He had no idea Freddie is a friend and that the following day I would be telling Freddie himself of this turn of events.
On the other side of the house was proof positive of the saying…, “those who can, SING, and those who cannot, RAP”! Just my luck to be caught in the middle… on one side was a “singer” who could not “sing”, and on the other side was a “rapper” who could not “rap”.
The sounds of the competing sound systems were interrupted only by the wonderful aromas that filled the house, rising from the kitchen from five AM till seven, at which time we couldn’t ignore the aromas anymore and we all rose and went downstairs only to find a table full of spaghetti (with two sauces, my favorite included sweet longanisa sausage) tinapi (rolls and breads, violet ube cake from Goldilocks, a sweet-sticky rice mixture called arose-valenciana, various fruits, including apples, mangoes, papaya, bananas, pineapple, grapes, oranges, pears and more. All of this, and the smell of fresh coffee too! WOW! Talk about a sensory overload! Still to come later is the yellow fin tuna I bought for the occasion. We will cook that in ihaw ihaw style (over hot coals, with orange slices placed within the fish before it is cooked.
My host has definitely outdone herself, and each of the children would bring home their contributions to the ever growing feast. The relatives always stopping in to say hello, and to bring even more delicious Filipino goodies to the table, and receive some of what was cooked in our house.
Lest we forget that the eldest sister, under contract in Hong Kong, sent a Balikbayan box containing a generous supply of spaghetti and other goods, including delicious chocolates! OMG! (Oh my God!) Pass the Alka Seltzer! Ako Ang Busog! (I am so full!)
Well, the Karaoke and Sound Systems are still competing at their highest volumes, but they do not seem so loud now, as the sounds of chatter, laughter and seasons greetings, byvisiting family and friends now fills the air. Oh well, let them sing… if that is what makes them happy, then I say, Merry Christmas (Maligayang Pasko) and Mabuhay! (Long Life). For all I know, I may be criticizing the next Willie Garte, or Freddie Aguilar.
Speaking of Freddie Aguilar, bukas (tomorrow) I will be going to his new club, “Ka Freddie” in Malate. I hope to have video for you upon my return to the states. I have not seen my friend in years and I am really looking forward to it. I even have a new prosthetic leg for him to autograph, ha ha. (PLEASE NOTE: When I went to Ka Freddie the next day, Freddie had explained to the entire audience that both himself and two of the members of his band were nursing a cold and flu (sipon and ubo) which was the longest he could ever remember in his career. Oh well, the show was great and I am even happier to have video taped what Freddie himself described as one of his most challenging shows. It only proves how great he REALLY is when he is feeling at his peak! And remember, not only must the show go on… but this was on a MONDAY… THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS! YAY Freddie!
Oh well, MERRY DCHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
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