Christmas morning arrived hot and sunny! We had a full schedule ahead so tumbled out of bed around 7am. Back home there would be a frenzy of wrapping paper, bows, tinsel and toys to be examined…. not here though……… this is way better.
Here we perched on the sea wall and listened to the roosters and Miguel! Seven years old and on a mission to teach us Visayan, we soon discovered we had a head start on numbers as they are all in Spanish….. the rest was not so easy.
We were soon joined by his brother and cousins, there cousins and so on. Everyone is related to everyone else here, either through birth or marriage. So why would you worry about your kids when everyone around cares for them too.
All our food for the day was being laid on at Jigs house, breakfast was a feast of pancakes, the local reddish sausages (no idea of content, taste great though) fresh fruit and a fruit salad that appeared to contain pasta………. Tastes good so who cares! We also got to meet the family from 7 month old Jianne, to Grandpa who used to be the Chief of Police before he retired.
As guests of honour we had a long table set up in the backyard, next to the outdoor kitchen and in front of the 2nd family house. At least 3 generations live here, with husbands, wives, kids and the odd guest. Everyone mills back and forth between the two lending a hand as needed, kids, cooking, washing etc.
More exploring after breakfast, the last hymn was finishing up at the church and a mass of people poured out all at once, turning the quite streets into a bedlam of cars, motorbikes, cycles and people and of course firecrackers!
Seemed everywhere we turned there was a child proudly clutching a toy! Cars, guns, stuffed animals and for the real lucky ones a Skateboard!
Tata laid on a feast of Pork Adobo, fried chicken, veggies, rice and salad for lunch for all the CCC folks and Jig’s family all in true Filipino tradition.
Also in true Xmas tradition, I ate way too much and headed off for an afternoon nap. To be woken later by peals of laughter…… Alla looking decidedly like the pied piper with a child on either arm and a line of kids behind was coming back from the local store………. She had offered to buy what they wanted as a treat, when faced with their choice of candies, chips, chocolates they had all opted for Coke Cola and bread: the simple things in life………….
The cockfighting started again in the afternoon, obviously a very serious sport for the Filipino male. Whereas the kids had a new pastime…………. Hang out with the white folks!
The highlight of Christmas day was not food, not gifts, not drinking………. It was the Disco!
The local basketball court was set up with tables, chairs and huge speakers, it was also full of kids and around the outskirts were the adults watching closely…….. not the kids…… us!
Lea came up with the perfect icebreaker….. heard of the Hokey Cokey? It is a very corny song & dance, played at many a family get together when I grew up in England.
The local DJ had of course never heard of it, a handful of us strategically placed in a circle of hand holding kids, ran the show!
It was hilarious, the kids caught on immediately, especially the run into the centre at “Oh the Hokey Cokey“
Us white folks also had a secret weapon……… Gerry just happens to be in his late fifties with a white beard and moustache……… guess who came to visit, complete with a small bag of goodies for each kid. Yep! Santa Claus came to town.
Christmas in Malitbog was a lesson in the value of the simple things in life………….. laughter, trust & belief in the good in all of us.