Stories Plus Food – The Perfect Ingredient to a Happier Holiday Meal

We just ended 2019 with our sumptuous home feasts and again welcomed the new year with an even bigger gathering. The Philippines is known for having the longest celebration of the holidays with family reunions starting as early as the first week of December and only saying their goodbyes with each other a week after the New Year. This month-long festivities are indeed a perfect time for Pinoys to bond and strengthen their relationships with each other and all are done – you know where – right in front of the table!

Filipinos have close family ties and always love to talk about their whole day with their parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Later, they still come down to smaller groups (by batches, that is), have a drink, and reminisce on their shenanigans. And all these talks will never be complete without the Pinoy staples like #CrispyFry coated fried chicken, sweet spaghetti, a colorful fruit salad, and the malagkit! And just like what Eats Jeremy previously featured in a video, Filipino superstitious beliefs will always – ALWAYS – be a part of the gathering.

With our lolas and mommas telling us not to serve this and that, the holidays can be one happy mess with the millennials and xennials sharing their own insights in life.

It was hilarious to see how Jeremy looked like as he digests her mom’s beliefs along with his food. It was even funnier when he looked so surprised hearing about how the older generation clips leave of cabbages in their pillows in the belief that doing so will bring more food to the table in the new year.

I am as fascinated when I remember how my mom would talk about the clan’s own superstitious beliefs. I remember her telling us during the holidays to always put a bowl full of bigas, another bowl for salt, and one more for sugar in the belief that our family will have an abundance for the whole year.

Growing up in the millennial age, I am not really a firm believer but superstitious beliefs have been a wonderful part of our culture. Sometimes, they are even more effective in taming the more spirited generation like ours than getting some butt-spanking.

But the point is, it’s always fun to listen to our elders when they share stories of their lives. For me, as a grown-up man who already has his own family, I learn a lot of valuable things from them that I apply in my own home. All the learning we get from the table is simply indispensable.

Are you familiar with the phrase “Nung bata nga kami” that’s always being mentioned during family gatherings? Funny enough, I find them boring when I was younger. But now that I have my own family to listen to my stories, I use it too often!

One time, I remember, I talked to my wife, while preparing our table for media noche, to make sure that we have 12 fruits on the table because during my younger years my lola would tell us that it will bring a year of prosperity to our family.

Eating our favorite meals will always be the best when shared with our family. And I couldn’t imagine celebrating any Christmas or New Year without gathering everyone at the table.

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.