Monday, October 04, 2004

Stress-free Reunion

Friday night was reunion night with some of the Fernandez’ of Palawan, from my mother’s side. It was the birthday celebration for my mom’s aunt, and her immediate family flew in from the US to attend. At first I was jittery about the whole affair because I hardly know my relatives from that end, especially the elder ones, but the event turned out to be fun and relaxing.

It was held at a convention hall popularly known as Kapitan Moy, converted from an old Spanish house right across the Our Lady of the Abandoned parish church and the new Marikina Shoe Museum. The front of the hall features a spacious bench-lined open area and a little corner monument which embodies the city’s title as shoe capital of the country. Former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando did a spanking good job in repurposing the area, and yet keeping much intact.

The reunion atmosphere was jovial and unrestrained. Most of the loudest laughs were courtesy of the older folks. My mom’s cousin Carlos hired lounge singers from Chef & Brewer for entertainment, and many of the attendees were encouraged, sometimes forced, to sing. Of course, I had to do my share.

During smoke breaks, I chatted with the Norwegian husband of another of mom’s cousins, and learned a few bits about life in Oslo in contrast to life here, and a thing or two about pumping oil. (He’s a marine engineer, who shuttles between the mainland and Norway’s oil rigs.) To him, San Miguel Pale Pilsen is the best beer he’s ever tasted.

If there’s one particular thing that’s refreshing about the affair, it would be that no one asked me if I had a girlfriend. There wasn’t any pressure of the sort at all, despite the general knowledge that all my siblings are married with kids. I suppose everyone knows by now about me.

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