Retired in The Philippines?
Guilty! That I am – I’m tired and now I’m re-tired! I’ve been so busy lately that I have had little time to set down and write anything. When I seem to get a lot on my plate, I have to take a break from all the slow-paced enjoyment of life and shift gears. See, fiesta season is once again upon us and there is always many things to do to get ready for the big day of the celebration… the eating day! I don’t do much in the overall scheme of putting anything together, except to participate in the shopping for the food. I have nothing to do with food preparation, although I did managed to sneak into the kitchen early and peel some boiled eggs to break up the boredom. I am however the self-appointed drink manager; my job is to make sure we have plenty of drink choices and that it is cold. I also usually appoint myself as the table and chairs set-up guy (and also put myself in charge of the music), since mingling with all the cooks is frowned upon. So I just go at my own pace, and oversee anything that needs overseeing, which isn’t much.
Outside the compound, the run-up to this years fiesta had some twist and turns and in the end, it worked out as well as could be expected (except for one certain neighbor – keep reading). The road into the barangay has been under construction, and as fate would have it, not completed in time to handle the extra traffic to the village. Our plaza (basketball court and multi-purpose court) has been under renovation for some time with a brand new roof system being installed (which we never had before) and with the resurfacing of the court. The main problem (like the road) has been that the renovation was not started early enough to get it all completed for Fiesta week. Almost everything has been completed (new roof, new flooring surface, stage repairs) except that the basketball stanchions and goals were not replaced. Hence, no annual basketball tournament, which was a big disappointment for all. Everything else during the run-up to the eating day was just your normal everyday Filipino Pomp ‘n Stance celebrations (about everything they can conjure up), cock-fights, dances, loud music and all; we generally leave all that to the locals. But the eating day, now this is always a day to look forward to. I did stay busy the week before with the shopping, and my nephew and I also threw together an Ultimate Beach Frisbee Tournament (see more photos at the link) to suffice for not having any basketball tournament this year. With donations from several local businesses and individuals, the local barangay, and the Mayor of Calbayog City, our tournament was a smash success, especially for the 4-man team that took home the championship and P3,000 cash prize! People are still scratching their heads wondering how there could be so much money involved playing with a little flying disc (it’s all in the donations!) There is already talk of another tournament next year. Next year will be bigger and I will need more energy. But first I will get some rest!
Shop, Cook, Eat!
All the shopping for our food menu began about a week before the big day. We found everything we needed to complete the wife’s menu this year. We did not have any Lechon pig, just a few traditional Filipino dishes like lumpia, rice, and pancit. This year featured Swedish meatball stew, stir-fried Hungarian Sausage and Potatoes, BBQ’d pork strips, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, deviled eggs, fruit salad, and a few more appetizers and deserts. First thing to disappear was the mashed potatoes! We actually had rice left over this year.
Except for the successful two-day Frisbee Tournament and an empty bottle of Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey, the village Fiesta was basically uneventful, except for our neighbor’s husband who passed away at 4am during the second night of loud music. Rest his soul. I hate to place any blame the family’s loss on excessive loud noises, but the poor fellow was just released from an extended stay from a local hospital the day before fiesta and was sent home to get some rest. Coincidental? But suspect. I suppose. So now, not only did we have a non-stop fiesta party going on, we have a nine-day Novena (in-home wake) in progress just outside our front door. Bahala na.
It seems now that we have a roof on the plaza, ALL that deep “boom-boom” rumbling low-frequency noise is now being funneled and directed at our house and it seems much louder this year as compared to last year. All in all, I expected to get little sleep this year during the normal 3-day party and dance event, but for some reason, the barangay party committee felt that with a new roof to break in, why not throw in a few bonus party nights? So it went from the normal 3 nights of dancing and partying to 6 nights of loud, headache enhancing, tsunami creating, low-frequency wave, after wave, rumbling the neighborhood, the house, and my brain, until nearly sunrise some mornings. On the third morning when the music stopped at 2:30am, I was feeling like I should have played the lotto that day! Even then, I layed in bed for almost 45 minutes in anticipation of the return of the boom-booms before falling asleep.
Eating day was fulfilling as it always is. Eat too much, drink way to much, good music, family and friends and visitors. Sunup to sundown…and then some. All in all, life was good once again. And, as always, until next year!