At home, my mom has this box of china that she rarely uses. She brags that these wares were older than me and that she had it since she was single. The china came with a set of cups and silverware. The silverware were thrown out from use but the cups and china were still intact. If I remember right, only two plates are missing in the set. Both plates broke for some forgotten reason. My mom uses it once or twice a year, usually on New Year’s eve. She said we should only use it for special occasions.
I guess it is part of the thinking in any Filipino household.
Apart from the china, we also have a table cloth, punch server and other utensils that we only use on special occasions whenever someone decides to throw a party at home. Filipinos know this very well. Whenever there are parties or local town fiestas especially in the provinces, Filipinos prepare the very best. We are great hosts to a fault.
Visitors get the best treatment in every Filipino home no matter what part of the country you are in. When you visit any Filipino household, you get the best room in the house, the best food they can offer, and even the last slice of the pizza. You will also be the first person to get the food and will be the last person they would ask to clean up. This is the Filipino.
The darker side to it though is that we Filipinos would rather make sure that a guest is entertained than be comfortable ourselves. We don’t mind borrowing money as long as we could throw the best party during the town feast. We don’t mind sleeping on the couch or at the most dingy part of our house as long as the guest is wel rested. We don’t mind that we go hungry as long as our guest is full to the brim. Finally we don’t mind being inconvenienced for the whole year as long as for a moment we get to show off our best and brightest to our guests even if it means having a debt the rest of the year.
The same thing is happening right now during the week-long Asia Pacific Economic Convention. Most of the major roads are closed. There’s police everywhere. Employees and most of the Filipino workforce who were supposed to take the main roads were left trudging those main roads because public transport is not available if not full. The usually dull Manila roads became colorful and well painted. No beggars were on the streets. Everyone got late at one point in time. Everyone felt inconvenienced by all these ruckus by the government in order to secure and impress delegates and world leaders who are attending the event.
No matter how much the people bash the government and their treatment of fellow Filipinos, the heart of the matter is that our government is showing how Filipino they could get. They are showing that Filipinos are great hosts. It is part of our culture and I do believe that whoever sits at the forefront of the government, the same thing will happen.
Yes, it is at the expense of its citizens but it is the same thing when a Filipino parent asks his or her son or daughter to sleep in their room in favor of a guest. It is the same thing as a Filipino household that cannot afford to buy spaghetti but would still serve it whenever a guest comes along. There are obviously a lot of wrong things you can point out here about our government and the way they handled everything poorly, but if given the change, we would have done the same thing because we are all Filipinos.
So as the convention continues, we’ll just have to bear all of these. It’s business as usual.